Basic Refrigerator Maintenance

Refrigerator Maintenance

The Basic Home Maintenance Series

Basic refrigerator maintenance is critical in making your refrigerator last.  Our refrigerators are ALWAYS on, constantly sucking in air and electricity to keep our perishable items fresh. This simple action can reduce your electricity bill AND improve the effectiveness of your refrigerator.

How often? Every 3 Months

When? Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Estimated Cost? $0.00

Time Commitment? 1 Hour

Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.

Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil cleaning brush does a thorough job and will easily pay for itself. The refrigerator coil brush is bendable to fit in tight areas. They can be used for cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner coils too.

Refrigerator Condenser Fan

If the coils are located on the bottom of the fridge like ours, clean the condenser fan and the area around it. (Fridges with coils on the back don’t have a fan.) The fan circulates air across the coils to help cool them. At times, paper, dirt, dust and even mice can get sucked into the fan and bring it to a complete stop.

Door Gasket

Wipe the door gasket regularly with warm water and a sponge. Don’t use detergent—it can damage the gasket.

Prevent an expensive gasket repair bill ($100 to $200) and cut down air leaks by keeping your door gasket clean. Syrup, jelly or any other sticky stuff dripping down the front sides of your refrigerator can dry and glue the gasket to the frame. The next time you open the door, your gasket can tear. Keep it clean and you’ll get a nice, tight seal, keeping the cool air where it belongs, in the fridge.

To prevent wear, lubricate the door handle side of the gasket by sprinkling baby powder on a cloth and wiping it down once a month.

Here’s a trick to try: Grab a dollar bill and close your fridge door on it. With the fridge firmly closed, try to pull the dollar bill out. If it stays put or is very difficult to get out, you’re good. But if it slides out easily, your money is slipping right out of your fridge in the form of energy lost. It’s time to replace the door seal.

Drip Openings

Drip openings allow water that has melted from the defrost cycle to flow down to a pan located by the compressor, where it evaporates. Check your owner’s manual for the location on your fridge. On cycle-defrost fridges, a channel directs the water to a tube in the food compartment.

On frost-free refrigerators, look for a small cap under the crisper drawers that covers a hole, or an opening in the back of the freezer or refrigerator. If the drain opening clogs, water will build up under the crisper drawers and eventually leak out onto the floor.

For more tips and tricks, listen to the Handyman Pros Radio Show.  Click Here!

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