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Is Your Refrigerator Running? (4 Tips to Extend it’s Life)

You’ve seen the comics where the character is so hot they stand in front of an open freezer to cool off. (Maybe you’ve even done this yourself!) Refrigerators and freezers are easily the hardest working units in your kitchen and probably your entire house, with the exception of your air conditioner. Keep them in tip-top shape by following these easy maintenance guidelines.

  • Clean it out – Clean off the shelves and door baskets periodically to remove any spills or crumbs. The appearance will be better and it will also help cut down on any odors.
  • Use a deodorizer – Using baking soda or another type of odor-absorbing product in your refrigerator and freezer will help keep your unit smelling clean and also prevent food odors from mingling and spoiling the taste.
  • Check the cables – Pull your refrigerator away from the wall at least once per year and inspect the power and water hook up cables. Look for any fraying or wear and replace as necessary.
  • Clean the condenser – The condenser coil is the heart of the refrigerator; it’s responsible for removing heat from inside. It is usually located on the back or bottom of the refrigerator and looks like a radiator coil. Use a thin metal brush to clean in the crevices and a vacuum to get all the dust out. When the condenser is covered in dust it cannot function as efficiently, thus raising the energy consumption – and refrigerators use a lot of power.
  • Check the seals – Visually inspect the rubber seal around the doors. These tend to wear over the years and allow warm air to seep inside and let cold air escape. If you see cracks, replace it.
  • Don’t overfill – Putting too much food in your refrigerator (i.e. shelves are packed and the food is stacked up) will cause it to have to work even harder and become inefficient. However, a full freezer is a good thing, as the frozen items help keep each other cold. If your freezer doesn’t contain much, fill a few plastic bottles with water (leaving a little space for expansion) and put them in the freezer to help.
  • Replace your water filter – Pop in a new filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to keep your water and ice fresh.

Most refrigerators last about 15 years with regular maintenance such as the above. If you have troubles before then, check your warranty or call a repairman before investing in a costly replacement unit.