Fridge Maintenance with an owl

How to Maintain a Refrigerator

Refrigerator Maintenance

Have you ever been refrigerator shopping or any major appliance for that matter? It is hardly exhilarating and pretty much exhausting trying to understand what all the features are and whether or not you need them. The purchase also is dependent on what will actually fit in the space meant for it in your kitchen.

My mother in law wasn’t aware of that refrigerators come in  different sizes and she bought a fridge that did not fit in her kitchen. She refused to return it an ended up cutting her cabinets above the space where her fridge was supposed to go and moved them up the wall to make room for her new refrigerator. She does love her fridge!

Fridge maintenance can help extend the life of your refrigerator then you can avoid the mundane activity of major appliance shopping at least for a while longer. Knowing a few fridge maintenance tips can money, time and energy.

Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

Keep your fridge full, a scantly stocked refrigerator has to work harder than a full fridge. So, don’t feel bad when you go to the grocery while you are hungry and come home with everything but the kitchen sink to put into your fridge.

Dirty Doors

Make sure your fridge’s door seals are clean, so they continue to adhere to the front of the fridge properly. You can do this by simply using a warm soapy washcloth and wipe around the refrigerator’s door seals. Make sure you get in the nooks and crannies of the door seal; they can store dust and food particles in them making them a breeding ground for germs and spoiled food. If they aren’t sticking properly your fridge is letting cool air out and warm air in causing your fridge to work harder than it needs to.

Safety First

If your refrigerator has shut off and not cooling properly it may be because it has shut itself off. And whenever you are going to work on your fridge it is important to always consider safety first and to never work on something that has a live electrical current going through it. You can use electrical current tester to see if there is a live electrical current connected to the fridge. After you have unplugged the fridge you should make sure that there is nothing going through it by using the tester around the metal part of the fridge whether it’s the side or the back of the fridge.

The most common issue when a refrigerator has stopped cooling or shut itself off may be the coils. After unplugging the fridge if you have a fridge with an ice maker or ice dispenser or water dispenser you will also need to turn off and possibly disconnect the water. You do not want to pull the fridge away from the wall and end up with water everywhere.

After checking for power, shutting off water and unplugging the electrical cord it is ok to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to check to see if the coils are covered. You will need a screwdriver to remove the plate, be sure to place the screws somewhere they won’t roll away. Most all refrigerators are on rollers so they will slide easily, but it is best to do this while someone is around and or not by yourself in case you tip the refrigerator and it falls and you get injured.

Cleaning Up

Cleaning an empty fridgeAfter moving the refrigerator, it is an opportune time to clean up anything that has managed to get under your refrigerator from the initial installation or since the last time it got moved. A vacuum with attachments is the easiest tool to use to clean up behind the fridge and to clean the refrigerator coils. The best attachment is the long narrow nozzle with a brush on the end, because you do not want to damage the coils and they are pretty sharp so do not use your fingers because you could get cut.

If you do not have a vacuum attachment you can use a clean brush or paint brush to clear away any of the dirt and dust from the coils. Put the plate back on, plug it back in and turn the water back on. Do not over-tighten the screws on the back of the refrigerator, the plate is made of aluminum and if you make it too tight it will strip the screws and you could end up needing ductape to get the plate to stay on if all the screws get stripped.

Temperature Adjustment

After cleaning the coils your refrigerator will not take as much energy to operate and will cool better, so be sure to watch the temperature because it will get cold fast since it has been working in overdrive trying to keep the contents of your refrigerator cool while the coils were dirty. You may find that you can now increase the internal thermostat, so you don’t end up with icy food in your fridge.

Fridge Filter

If your fridge has a water dispenser or icemaker there may be a filter that needs to be changed. Consult your manual to find where the filter is located. In new refrigerator s you turn the filter counterclockwise to remove it and you can replace it with a new filter. Refrigerator water filters should be changed every six months (unlike your home air filter, that should be replaced every three month).

Sniff Test

Use baking soda to collect odors in your fridge and keep it smelling nice. If you notice smells starting to creep into your fridge it is time to change your baking soda out for new or about every three months. Write the date of when you put it in the fridge on the box, so you know when you put it in, and you’ll then know when it is time to change it out.

Now you know some tips on how to maintain a refrigerator you can save energy, time and money by following just these few maintenance tips.

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