Keeping Your Cool: Refrigerator Maintenance Tips for Busy Season

inside of a refregiratorRefrigerators get a real workout during the holidays. Think about how many times you and your family members open the refrigerator door in the course of a normal day.

Now consider how much more often you’re likely to be opening it as you are baking holiday goods, preparing festive meals and entertaining family and friends.


While we’re always ready to assist you with a speedy refrigerator repair in Virginia, we realize that this is one month when you’d definitely like to keep this essential kitchen appliance running in peak condition without our help. Here are a few suggestions on how to do it.

Clean the coils. Next time you’re vacuuming your kitchen, take a few minutes to give the exterior of your refrigerator a good going-over. Start with the condenser coils, which dissipate the heat that your refrigerator pulls out of the food storage sections. When these coils get coasted with dust and animal hair, your system doesn’t operate as efficiently and has to work harder to keep your food cool.

The condenser coils are in different places depending on the type and model of your refrigerator. Check at the bottom front behind a grill or kick-plate, or in the rear of your refrigerator. If the coils are in the rear, you’ll need to pull the refrigerator away from the wall (get help if you need it). Be careful not to pull out the water line if you have an icemaker hooked up. If the coils are in the front, remove the bottom plate; some pull off and some unscrew, so check carefully before you try to pry it off.

Next—and very important–unplug your refrigerator before starting to clean the coils with your vacuum hose and brush. If some of the dirt or hair sticks to the coils, go over them gently with a clean, soft, dry brush. (A clean paintbrush works great.)

Check the door seal. Sticky liquids and food can sometimes get caught in the seal around the refrigerator door, which prevents it from closing properly. Clean the seal with warm water and a sponge. Check the manufacturer’s directions for recommended cleaning products; many recommend avoiding the use of harsh detergents and other cleaners because they may damage the seal.

Once the seal is clean, examine the gasket around the door and check the tightness of the door seal. When your refrigerator isn’t sealing tightly, you’re wasting money and energy because the cold air doesn’t remain inside your refrigerator and freezer box. The refrigerator motor has to switch on more frequently in order to cool the warmer room air that you’re letting in.

Test the seal by inserting a dollar bill between the seal and the door frame before you close it. Now give the bill a tug.  If it’s hard to pull out, you’ve got a good seal; if it comes out easily, it’s time to replace the gasket. Repeat this test at the top, bottom and sides of the refrigerator door. (If you need help replacing the gasket or with any refrigerator repair in the Fairfax, Virginia, area, remember to give Any Brand Appliance Repair a call.)

Declutter. Take everything out of the fridge and go through the contents. Throw away any food that is past the expiration date or looks spoiled. Also, get rid of unidentifiable leftovers and other opened containers that no one in your family is planning on finishing. This kind of cleaning gives you more room to store holiday goodies and eases the strain your fridge.

Clean the interior. With the power still off, clean the interior of the refrigerator, wiping up any spills (Martha Stewart suggests using a quart of hot water with two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in it.)

Once you’ve completed your cleaning, plug the refrigerator back in and make sure the temperature is set correctly. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends keeping your refrigerator section at 40 degrees or below; the freezer section should be set at 0 degrees or lower.

Congratulations!  Your refrigerator is ready for the holiday load! Don’t you wish the rest of your seasonal chores were this easy?