Two Little Things You Can Do to Make Your Fridge Last Longer and Run Better
You know that sinking feeling when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on something and then it breaks within the span of a couple of years? Well, good news: In addition to other smart refrigerator hacks, there are a few easy ways to extend the life of your refrigerator—and even make it run better, too. We’ve gathered some tips from Chris Zeisler, technical service supervisor at Repair Clinic, an international appliance parts company.
Take pressure off the cooling system by dusting the condenser coils
Foodborne illness can easily be prevented by taking the time to make sure your condenser coils are fully functioning every once in a while. They’re usually located under the fridge, says Zeisler, but sometimes they can be located in the back.
Here’s the reason they’re important: Your fridge chills food by passing refrigerant through the coils, which dissipate heat. “If the condenser coils are dirty, they won’t dissipate the heat effectively,” Zeisler says. “As debris builds up on the coils, the refrigerator becomes less efficient, causing the refrigerator to work harder to cool down. If the coils are significantly dirty, the refrigerator will not be able to maintain the proper temperature.”
So, once or twice a year, make sure to give the condenser coil a once-over. You don’t need to be a pro to do the job—just make sure to unplug the fridge to avoid electric shock, then use a condenser brush and a vacuum to suck out loose debris.
Make sure the fridge isn’t leaking cold air by cleaning off the door gaskets
Gaskets are those seals surrounding the doors that make them airtight.
“It is a good idea to periodically clean and lubricate the refrigerator and freezer door gaskets,” Zeisler says. The reason? Grimy gaskets don’t seal as well as clean ones, which means your fridge could be working overtime to chill your entire kitchen (and not just your oat milk).
Good old hot soap and water can be used to wipe off the gaskets, Zeisler says. While cleaning, inspect the gaskets for splits, tears, or folds, all of which can also compromise the seal. “If any are found, it might be time for a new gasket,” says Zeisler. “A bad door gasket can allow warm air into the refrigerator, causing frost build-up as well as making the refrigerator less efficient.” Once cleaned, Zeisler recommends coating the gasket surfaces with a little petroleum jelly. “This will help the gaskets slide, extending their life,” he says.