Practical tips for maintaining your refrigerator

August 20, 2015

Your fridge is one of your household's hardest working appliances. Here a few practical tips to keep it running smoothly.

  • If your refrigerator 'buzzes' while the motor is operating, it's probably the condenser coils vibrating against the wall or against the mounting bracket. Carefully move the fridge a small distance away from the wall and check for loose mountings.
  • The suction tube linking the evaporator coils inside your fridge with the compressor located under or at the back can sometimes become frosty. As the frost melts it makes puddles of water. Cover your refrigerator's suction tube with a foam sleeve or wrap-around insulation to prevent frost build-up. Consult the owner's manual to find the suction tube as its position varies between models.
  • If the drainage system of your fridge freezes over, water will condense and run down the back wall, often collecting in the bottom of the fridge and spilling out every time you open the door. To fix this problem, remove everything from the freezer and store it temporarily in a cooler. Switch off the fridge and use a hair dryer to melt any ice in the lower back portion of the freezer compartment.
  • Efficient compressors are vital – they release the heat that would otherwise spoil your food. If the compressor coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can't efficiently release heat. Clean your fridge's coils twice a year (or more often if you have pets that shed lots of hair).
  • If your fridge's compressor is at its back, unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall. If the compressor is under your fridge, just snap off the grille at the front then suck up any dust that's collected with a non-conductive plastic vacuum attachment.

If the seal on your refrigerator's door is damaged, repairing it is a low-cost way to save energy. Here's how to do it.

Practical tips for maintaining your refrigerator

What you will need

  • Screwdriver, wrench or socket set
  • Replacement door seal

1. Remove the old seal

  • Most refrigerator door seals fit into a retaining strip or liner held in place with screws.
  • Lift the edges of the old seal to locate the screws, loosen them, release the lip of the seal, and carefully remove the seal – there's no need to remove the screws completely.

2. Install your new seal

  • Make sure your new seal is the right type and fit.
  • If your new seal is crimped, soak it in hot water for a few minutes.
  • Then, starting at a top corner, carefully press the seal's lip under the rim of the liner.
  • Continue pressing all the way around the perimeter to get the seal into place.

3. Tighten and finish

  • Smooth your new seal around the door, making sure it's not too tight or too loose.
  • Tighten the middle screws on each side, then tighten the remaining screws just enough to hold the seal in place.
  • Firmly tighten all the screws to finish.
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