Of all the modern-day appliances you rely on in your home, the refrigerator is probably the hardest working. Unlike, say, the dishwasher or washing machine, the refrigerator doesn’t just get turned on once in a while and put through a cycle or two. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to protect and preserve your food. So, considering the cost of groceries these days, now is the time to protect your fridge with some easy maintenance and cleaning tips for keeping this household workhorse running smoothly.
First, it’s not enough to wipe up spills and clean out old food to prevent any lingering odors or mold from developing. At least once a year, you need to give your refrigerator a thorough inspection and cleaning, inside and out, to remove any accumulated dust and dirt buildup, take note of any scratches or defects, and check the electrical connections. It’s particularly important to eliminate dust from the condenser coils either behind or underneath your refrigerator, depending on the model you own. This simple act of cleaning your refrigerator’s condenser coils with a vacuum or brush can go a long way in avoiding costly refrigerator repair and extending the life and efficiency of this hard-working appliance.
Next, check the refrigerator and freezer doors to make sure the gaskets are clean and well sealed. Even the smallest crack or gap in the gasket could allow warm air in and prevent your refrigerator from maintaining the proper temperature of 35 to 42 degrees. In addition, doors that do not seal tightly could indicate a refrigerator that is out of balance. In that case, use a leveling tool to correct your refrigerator’s alignment and make any necessary adjustments to your flooring or to the feet on the bottom of the appliance.
As you examine the interior and exterior of your refrigerator and freezer, make sure to check all knobs such as the thermostat controls and listen for any unusual noises. Uncommon noises coming from your refrigerator are often the first sign of a malfunctioning part, from the evaporator fan motor to the condenser fan to the compressor. Depending on the source of the noise, some of these issues can be as easy to fix as tapping a rattling drip pan. Problems with compressors, water inlet valves, and other more complicated parts, however, are best left to a professional refrigerator repair service.
Caring for the hardest working appliance in your house can be easy when you follow these simple guidelines for refrigerator maintenance and cleaning. So whatever type of refrigerator you own, from a traditional freezer on top to a spacious side-by-side to a newer freezer on the bottom model, take time out for a thorough inspection and review your refrigerator instruction manual for further information from the manufacturer. Not only will it help you safeguard those expensive groceries, it could very well help you avoid costly refrigerator appliance repair and even lengthen the life of your fridge.