When it comes to home appliances we rely on in order to live normal lives, our refrigerators are right near the top. It can be easy to take a working fridge for granted…that is, until it’s no longer working and you’re scrambling to find a solution before the food inside goes bad.
Depending on the problem, refrigerator repair can be costly, not to mention a major disruption to your life. However, with regular maintenance, you can extend the life of your refrigerator, saving you time, money, and stress down the line.
Amazingly, with just a little bit of time spent on basic upkeep, you can protect yourself from the vast majority of major fridge issues and breakdowns. So, here are Starfix’s top 6 tips on how to maintain your refrigerator at home:
1. Clean your refrigerator’s coils
This simple maintenance task can actually be enough to protect you from the majority of refrigerator problems. These coils are responsible for condensing and cooling the refrigerant, which keeps your fridge at a suitably chill temperature. When the coils are clogged with debris, they don’t work as efficiently. Not only can this lead to a fridge breakdown, it will actually cost you more money even if it’s more or less working, since it makes the unit less energy-efficient.
Cleaning the coils is a simple job, and doing it more than pays off. We recommend doing it around twice a year, but if you have pets that are big on shedding, do it a little more often, as animal hair can clog the coils much more quickly. The process is pretty straightforward.
Before attempting any fridge repair, always disconnect it from the power first. As long as you keep the fridge door closed, the contents inside will be fine while you do your maintenance. Next, simply unsnap the grille, located at the very bottom of the front of your fridge, to find the coils. Some fridges have the coils at the back, so if this is the case, simply roll the fridge out first. From here, use a coil cleaning brush (a handy tool that will definitely pay for itself) to gently remove the debris from around the coils. Take care not to bend the fan blades, as that can create a bigger problem. Once the coils have been brushed free of debris, finish the job with a vacuum to clear it all away. Replace the grille and voila—you’ve extended the life of your fridge considerably.
2. Clean the condenser fan
All fridges have condenser fans installed. This fan works to keep your coils cool by circulating air around them, but can grind to a halt if they suck up too much debris.
The condenser fan will be found next to the fridge compressor. Once you’ve found it (and after ensuring the fridge is disconnected from the power), brush and vacuum it just like with the coils. While you’re there, vacuum the spot where the fan blade meets the motor. Replace the cover, and you’re done!
3. Keep your door gasket clean
A common place for spills and debris to gradually build up is the door gasket, which is the seal that keeps the inside of your fridge contained. Neglecting this step can lead to damage to the door gasket, allowing air into the unit, raising the internal temperature, and costing you more on your monthly utilities.
Prevent this problem by keeping the door gasket clean. Using warm water and a sponge or cloth, simply wipe down every surface of the door gasket. Be sure not to use any detergents here, as it can actually damage the material. A clean gasket not only looks a lot better, but it can prevent sticky spills from gluing your door shut and causing tears the next time you open the fridge.
4. Keep the fridge temperature near the middle setting
Although this isn’t maintenance in the typical sense, it’s a great way to extend the life of your fridge. The best practice for fridge temperature is to keep it between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius (38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit), and the freezer between -17 and -12 degrees Celsius (0 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Doing this improves the efficiency of your appliance, saves you money, and makes your fridge last longer.
5. Keep freezer vents clear
Cold air needs to circulate in your freezer in order for it to work properly. You’ll need to ensure the air return and vents are kept clear of any stored food, as well as any debris, in order to avoid freezer problems later on. The evaporator fan and drain tube can sometimes become clogged by rogue twist ties or tiny crumbs from frozen food, so give these a quick cleaning to ensure your freezer is running as efficiently as possible.
6. Drip openings are a way for melted water to get out of your freezer, preventing ice build up and mildew. In most fridges, melted water will flow down to a pan near the compressor, allowing it to evaporate. Check your fridge manual for its location though, as some refrigerators will direct water to a special water tube in the fridge compartment. If the drain is clogged, you could have excess ice build up in the freezer, or have water dripping out of the refrigerator and onto your floor. Regularly cleaning the drains in your freezer will ensure melt water is freely flowing out of the unit, keeping things working well and preventing a shutdown of the appliance.
Keep your refrigerator running with Starfix
As you can see, refrigerator maintenance doesn’t have to be an incredibly complex chore. With just a few simple maintenance jobs, you can easily prolong the life of your appliance, and reduce the odds of a major issue occurring down the line.
If you still have questions about refrigerator maintenance, or you’re experiencing a more serious problem with your refrigerator, don’t wait. Contact Starfix, and let the experts help you today!
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