Your refrigerator is one of the most-used appliances in your home. It keeps your food and drinks from spoiling, and hardly a day goes by where you don’t grab something out of it. When your fridge breaks down, you have to scramble to find a solution as quickly as possible so that you do not lose all the groceries stored within. To avoid having to deal with a catastrophic breakdown, follow these refrigerator maintenance tips that will keep your fridge in proper working order for years to come.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #1: Clean the Coils
Over time, the condenser coils in your refrigerator will collect dust and pet hair. When they become too covered, the refrigerator will not be able to run efficiently. It is good practice to clean the coils twice a year to keep your refrigerator in proper working order. Just pull the appliance from the wall to reveal the coils or snap off the grill if the coils are on the bottom. To clean the coils, all you have to do is unplug the fridge and vacuum them with a brush attachment. This simple practice will prolong the life of your refrigerator and keep it operating efficiently.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #2: Monitor the Temperature
Your refrigerator should be kept between 37and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and your freezer should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit. An important part of refrigerator maintenance is checking these temperatures often to make sure they stay where they should be. Not only will the proper temperatures keep your food safe, but they will also help your refrigerator run efficiently. If you have an older model or you think the temperature gauge isn’t showing the proper temperature, you can get an inexpensive refrigerator thermometer to help you monitor the temperature.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #3: Change the Filters
The water dispensers and ice makers in most refrigerators and freezers have filters that need to be changed. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your model to see how often it is recommended that you replace your filters. If you regularly change your filters at the recommended times, the water and ice that come from your appliance will stay cleaner, and these components will operate more efficiently. If you have a difficult time remembering when to change the filters in your fridge, just change them when you change the other filters around your home.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #4: Check the Gasket
You should inspect the gasket often to check for signs of wear and tear. If you notice cracks or deterioration, replace the gasket. If your gasket is not sealing properly, cold air may be escaping, which causes your refrigerator to have to work harder and use more energy to maintain its temperature. Make sure you also regularly clean the gasket to keep food crumbs or spills from harming the seal. All you need to clean the gasket is warm soapy water.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #5: Keep the Door Closed
Many of us are guilty of staring into the fridge while trying to figure out something to eat. However, your mom was right—you need to keep that door closed so that the refrigerator can do its job and stay cold. When the door is opened frequently or for long periods of time, heat is let in, making the appliance work harder to maintain the right temperature. This makes the fridge run less efficiently and use more energy. Before you open the door, think about what you need, then grab all the items at once to avoid opening and closing the door multiple times. It is also important to make sure the door is closed tightly when you are done.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #6: Cover Your Food
Covering your food before you store it in the refrigerator is beneficial on many levels. Storing food in containers with secure lids or tightly covered with plastic wrap or foil will keep your food tasting fresh and will keep your fridge from developing an odor. For refrigerator maintenance purposes, this practice will minimize the amount of moisture in the refrigerator. The moisture that comes off of food will affect the humidity inside the fridge, which will in turn affect how efficiently it can maintain the proper temperature.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #7: Check Door Seals
A key step in your refrigerator maintenance process should be checking door seals. If a door seal is loose, it will allow cool air to leak out of the refrigerator, which makes the appliance work extra hard and use more energy. You should clean your seals twice a year with a baking soda and water solution and a toothbrush to remove food residue. Then, perform the dollar bill test. Try closing a dollar bill in the refrigerator door so that half is sticking out. If you can easily pull the bill out, the door seals may be too loose and should be checked by a professional.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #8: Fill It Up
Refrigerators need thermal mass to maintain their low temperatures. This means you need to keep things in the refrigerator at all times. Cool drinks and food absorb warm air that comes in when the door is opened, helping the fridge run more efficiently. If you don’t cook very often and don’t keep your refrigerator stocked with groceries, then you should store a few gallons of water in the fridge to achieve that thermal mass. When you fill your refrigerator, just make sure you do not block the vents or controls so that air can flow properly.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #9: Empty Your Ice Container
This refrigerator maintenance tip is more for you than for your fridge or freezer. Because you likely tend to use the ice from the top of the dispenser, the ice on the bottom will sit there for much longer, and it will start to taste stale. You should periodically empty the entire ice container and let it refill from scratch to make sure your ice stays fresh. Fresh ice will make your drinks taste much better.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #10: Replace the Light Bulbs
The lights inside of your refrigerator help you see what you are looking for. When the light bulbs burn out and you cannot easily see the contents of your fridge, you will keep the door open longer to search for what you need. As mentioned above, keeping the refrigerator door open will make the appliance work harder and use more energy. To avoid this, replace the interior light bulbs as soon as they burn out.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #11: Let Food Cool First
When you place steaming hot food in your refrigerator, the temperature of the appliance and its contents will rise. Your fridge will then have to work harder to bring the temperature back down to where it should be. It is a good idea to let your hot food cool for a few minutes before placing it in the refrigerator so that the temperature is not disrupted as much.
Refrigerator Maintenance Tip #12: Place the Fridge Away from Heat
Depending on your kitchen, you may or may not be able to choose the location of your refrigerator. If you have options of where to place your fridge, try to keep it away from the oven, stove, and other heating sources. When your refrigerator is next to these heat sources, it will have to work harder to stay cold and use more energy to do so. You should also make sure the appliance has enough space around it so that the vents can function properly.
Refrigerator Repair in East Tennessee
If you perform regular refrigerator maintenance, your appliance will run more efficiently and will have a longer lifespan. However, even with preventative maintenance, a breakdown may be inevitable at some point. Make sure you watch for the warning signs of an impending breakdown, including food and drinks not being kept as cold, soft ice cream, ice cubes that are melted or stuck together, early food spoilage, water around the fridge, and unusual noises. If you notice any of these signs, you should get the help of a refrigerator repair professional.
Real Time Appliance Repairs is an appliance repair company in Maryville, TN, that offers dependable service guaranteed to get your appliance back to proper working order in a timely manner. To schedule refrigerator repair service, reach out to Real Time Appliance Repairs today at 865-233-5606 or on our website.