Refrigerator Maintenance 101

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Your refrigerator is an essential home appliance. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the fridge keeps the hearts and bellies of your loved ones and guests warm and full. When a refrigerator goes out, it can cause chaos, not to mention hundreds of dollars in spoiled food. There are some things you can do to keep your refrigerator running smoothly and in tip-top shape.

Simple tips for refrigerator maintenance

We’ve all been there— trying to cram as much stuff into our fridge as possible, only to find out it can barely close. In the long run, filling your fridge full of food and drinks is not a good idea, but neither is leaving it empty. In order for a refrigerator to work optimally, it should be well-stocked but not stuffed.

Cold and frozen food helps keep the rest of the fridge and freezer content at an optimal temperature, meaning the fridge doesn’t have to work in overdrive just to maintain the temperature you set it for. Appliances that aren’t consistently overworked last much longer than those that are.

You probably won’t have difficulty keeping your fridge full, but keep an eye on your freezer. If you notice it looks a little empty, go stock up on frozen vegetables or make a double recipe of something to freeze for later– kill two birds with one stone.

Wipe down the door seals 

Your fridge gets a lot of wear and tear and can certainly get pretty messy quickly. However, keeping the door seals clean will help your refrigerator do its job well for many years to come. Clean door gaskets that haven’t started disintegrating are a lot more efficient at keeping a tight seal around the fridge and freezer doors. An easy way to test your refrigerator’s door seals’ integrity is to close a sheet of paper in the door. If you can pull out the paper easily, it’s time to replace the seals.

When fridge and freezer doors are tightly sealed, they won’t let the cold air escape, maintaining the interior temperature and keeping the appliance from working overtime. 

To clean the fridge’s seals, use a dishcloth or sponge with warm water and soap.

If you notice the seals are disintegrating, your best bet is to contact an appliance repair service or your home warranty company to get a replacement quote. 

Monitor the fridge’s temperature settings

There’s no need to keep your refrigerator at the coldest setting possible. This won’t do much except raise your electricity bill and maybe freeze your items in the back of the fridge while also decreasing your fridge’s life.

Aim for a refrigerator temperature between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer should not be warmer than 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Checking the vents for any blockage

Refrigerators and freezers both have air vents, typically in the back of the device and near the top shelf. These air vents circulate cooled air. Be sure to keep those vents free of any food items or packages. Stacking things in front of the air vents will stop cold air from flowing efficiently through the fridge and freezer.

If you start to notice your freezer vents regularly getting blocked, you may want to invest in some shelving or clear bings. These items will help you organize your freezer, keeping the airflow in your freezer and refrigerator more efficient. What’s more, you’ll likely waste less food.

Don’t forget to clean around your refrigerator

The dust, dirt, and debris from your household can accumulate underneath and behind the fridge. Since a refrigerator’s motor and compressor are located either at the bottom or the backside of the unit, debris accumulation can lead to some problems.

If the evaporator coil, motor, and or condenser are covered in dust and dirt, they won’t operate efficiently. When your fridge can’t do its job very well, it has to work harder than usual just to get it done. This results in high energy bills, and you may find yourself needing a new fridge entirely.

To avoid these complications, vacuum around the fridge every time you clean your house, especially if you have pets. You should also periodically slide the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coil.

A few simple refrigerator maintenance tips should keep your fridge running efficiently for several years. If you do run into any issues and need repairs, contact Home Warranty One today— your Memphis home warranty experts.

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