Refrigerator Maintenance Guide
A refrigerator is an expensive, but necessary tool needed to keep your food edible and fresh. With regular maintenance, many refrigerators will last twelve to fifteen years. Following the steps in our Refrigerator Maintenance Guide can extend the life of your appliance and prevent costly repairs.
Turn Off Your Automatic Icemaker
An automatic ice maker is a nice feature, but it can increase the energy usage of your refrigerator by 14-20 percent. It also puts additional strain on the condenser and internal machinery. Using ice trays or only turning on the ice maker when ice is needed can reduce your energy bills and save wear and tear on your refrigerator.
Keep the Refrigerator Well-Stocked
An empty refrigerator uses more energy than one that is full. Items in the compartment remain cold even after the refrigerator door is opened. This helps the refrigerator restore and maintain the proper temperature, even when the refrigerator is under heavy use.
Don’t Block the Vents
A refrigerator stays cold by circulating chilled air through its compartments. If large items block the vents, the refrigerator will have to work harder to stay cold. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate the vents inside the freezer and refrigerator compartment and keep them free of obstruction.
Use the Correct Temperature Setting
If you set your refrigerator’s temperature too high, it will promote the growth of dangerous bacteria in your food. If the temperature is set too low, items in the refrigerator will form ice, reducing the quality of the food as well as unnecessarily straining the refrigerator. For optimal food safety, the refrigerator thermostat should be set to 37° F (4° C), and the freezer should be set to 0° F (-18° C).
Keep the Door Closed
When your refrigerator door opens, the cold air falls out and the refrigerator must work to restore the core temperature. Only open the refrigerator when necessary and do not allow the door to stand open. Pro Tip: If you are cooking, pull all the items you need from the refrigerator at one time instead of returning for multiple trips.
Keep the Area Around Your Refrigerator Clear
It’s tempting to use the flat space on top of the refrigerator to store items, but most refrigerators need at least a one-inch clearance on all sides to run at optimal efficiency. It is especially important to keep the area behind and underneath your refrigerator free of objects and debris to prevent the unit from overheating.
Keep the Refrigerator Away from Heat Sources
Refrigerators operate best in a room between 50° F (10° C) to 80° F (26° C). Don’t place your refrigerator in front of a window, beside your stove, near your dishwasher vent or other sources of heat. Your refrigerator may not operate properly in a room that is above 110° F (43° C).
Every Three Months
Clean the Ice Maker
Ice can pick up smells and tastes from the food stored in your freezer. To keep your ice fresh, remove the ice in the storage compartment and allow it to melt in your sink. If the ice storage compartment can be removed, take it out and wash it with warm soapy water. Otherwise, wipe the ice maker down with a warm, damp cloth.
Inspect and Clean the Door Gasket
The gasket is the thin strip between the refrigerator compartment and door that seals in the cold air. Wipe the gasket with a warm, damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Check for holes, gaps, cracks, or other signs of wear. Gaskets often wear out but are easily replaced.
Every Six Months
Defrost The Freezer
Frost buildup in the freezer can clog the fans, block the vents, and reduce available storage space within the unit. Your freezer should be defrosted every six months or when the ice buildup is half an inch thick. If your refrigerator has automatic defrost, you can skip this task.
Warning: Never use sharp objects to chip ice inside your freezer. You may puncture the condenser coils, releasing toxic refrigerant gas. Always defrost per the instructions in your owner’s manual.
Clean the Drain Pan
Water in your refrigerator’s drain pan should evaporate naturally, but mold, dirt, and bacteria can build up on the pan causing unpleasant odors. Following your owner’s manual instructions, remove the drain pan and wash it with warm, soapy water.
Change the Water Filter
Refrigerator water filters remove substances from the water that can affect the water’s taste, such as chlorine. If the filter is dirty, the water may end up dirtier than if it had been poured directly from the tap. Change the water filter every six months to keep your water and ice fresh.
Clean the Condenser Coils
Dirt buildup on the condenser coils negatively impacts a refrigerator’s efficiency. If the buildup is heavy, the refrigerator will not be able to cool properly, and the condenser may overheat. Locate the coils using the directions from your owner’s manual. Gently clean the coils with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, or wipe with a warm, dry cloth.
If you have questions or need assistance, an It Is Fixed Appliance Repair technician is available seven days a week to help. Contact us today for a same day* appointment.