What Maintenance Does My Refrigerator Need?

Your refrigerator needs regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently and extend its lifespan. Some of the maintenance tasks include cleaning the coils, checking the door seals, setting the right temperature, filling it up, and preparing for power outages.

Refrigerators are one of the most-used appliances in the home, but they are often neglected when it comes to maintenance. A poorly maintained refrigerator can waste energy, cause food spoilage, and lead to costly repairs or replacements. That’s why it’s important to take care of your fridge and follow some simple maintenance tips.

Clean the Coils

The coils are the part of the refrigerator that remove heat from the inside and release it to the outside. They are usually located at the bottom or back of the appliance, and they can get covered with dust, dirt, and pet hair over time. This can reduce the efficiency of the cooling system and make the refrigerator work harder than it needs to.

To clean the coils, you need to unplug the refrigerator and move it away from the wall if the coils are in the back. You may also need to remove a grill or a plate to access the coils. Then, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a stiff brush to gently remove the dust and debris from the coils. You should also clean the condenser fan, which is the fan that blows air over the coils. You should do this once or twice a year, or more often if you have pets that shed.

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Check the Door Seals

The door seals are the rubber gaskets that seal the gap between the door and the refrigerator. They prevent the cold air from escaping and the warm air from entering the fridge. If the door seals are loose, damaged, or dirty, they can cause the refrigerator to lose its cooling power and increase its energy consumption.

To check the door seals, you can use the dollar-bill test. Close the bill in the door so that half is in and half is out. If it slips out easily, you may need to replace the door seals. You can also inspect the seals for any cracks, tears, or signs of wear. You should also clean the seals regularly with a toothbrush and a solution of baking soda and water to remove any food residue or mold that may affect the seal.

Set the Right Temperature

The temperature of the refrigerator and the freezer affects the quality and safety of the food stored inside. If the temperature is too high, the food can spoil faster and bacteria can grow. If the temperature is too low, the food can freeze and lose its texture and flavor. The ideal temperature for the refrigerator is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ideal temperature for the freezer is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

To set the right temperature, you can use a thermometer to measure the actual temperature inside the fridge and the freezer. You can also adjust the thermostat according to the manufacturer’s instructions or your personal preference. You should also avoid opening the door too frequently or for too long, as this can let the cold air out and the warm air in. You should also keep the fridge away from heat sources, such as ovens, stoves, or direct sunlight, as this can affect the temperature.

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Fill It Up

A refrigerator needs some amount of food and drinks inside to maintain its low temperature and use less energy. The food and drinks act as thermal mass, which means they absorb the warm air that enters the fridge when you open the door. They also help the fridge recover faster after the door is closed. However, you should not overfill the fridge, as this can block the air circulation and cause uneven cooling.

To fill it up properly, you should store the food and drinks in an organized way, using the shelves, drawers, and bins according to their purpose. You should also leave some space between the items to allow the air to flow freely. If you don’t have enough food and drinks to fill the fridge, you can use some jugs of water or other containers to take up the empty space.

Prepare for Power Outages

Power outages can happen unexpectedly and cause the refrigerator to stop working. This can put the food and drinks at risk of spoiling or becoming unsafe to consume. To prevent this, you should be prepared for power outages and know what to do in case they occur.

To prepare for power outages, you should keep some ice packs or frozen water bottles in the freezer. You can use them to keep the food cold in the fridge or in a cooler if the power is out for a long time. You should also keep a thermometer in the fridge and the freezer to monitor the temperature. You should also have some non-perishable food items in the pantry that you can use without refrigeration.

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If the power goes out, you should keep the fridge and the freezer doors closed as much as possible. This will help the food stay cold for longer. According to the USDA, an unopened refrigerator can keep food safe for up to four hours, and an unopened freezer can keep food safe for up to 48 hours if full or 24 hours if half-full. If the power is out for longer than that, you should check the temperature and the condition of the food before eating it. You should discard any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Conclusion

Your refrigerator is an essential appliance that needs regular maintenance to keep it in good shape. By following these simple tips, you can save energy, prevent food waste, and avoid costly repairs. You can also enjoy fresh and safe food and drinks at any time. Remember to clean the coils, check the door seals, set the right temperature, fill it up, and prepare for power outages. Your fridge will thank you for it.