The back and bottom of refrigerators are hotspots for dirt, dust, and hair. This buildup interferes with heat release, leading to higher energy bills. Professionals at All Temp Air Conditioning & Refrigeration say clean coils twice yearly; unplug the fridge before you start.
Gaskets often wear out and allow warm air to enter. Use the dollar bill test to see if yours are still sealed well. Changing the refrigerator filter can keep water clean and fresh tasting. It can also remove unwanted particles that could hurt health and produce strange odors in dispensed water.
Refrigerator filters use a combination of sediment and carbon filtration to remove contaminants from your refrigerator’s tap water. The sediment filtration stage uses mechanical filtration to trap and eliminate dirt, sand, silt, rust flakes, and other suspended solid particles in the refrigerator’s water supply. Carbon filtration removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cyanide, chlorine, pesticides, and heavy metals from the water.
Filters need to be changed about every six months. That is because they’re clogged up with all the contaminants and particles they’ve reduced. An unchanged filter is a campground for bacteria, algae, and other living organisms that can make you sick.
As the filter becomes clogged with these organisms, it loses its ability to reduce contaminants and odors in the refrigerator’s water supply. As the contaminant levels in your refrigerator water continue to rise, you may eventually need to replace your refrigerator filter twice yearly.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing refrigerator water filters every six months. It’s important to follow the manufacturer guidelines for your specific refrigerator and its filters, as the recommended interval varies by brand. If you need the manufacturer guidelines, you should look up fridge filter replacement instructions online or in your user manual.
The condenser coils in your refrigerator house the refrigerant that cools the air inside, keeping your leftovers at a steady temperature. If the coils become clogged, the fridge has to work harder to keep things cold, and you may see higher energy bills. To avoid this, cleaning the rings should be a part of your appliance maintenance routine.
The coils are a maze of thin tubes that sit underneath or on the back of the refrigerator. They’re used to cool down and condense the refrigerant, turning it from a gas into a liquid. Over time, the coils can build up dust, pet hair, and other debris. That leads to a need for proper refrigeration, affecting how long your food lasts.
To clean the coils, unplug the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall if necessary for easier access. It’s also a good idea to wear rubber gloves and don a dust mask to avoid breathing in any gunk. If the coils are on the back of the fridge, you must remove a panel that snaps off. If they’re on the front, you should be able to access them by removing the bottom kick plate.
After you’ve removed the panel:
- Use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove dust and debris from the coils. You can also use a brush to scrub the rings, which may help break up caked-on dirt and grime.
- If the waves still look dirty, spray them with a cleaning solution.
- After waiting a few minutes, wipe down the coils with a damp cloth to finish the job.
The refrigerator door gasket provides an airtight seal to keep cold air in and warm air out and is an important part of the fridge’s ability to maintain low temperatures. Keeping the door gasket clean and in good working condition is crucial to efficient fridge use.
Like a cracked window in an air-conditioned house, a broken refrigerator gasket will allow cold air to escape and warm air to creep in, making your fridge work harder to stay cool. That causes the refrigerator to consume more electricity and can cause foods and drinks to thaw and spoil faster.
Checking and cleaning the refrigerator door gasket is a quick and easy refrigerator maintenance task that helps prolong the life of your appliance. While visible cracks or thin, brittle sealing strips are obvious signs of an outdated gasket, smaller side tears and loosening of the adhesive bond can also indicate it’s time for a replacement.
Several different types of refrigerator door gaskets are available, and you should choose one compatible with your refrigerator model. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or by looking at the back of the refrigerator for a sticker that indicates the manufacturer and model number. You can also look inside the refrigerator or freezer compartment for a label with the same information.
Once you’ve chosen a new gasket, remove the old one by pulling it off the door. Then, clean the area where the new gasket will go with a damp cloth to ensure it’s completely clean and free of dirt and corrosive residue. Finally, fasten the new door gasket by sliding it in under the metal retainer and clips on the door frame, starting at one of the top corners and working around the door’s perimeter.
The drip pan, or water tray, is installed underneath the fridge to catch condensation that results from the refrigerator’s natural defrost cycle. Normally, this moisture drains through a hole in the back interior wall to a drain pipe on the floor that eventually evaporates. But if this drain hole becomes blocked, the refrigerator must work twice as hard to cool the food inside. If the water pan fills up too much, it can overflow, creating mold, mildew, and water damage to your kitchen floor or the basement below your fridge.
The drip pan should be emptied and cleaned regularly:
- Disconnect the refrigerator’s water and power supply to eliminate the risk of causing a leak or electrocuting yourself while accessing the drip pan.
- Carefully remove the grill that covers the front of the pan and grasp it with a hand or fork.
- Use antibacterial wipes or a cloth soaked in cleaning fluid to clean the drip pan and remove buildup.
- Empty the drip pan and clean the corresponding drain hole.
If you need help reaching the drip pan, consult your owner’s manual for directions on removing mineral deposits and cleaning the drain hole and water pan. A good-quality refrigerator drip pan will feature a model-specific design and clear instructions that allow you to reach the drain hole without disassembling it.
While at it, remember to tend to your fridge’s condenser coils. These are located at the back of or underneath the appliance and must be cleaned regularly to avoid clogs. Unplug the refrigerator, open the freezer door, and remove the access panel to reveal the coils. A crevice attachment or coil brush vacuum cleaner can then clean the coils. Once the rings are clean, close the freezer door and plug the refrigerator back in.
Refrigerators are usually the largest energy consumer in a home, and many people need to understand that proper maintenance is the key to keeping them efficient. Fortunately, a few quick and easy tasks can make a huge difference in how well your fridge performs for years to come.
First, clean the condenser coils with a vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment (or use a refrigerator coil brush if your fridge has one). These can be located behind or underneath the appliance and should be cleaned every three months or more often if you have shedding pets. Your owner’s manual can help you identify and clean the coils.
The water inlet valve is an electronically operated mechanical device that connects the household water supply to your fridge if it has a water dispenser or icemaker. Over time, this can become faulty and cause problems like water leaking from the bottom of the refrigerator or the water dispenser not dispensing any water. The good news is that replacing the water inlet valve is a fairly simple process.
Unplug the refrigerator before starting. This small step protects you from getting shocked by accidentally reconnecting the water lines while you work. Next, label the wires on the valve with masking tape so you know which ones are which when you need to remove them. Then, drag the two mounting screws holding the inlet valve and set them aside. Now, you can remove the inlet valve, slip in a new one, and reattach the wires to their correct terminals. Take a picture of the wiring with your phone to remember how to reattach them later.