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12 Steps to Maintain Your Refrigerator

Sub Zero Refrigerator Repair

Life in a busy household comes to a screeching halt when the refrigerator isn't working! While having a refrigerator repairman on call is important, knowing the key steps to proper refrigerator maintenance is the best way to make sure the situation stays cool. Refrigerator maintenance is important for maintaining safe food temperatures, maximizing your appliance's efficiency and avoiding avoidable replacement costs. Take a look at the 12 steps to maintain your refrigerator that everyone should be doing.

1. Clean Your Door Seals

First, ensure that the seals are free of food debris on a daily basis. Seals should be cleaned at least twice a year using a bristled brush. Simply brushing with some water and baking soda should be enough to make your seals gleam!

2. Check Door Seals for Tightness

There's an easy way to make sure your seals are tight! This is important because loose door seals actually cause refrigerators to be less efficient. Close a dollar bill in the door at its halfway point. If the dollar bill sticks, your seals are tight! If it slides out, it may be time to call a refrigerator repair service for a seal replacement.

3. Do a Temperature Check

Person monitoring the temperature of his refrigerator

Can you call out the temperature of your refrigerator off the top of your head right now? It's important to do temperature checks regularly to get a feel for how you're unit is acting. Ideally, a refrigerator should stay between 37 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While tiny fluctuations are normal, you'll need to act if you see big jumps on the thermostat.

4. Clean Your Condenser Coils

This is a big one! A refrigerator's condenser coils will become covered in dust and debris pretty regularly. Dirty coils are less efficient than clean coils. Make a habit of cleaning the coils thoroughly at least twice a year. This involves pulling the appliance away from the wall a bit to vacuum the coils clean. Always make sure your refrigerator is unplugged before you do any coil cleaning!

5. Keep Your Interior Balanced

Did you know that what you place in a refrigerator can actually impact performance? Refrigerators perform best at "full" capacity. Having a "lopsided" fridge causes your unit to work harder. If you tend to keep an empty fridge because you're on the go, consider adding a few jugs of water to balance things out. Overstuffing your fridge can also lead to decreased performance. Be sure to clean out things like half-empty containers and forgotten leftovers regularly if your fridge gets crowded quickly.

6. Do a Weekly Cleaning

Hand Wiping Down Fridge Surface with Towel

A simple cursory cleaning each week should be enough to keep gunk and junk from bogging down your refrigerator's performance. Simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior surfaces of your fridge to clear away crumbs and dribbles. This will make it much easier to do your deep cleaning!

7. Do a Deep Cleaning That Includes a Defrosting

How often you'll need to do a deep cleaning of your refrigerator comes down to usage. You'll know it's time to defrost if you see excessive frost building inside your unit. A good defrosting may also be in order if you notice smells coming from your fridge. Doing a defrost session before frost becomes overly dense will only make your life easier. Here are the steps:

  • Turn off your fridge.

  • Empty your fridge completely.

  • Allow all of the built-up frost to melt.

  • Thoroughly clean the inside using a gentle all-purpose cleaner of your choice. Some people even use a homemade mixture of vinegar and water.

You should also take the opportunity to defrost the freezer to help boost performance. Frost can greatly decrease a freezer's performance. Of course, you may want to consider calling in a refrigerator repair company like Sterling Service Group if you've been neglecting the task of defrosting because there may be a severe blockage that requires expert help.

8. Use a Deodorizer

You can avoid lingering smells by using a special fridge deodorizing product. These products are capable of providing lasting freshness for half a year. If you can't get around to buying one, simply open a box of baking powder inside the fridge.

9. Stack Items Properly

Organized Food in Refrigerator

Putting heavy items in the wrong place can wreck your fridge's efficiency. The biggest mistake that people make is storing heavy, bulky items near the top of the fridge. This will actually decrease the efficiency of the back coils in most models. Try to remember to distribute heavy items evenly throughout the unit.

10. Monitor Temperatures After Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Don't be surprised if your fridge becomes more efficient after you do things like defrosting, cleaning the interior or vacuuming out the coils. You may need to adjust the temperature setting higher to account for the boosted efficiency. If you notice that your fridge is suddenly getting colder faster after a good cleaning, consider decreasing the internal thermostat just slightly to keep ice from building up on your food.

11. Clean Around the Fridge Regularly

Don't forget to vacuum all around the fridge regularly. Things like dust, dirt and crumbs can end up in your fridge's coils if left to linger. Keeping the area around the fridge clean is an important part of maintaining performance and efficiency.

12. Have a Plan for Contacting a Refrigerator Repair Service Your Neighbors Trust

While maintaining a fridge is fairly simply, you may not be prepared to preserve your appliance if something "big" goes wrong. Things like motors, fans and coils can fail. This is where it pays to have pros ready to visit your home to diagnose the issue, suggest repairs and provide replacement parts! Many people are able to avoid costly replacement fees by saving their appliances with help from the pros!

Make Sure You Have the Name of a Refrigerator Repair Service Handy!

At Sterling Service Group, we take pride in helping our customers to enjoy their appliances for as long as possible by providing quality repairs and parts. Maintaining your fridge can go a long way when it comes to getting your money's worth from this all-important appliance. Our team is here to help with everything from routine maintenance to emergency repairs. Call today to learn how we can help you!

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