One of the hard-working appliances we rarely think too much about is the refrigerator, that is until something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance and cleaning to keep working properly, and your refrigerator and freezer are no exception. Without basic refrigerator maintenance, you not only shorten the useful life of the appliance but incur costly repairs as well.
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 best ways to keep your refrigerator and freezer up and running is to clean them properly several times a year. Wiping the interior of the fridge when things get grimy is the most basic way to clean, but there are other areas you should clean regularly to keep your fridge working properly.
Proper refrigerator maintenance includes cleaning the coils behind the fridge once or twice a year. These coils keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. Just unplug the fridge and move it away from the wall to clean the coils. You can then open up the back of the fridge and vacuum out any dust or debris you see. If the dust seems stuck on, a dry paintbrush can help wipe it off the coils.
You also need to clean the door seals since these help keep your refrigerator’s internal temperature consistent. Use a damp cloth to clean the seals. Remember to wipe between the fold of the seals on both the fridge and freezer doors.
Finally, wipe down the inside and outside of your fridge and freezer entirely. The CDC recommends using hot, soapy water or, to disinfect, a solution made from 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Either of these is able to kill any bacteria in your refrigerator and leave it sparkling clean!
Common Problems and Fixes
Even if you do regular maintenance and cleaning, refrigerators can still suffer from a variety of ailments. Here are some common problems and their solutions:
- Freezer Frost
- Frozen Food
- Lukewarm Food
Frost in the freezer. If you are noticing a buildup of frost or ice crystals inside your freezer, your freezer door might not be sealed tightly enough. Freezer doors that don’t have a tight seal can let water inside where it then freezes and forms frost. When that happens, completely defrost the freezer and then clean it following these steps. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. Do this at least once a year. However, if you need to defrost more frequently, you may have to replace the seal.
Food freezing in the refrigerator. You probably have a temperature control or thermostat issue if you notice that food in your fridge tends to freeze. The easiest way to solve this is to adjust your fridge’s thermostat. But if you still find frozen food in the refrigerator after having done that, you might need to hire a handyman.
The refrigerator is not cold enough. Another problem that needs to be addressed immediately is if you notice food in your fridge spoiling quickly or doesn’t seem very cold. Issues related to dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat are some reasons why a fridge doesn’t seem to get cold. The first two fixes are generally easy. (A defective thermostat will likely be a repair job for a professional.)
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