Warm summer temperatures might mean fun in the sun and relaxation, but while you’re busy planning your next camping trip, your refrigerator is working overtime to keep your food cold. With all of this extra work, it’s no surprise that refrigerators can go out without proper maintenance.
According to this article on Realtor.com, “refrigerators can last anywhere from 14 to 27 years.” Freezers, however, only last around 12-20 years. With proper maintenance, you could extend the life of your appliances for years to come.
Here are some refrigerator maintenance tips to keep your appliance going through the summer.
Clean the condenser coil
Refrigerator coils are found at the back or bottom of your appliance, and they work to remove heat from your fridge. When the coils are blocked with dirt, dust, and other debris, your appliance has to work harder to cool your food.
Step 1 – To clean your condenser coil, first unplug your fridge to avoid electric shock. Move your fridge away from the wall so that you can reach the coils if they are located at the back. Otherwise, open the panel at the bottom of your fridge.
Step 2 – Remove the dirt with a soft-bristled brush and use a vacuum to clean the mess.
Step 3 – Repeat as necessary until the coils are clean.
Step 4 – Replace the bottom panel and plug the fridge back in.
Clear the drip tray/pan and drain
Your refrigerator drip pan catches condensation and defrosted ice so that water doesn’t leak into your kitchen. Drip pans can also capture spilled food and crumbs.
Step 1 – To clean the drip pan, refer to your appliance’s manual. The drip pan is usually located at the front or rear of the fridge, but on some models you may have to clean the pan while it is in the fridge.
If it is located at the back of the unit, you’ll need to disconnect the water and unplug your fridge first.
If it is located on the front bottom panel, simply pop off the panel. Then pull the drip tray out with both hands.
If the drip tray does not want to come out, you may have to clean it while it is still inside the fridge. Do not remove drip pans that have heating coils on top of them.
Step 2 – Now that the drip pan is removed, empty it in the sink and wipe it down. You can also use a natural cleaner like white vinegar.
Step 3 – Rinse the pan and dry it before replacing it.
For a non-removable drip pan, you’ll need to purchase a tool that allows you to wipe down hard-to-reach areas.
Clean the refrigerator door gasket
Wipe down your refrigerator door with warm water and a washcloth or sponge. Do not use any harsh cleaners. This can keep your fridge door sealed tight when closed and potentially avoid needing a gasket replacement.
Change the water filter
If you have an ice maker or water dispenser, you should replace the filter regularly. Before replacing your filter, be sure that you have the correct replacement filter for your refrigerator model. Depending on the unit, you may need to unplug it or turn off the water supply.
Your water filter’s location varies depending on the unit. It may be located at the base of the fridge or inside.
Step 1 – Remove the filter. Place a towel under the filter to catch any drips. You may need to release the filter by turning a knob counterclockwise or push a bottom to release it. Be sure to save the cap if your model has one.
Step 2 – Install the cap from the old filter onto the new one if your unit has one.
Step 3 – Install the filter.
Step 4 – Plug the fridge back in/turn on the water if it was turned off.
Step 5 – Run water through the new filter and check for leaks.
Clean and Sanitize
While you are performing maintenance on your refrigerator, it is a good idea to give the entire unit a deep clean. Use white vinegar and baking soda to wash the inside of the fridge. Be sure to scrub the shelves and the doors as well.
Maintaining and cleaning your refrigerator regularly can keep your appliance running efficiently, and increase its lifespan.