It's all too easy to take your fridge for granted. But without a regular maintenance routine, you'll soon notice the effects. From higher utility bills to spoiled food, a poorly maintained refrigerator will quickly become a costly problem—and throw your domestic routine into disarray. Fortunately, it takes just a few basic steps to keep your fridge in tip-top condition.
MAINTAINING YOUR REFRIGERATOR: ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
Unlike ovens, washers, dryers, and other household appliances, your refrigerator is always on. That means it's always a good time to carry out some simple preventative maintenance. Here's how to get it right.
WHY DOES MAINTENANCE MATTER?
4 EASY WAYS TO MAINTAIN YOUR FRIDGE
1. KEEP THE COILS CLEAN
Condenser coils cool and condense the refrigerant that keeps everything in your fridge cold. So what happens when they become clogged with dirt, dust, and dander? They can't effectively release heat. That means your refrigerator has to work harder, shortening its lifespan and increasing your utility bill.
Depending on your model, you'll find the condenser coils either on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. Once a season, unsnap any grille covers and gently vacuum the debris away. You can also use a coil-cleaning brush.
2. CLEAN THE DOOR GASKETS
You already know that you shouldn't keep the fridge door open for a long time. Well, that's exactly what's happening 24/7 if the door gasket isn't airtight. Crumbs and other debris can get stuck in door seals, allowing cold air to leak. Spillages can also be a problem: if the gasket gets sticky, it could eventually tear or come loose.
Cleaning the gasket is perhaps the easiest maintenance task. Use warm water and a sponge to gently wipe down the door seals on a regular basis. There's no need to use harsh chemicals, which may eventually make the seal brittle.
3. CLEAR THE DRAIN HOLE AND DRIP PAN
On most frost-free refrigerators, condensation from the defrost cycle is channeled down through a tube underneath or behind the crisper drawers. From there, it pools in a pan underneath the refrigerator and evaporates. When that channel becomes blocked, you may experience a leak inside the fridge itself (although it's not the only cause of a leaking fridge).
Remove any food particles and mineral deposits from the drain hole, but be sure to consult the owner's manual first. You can also scrub out the drain pan, especially if you have experienced leakages around the base of the fridge.
4. BE PROACTIVE!
The whole point of preventative maintenance is that you're not simply waiting for a problem to develop. Even if your fridge is running strong-and has been for some time-you need to stay on top of things if you want to keep it that way.
Add refrigerator cleaning and maintenance tasks to your calendar, or set reminders on your phone. Also keep your refrigerator’s owner's manual within easy reach to see if there are any specific schedules, suggestions, parts, or cleaning accessories for your particular model.
OPTIMIZE PERFORMANCE WITH FOOD LOADING
The way you arrange food inside your fridge is important. It affects your refrigerator's efficiency and can even impact its lifespan. Here's how to get it right.
For information on common refrigerator issues and simple solutions you can try at home, visit our refrigerator troubleshooting page.