Proven pointers to maximize your fridge's efficiency

A clean, efficient refrigerator is a must in any kitchen. These pointers will help ensure your fridge remains in good working order for years to come.

Proven pointers to maximize your fridge's efficiency

Choose your fridge's location carefully

Your refrigerator functions most efficiently when you give it a little space. Also make sure to keep it out of extreme temperatures since too much heat or cold can damage it.

  • Allow at least half a centimetre (half an inch) on the left and right and 2.5 centimetres (one inch) behind your fridge.
  • Don't stack anything on top of the unit.
  • Move your fridge out of direct sunlight or install a window shade to protect it.
  • Avoid keeping your fridge in an uninsulated garage or basement.

Clean your fridge regularly

Regularly cleaning your refrigerator is a must. Fortunately, a little know-how can make doing so less of a chore.

  • Start high and go one shelf at a time, from top to bottom — that way if you dribble crumbs, sauce or even your detergent, you're not dirtying shelves you've already cleaned.
  • Clean removable shelves in the sink with warm water and mild detergent. Dry them thoroughly before you put your food back on top of them.
  • Soak refrigerator drawers in warm, soapy water in the sink. You can use the same water and detergent when you're wiping up spills and other messes.

Your refrigerator's coils are notorious dust catchers. Dirt and dust can inhibit the dissipation of heat, causing the unit to run poorly, cycle on and off too often, or not run at all. The good news is they're simple to clean.

  • You'll find the coils by removing the toe plate below the fridge's door. On a cycle-defrost model, they are located at the back of the unit. They look kind of like a grid of wire-like pipes.
  • Make sure your fridge is unplugged, then vacuum the coils using the vacuum's crevice-cleaning attachment.
  • Use a coil brush, or even a yardstick with a rag attached if you don't have a vacuum.
  • Clean the coils quarterly or more often if you have pets.

Keep your fridge efficient

A stocked freezer isn't just good news for your belly — it also keeps your freezer running at maximum efficiency. This is because more volume means less circulating air that has to be cooled.

  • Fill the empty spaces in your unit with jugs of water, that is, if it's not stuffed with food. They'll not only help your freezer's performance, they'll keep your food cold in the event of a power outage.
  • Make sure your fridge is level. There's a chance it won't be if your floors are not perfectly flat. That's okay — this is an easy fix, and one worth doing because your unit is most efficient when it's level.

    • Look for its feet or casters.
    • Raise or lower them with an adjustable wrench
    • Adjust casters by turning their levelling screws with a screwdriver.
    • On some refrigerators, you may have to remove the toe plate.
    • Use your carpenter's level to make sure it's balanced.

Follow these pointers to keep your refrigerator clean and efficient. Knowing where to place it in your home and how to care for it will help ensure you open the door to fresh food for years to come.

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