Dealing with a freezer door that's been left open

July 22, 2014

A freezer door left open can be a costly mistake—or a sign of a problem with your appliance. Either way, you need to take stock of your frozen goods and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The proper functioning of your fridge and freezer are key elements in keeping a smooth-running kitchen and serving fresh, healthy food.

Dealing with a freezer door that's been left open

The freezer door left open = electricity bill increase

It ought to go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. A fridge or freezer whose door doesn’t close properly is going to lose its efficiency. And that will make your electric bill climb through the ceiling, as the appliance draws more energy to maintain the temperature it is set for.

Health risk

Moreover, a door left open, even if it’s only a few tiny millimetres, could compromise the freshness of your food by allowing dangerous bacteria to grow on or in it. Foods that have thawed over several hours should not be refrozen. Freezing, thawing and re-freezing breaks down the tissue of meat, fish and vegetables; this gives them a different and often unpleasant texture and taste.

Food inspection

Given that some foods take longer to thaw than others, check each product separately. To be on the safe side, you may need to throw some food away if it thawed and can’t be eaten right away or if it was re-frozen. Keep in mind that during the thawing process, some melted liquid might have dripped on the bottom of the freezer or on the shelves. If you don’t wash it immediately, it could cause some rather unpleasant odours.

Who is at fault?

Check if the freezer door was left open inadvertently by a member of the family. Make sure that all the food is placed properly so the door can close tightly. If no one was responsible for the freezer door left open and if all the food was in its proper place, here are a few other things to consider:

  • Is your refrigerator unsteady? Arm yourself with a bubble level to see if the appliance is level. If it’s not, compensate with a thin piece of wood.
  • Is the seal clean? Make sure the gasket is clean and complete, and that it adheres properly to the fridge all around. Clean away any dirt with soapy water and a cotton tip. If the corner joints are damaged because the appliance is old, have a fridge technician replace it.
  • Are the hinges properly attached? Check that the door is properly attached to the hinges. If not, you have two solutions available: you can either screw the hinges back in to reinforce them, or you can have them replaced if they are worn out.

Open your door to an appliance technician

If your problems with the freezer door persist, call an appliance technician. He or she will ensure the appliance’s optimal operation and that a freezer door left open will quickly become a thing of the past.

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