One of the most hard-working appliances we have in our homes is the refrigerator. We don’t usually think about it too much unless something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance, as well as cleaning, to continue working properly, and your refrigerator and freezer are no exception. Inconsistent refrigerator maintenance not only shortens the useful life of the appliance but results in inexpensive repairs, too.
Whether you have problems with your fridge or you just want to keep it in running condition, this guide can help! We’ll go over fridge maintenance and cleaning basics and a few easy fixes to common problems.
Basic Refrigerator Maintenance
One of the great ways to keep your refrigerator and freezer in tip-top condition is to give them a good cleaning several times a year. Aside from wiping out the fridge’s inside when things get grimy, there are other areas you should clean regularly to ensure that your fridge keeps working properly.
Proper refrigerator maintenance includes cleaning the coils behind the fridge once or twice a year. These coils are important because they help keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. To clean the coils, unplug the fridge and just move the unit away from the wall. After opening the back of the fridge, you have to vacuum out any dust or debris you find. For dust that seems to be stuck on, a dry paintbrush can be used to remove it from the coils.
The door seals are also one of the parts you should clean regularly since these seals help your refrigerator keep a consistent internal temperature. An effective way to clean the seals is to open the fridge or freezer door and use a damp cloth to clean between the folds of the seal.
Finally, you have to wipe down the entire inside and outside of your fridge and freezer. The CDC recommends using hot, soapy water or, to disinfect, a solution made from 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. These cleaning solutions will kill bacteria in the refrigerator and keep it fresh and clean.
Common Problems and Fixes
Even if you regularly maintain and clean your refrigerator, it can still suffer from a range of ailments. Here are some common ones and ways to fix them:
- Freezer Frost
- Frozen Food
- Lukewarm Food
Frost in the freezer. Frost or ice crystals buildup forms inside your freezer if your freezer door is not sealed tightly enough. If a freezer door isn’t tightly sealed, water can get inside, freeze, and form frost. When that happens, defrost the freezer completely and clean it using the following steps. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. This is something you should be doing at least once a year. If you notice that you need to defrost frequently, it may be time to replace the seal.
Food freezing in the refrigerator. If food in your fridge tends to freeze, you may have temperature control or thermostat issue. The easiest way to solve this is to adjust your fridge’s thermostat. But if that doesn’t seem to work and you still find frozen food in the refrigerator, you should hire a handyman.
The refrigerator is not cold enough. If food in your fridge spoils quickly or does not seem very cold, you have an urgent problem. A fridge that doesn’t get cold could have a range of issues from dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat. The first two fixes can easily be done by anyone. (A professional’s help is probably needed to repair a defective thermostat.)
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