What Shortens the Life of a Refrigerator? Must Know

The main factors that shorten the life of a refrigerator are improper maintenance, overloading, frequent opening and closing, and power surges. These factors can affect the performance and efficiency of the refrigerator, as well as cause wear and tear on its components. In this article, we will explain how these factors can shorten the life of a refrigerator and what you can do to prevent them.

Improper Maintenance

One of the most common reasons why refrigerators fail prematurely is improper maintenance. Refrigerators need regular cleaning and servicing to keep them in good condition. Some of the maintenance tasks that you should do include:

  • Cleaning the condenser coils at least once a year. The condenser coils are located at the back or bottom of the refrigerator and they help to dissipate the heat generated by the compressor. If the coils are dirty or dusty, they will not be able to cool the refrigerator efficiently and the compressor will have to work harder, which can shorten its lifespan.
  • Replacing the water filter every six months or as recommended by the manufacturer. The water filter removes impurities and contaminants from the water that is used for the ice maker and dispenser. If the filter is clogged or expired, it can affect the quality and taste of the water and ice, as well as cause leaks and damage to the refrigerator.
  • Checking the door seals and gaskets regularly. The door seals and gaskets are the rubber or plastic strips that seal the gap between the door and the refrigerator. They prevent cold air from escaping and warm air from entering the refrigerator. If the seals and gaskets are cracked, torn, or loose, they will not be able to seal the refrigerator properly and the refrigerator will have to run longer and use more energy to maintain the temperature.
  • Defrosting the freezer periodically. Some refrigerators have a self-defrosting feature that automatically melts the frost that builds up on the evaporator coils. However, some refrigerators require manual defrosting, which means that you have to turn off the refrigerator and let the frost melt. If you do not defrost the freezer regularly, the frost can accumulate and block the air flow, which can affect the cooling performance and cause the refrigerator to overheat.
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Another factor that can shorten the life of a refrigerator is overloading. Overloading means putting too much food or items in the refrigerator, which can reduce the air circulation and make the refrigerator work harder to cool the contents. Overloading can also cause the following problems:

  • The refrigerator may not be able to close properly, which can let warm air enter and cold air escape, resulting in temperature fluctuations and spoilage of food.
  • The refrigerator may become unbalanced, which can cause vibrations and noises, as well as damage the floor or the refrigerator itself.
  • The refrigerator may not be able to distribute the weight evenly, which can put stress on the shelves, drawers, and hinges, and cause them to break or malfunction.

To avoid overloading, you should follow these tips:

  • Do not fill the refrigerator more than 75% of its capacity. Leave some space between the items and the walls of the refrigerator to allow air to circulate.
  • Organize the items according to the temperature zones of the refrigerator. The coldest zone is usually at the back and bottom of the refrigerator, where you should store raw meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The warmest zone is usually at the door, where you should store condiments, sauces, and beverages. The middle zone is suitable for fruits, vegetables, eggs, and leftovers.
  • Do not store hot or warm food in the refrigerator. Let the food cool down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator, as hot or warm food can raise the temperature of the refrigerator and make it work harder to cool down.
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Frequent Opening and Closing

Another factor that can shorten the life of a refrigerator is frequent opening and closing. Every time you open and close the refrigerator door, you let cold air out and warm air in, which can affect the temperature and humidity of the refrigerator. This can make the refrigerator run longer and use more energy to maintain the temperature, as well as cause condensation and frost formation, which can damage the refrigerator and the food. Frequent opening and closing can also wear out the door seals and gaskets, which can compromise the insulation of the refrigerator.

To avoid frequent opening and closing, you should follow these tips:

  • Plan ahead and take out everything you need at once, instead of opening and closing the door multiple times.
  • Do not leave the door open for longer than necessary, and close it firmly and securely after use.
  • Label the items and arrange them in a way that makes them easy to find and access, so that you do not have to search or rummage through the refrigerator.
  • Do not open the door unnecessarily, such as to check the temperature or to look for something to eat. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and make a list of the items you have in the refrigerator.

Power Surges

Another factor that can shorten the life of a refrigerator is power surges. Power surges are sudden spikes or drops in the voltage or current of the electricity that powers the refrigerator. They can be caused by various factors, such as lightning strikes, faulty wiring, power outages, or other appliances that draw a lot of power. Power surges can damage the electronic components and circuits of the refrigerator, such as the compressor, the thermostat, the control board, and the sensors. They can also cause the refrigerator to malfunction or stop working altogether.

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To protect the refrigerator from power surges, you should follow these tips:

  • Use a surge protector or a voltage stabilizer to regulate the voltage and current of the electricity that reaches the refrigerator. A surge protector or a voltage stabilizer can absorb or divert the excess or insufficient electricity and prevent it from harming the refrigerator.
  • Unplug the refrigerator during a storm or a power outage, or when you are not using it for a long time, such as when you are on vacation. This can prevent the refrigerator from being exposed to power surges that may occur when the power is restored or fluctuates.
  • Check the wiring and outlets of the refrigerator regularly and make sure they are in good condition and comply with the safety standards. If you notice any signs of damage, such as fraying, burning, sparking, or loose connections, you should contact a professional electrician to fix them as soon as possible.


The life of a refrigerator depends on various factors, such as the quality, the usage, and the maintenance of the refrigerator. However, some of the factors that can shorten the life of a refrigerator are improper maintenance, overloading, frequent opening and closing, and power surges. By avoiding these factors and following the tips we have provided, you can extend the life of your refrigerator and save money and energy in the long run. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading!