Freezer and Refrigerator Home Maintenance Tips
Use these tips to avoid costly freezer and refrigerator repairs!
Your refrigerator and freezer combine to create one of the most important items in your home. Keeping it in proper working order is easy to do, and it can prevent costly refrigerator repairs in the future. Follow these six tips for some DIY home maintenance on this crucial kitchen appliance.
Maintenance of Refrigerators
Your home's refrigerator safeguards all the delicious and perishable food your family eats. Regular home fridge maintenance keeps your fridge odor free, limits the food you waste and can even help to reduce your energy usage. These easy to do maintenance tips will ensure your refrigerator is up to the job!
- Vacuum Coils Annually
If you aren't sure what a refrigerator coil is or where yours might be located, have no fear. This maintenance tip is easy to do and incredibly effective. Your refrigerator's condenser coils work to release heat and keep your food cold. Dust, pet fur or other debris can clog these coils, preventing them from releasing heat properly and forcing your fridge's condenser to work harder. This will not only increase your energy bills, but can even shorten the lifespan of your refrigerator!
The coils are usually located underneath a pop-off panel at the bottom of the unit, though some are on the back of the refrigerator. Vacuum them annually. This one refrigerator maintenance tip can help you save money on your energy bills, prevent expensive repairs, and extend the life of your refrigerator.
- Clean the Inside
Even if it doesn't require defrosting, cleaning your refrigerator reduces odors and helps you keep food rotated and used before spoiling - which saves you money!
To clean your fridge, simply turn off the unit and remove all food and any interior shelves or removable parts to clean separately and thoroughly. Use a simple solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda in quart of warm (not hot) water. After a thorough washing, rinse with clean water in a bucket using sponge or rag. Refrain from using harsh chemicals or abrasive scouring techniques. These can scratch the surface of the unit.
When you are finished don't forget to turn the unit back on and returned your food to the refrigerator. Make sure your food hasn't spoiled while you were cleaning.
- Close The Door
Simply put, your average refrigerator door should close by itself. If it's not closing on its own, check to see if anything inside the fridge is blocking the door. If there's nothing obstructing the door, try adjusting the support feet appropriately for proper closure.
Defrosting your freezer improves the efficiency of the unit. If you have frost in your freezer or ice-maker, defrost it according to your manufacturer's instructions. You should never allow a buildup of ice or heavy frost. Never scrape off frost or use sharp tools, or you may damage your refrigerator. You can also clean the inside of the freezer with the same baking soda and water solution described above.
Common Refrigerator and Freezer Issues
Frost & Temperature Problems
If you have problems with the unit forming frost quickly or experiencing temperature fluctuations, there are a number of possible causes. If you have many family members opening the door often, try to lessen the frequency and the length of time it is open. You may also have a leak in the door seal, and it may need cleaning or replacement. Over time, this seal can develop cracks or become brittle. Check your seal periodically.
Refrigerator Not Operating?
Check for a damaged fuse or tripped circuit breaker first. Make sure the unit is plugged in properly and the plug or cord has not been damaged. If this doesn't solve the problem, call for repairs.
For more information on general home maintenance, visit our Home Maintenance Guide.
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