Considering the engineering problem of natural convection in domestic refrigerator applications, this study aims to simulate the fluid flow and temperature distribution in a single commercial refrigerator compartment by using the experimentally determined temperature values as the specified constant wall temperature boundary conditions. The free convection in refrigerator applications is evaluated as a three-dimensional (3D), turbulent, transient and coupled non-linear flow problem. Radiation heat transfer mode is also included in the analysis. According to the results, taking radiation effects into consideration does not change the temperature distribution inside the refrigerator significantly; however the heat rates are affected drastically. The flow inside the compartment is further analyzed with a reduced order modeling method called Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) and the energy contents of several spatial and temporal modes that exist in the flow are examined. The results show that approximately 95% of all the flow energy can be represented by only using one spatial mode. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.