A refrigerator can be a significant investment. First of all, the purchase of the refrigerator itself is a large expenditure. Secondly, you rely on your fridge to keep your perishables fresh and free from contamination. If your refrigerator or freezer gives out, you can take a financial hit from the loss of expensive frozen meats and other foods. Furthermore, you may find yourself shopping for a pricey new appliance. To get the most value from your refrigerator, check out these tips for helping your appliance give you years of valuable service.
9. Keep Your Fridge Clean and Organized
The first step in maintaining a well-functioning appliance is to keep it clean and organized. Mop up interior spills to prevent liquids from increasing the moisture level inside your refrigerator. Increased humidity inside the appliance causes your fridge to work overtime. In addition, take care to wipe away dried food or sticky residue from the doors and seals. If the refrigerator seal is not airtight, air can leak out. Organizing your refrigerator so you can easily find the items you need enables you to spend less time with the door open while you peruse the shelves.
8. Clean the Defrost Drain
Check and clean the defrost drain of your refrigerator to keep it running at peak performance. According to GE Appliances, a clogged defrost drain can cause water to leak onto your floor or beneath the freezer compartment. If the drain hole is accessible, GE recommends flushing it with a solution of one teaspoon of baking soda in two cups of hot water. Furthermore, you can prevent clogging by flushing the baking soda solution into the drain opening one or two times each year.
7. Inspect the Gaskets
Refrigerator gaskets are the rubber seals that line the door of your fridge. These seals prevent cold air from escaping and warm air from entering your fridge. Functioning gaskets are critical for maintaining the efficiency of your appliance and keeping food fresh. When cleaning the interior of your refrigerator, also clean the gaskets with soap and water. A toothbrush can be a useful tool for scrubbing away gunk within the folds of the rubber seal. Green Living Ideas suggests testing the seal on your refrigerator door by shutting the door on a dollar bill and gently pulling to check for resistance.
6. Vacuum the Coils Regularly
Dust, debris, and pet dander can build up on your refrigerator coils. This buildup decreases the efficiency of your appliance. When the coils become dirty, your refrigerator has to work harder to maintain the cool temperatures needed to keep your perishables safe. Bob Vila advises cleaning these coils at least once a year. If you have pets in your home, you may want to take care of this task twice a year. First, unplug your fridge before locating the coils. Then, while wearing a dust mask, vacuum the debris that has gathered on the coils.
5. Cover Refrigerated Foods
Before placing food in the refrigerator, make sure to package the items in airtight containers. Placing open containers in the refrigerator allows moisture and condensation to escape into the air. Forcing your refrigerator to expend extra energy to decrease the humidity levels can cause extra wear and tear on your motor. Additionally, placing piping hot foods into the fridge raises the temperature of the interior and causes your appliance to work harder. While you should place food in the fridge within one to two hours of serving it, wait until the food has cooled to room temperature.Related: Why You Should Never Store Eggs in This Part of The Fridge
4. Keep Your Fridge Properly Filled
You can prolong the life of your refrigerator and protect your perishables from spoilage by keeping your refrigerator appropriately full. A fridge that is jam-packed with too many items doesn’t allow air to circulate. Furthermore, the crowded conditions make it challenging to keep the interior cool. Meanwhile, it is also difficult for your appliance to keep your foods properly chilled if the fridge is too empty. Keep your fridge about three-fourths full, with enough space for air circulation. If you are taking a break from extensive cooking, place jugs of water in the empty spaces of your fridge to help maintain coolness.
3. Change the Water Filter Regularly
If you own a refrigerator that dispenses ice or water, experts recommend that you change the filter every six months. Changing out the water filter as advised ensures you are providing your family with clean, pure, drinking water. Furthermore, it protects your refrigerator from the damage that can occur if your filter becomes clogged or broken. If you are unsure how to change the filter, check the manual that came with your refrigerator or look up the instructions online.
2. Maintain the Correct Freezer Temperature
To keep your appliance functioning seamlessly and maintain the appropriate temperatures for food safety, keep your freezer at the proper temperature. The CDC advises keeping your refrigerator temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice excessive amounts of frost in the freezer, warm air may be making its way into the compartment. Check the seal on your freezer door, make sure your freezer drain tube is not clogged, and avoid keeping the freezer door open for too long.Related: 12 Helpful Hints for Storing Your Produce to Maintain Freshness
1. Investigate Loud or Strange Noises
If your refrigerator suddenly starts humming or making loud noises, make sure to investigate the situation immediately. Putting off refrigerator repairs increases your risk of losing power and discovering your foods have spoiled. PartSelect offers three possible causes for loud noises coming from your refrigerator. These sounds may signal a problem with your condenser fan motor, your evaporator fan motor, or your evaporator fan motor grommet. If you are handy, you may be able to conduct some of these repairs yourself. If not, give a professional a call.Related: 18 Foods You Don’t Need to Refrigerate