How long should a refrigerator last? With the right care and maintenance, the average lifespan of a fridge is about 13 years. If all you’ve done is plug the appliance in and forget about it, the refrigerator could breakdown in just a couple of years.
Just as any major appliance in your household, the fridge needs regular maintenance. It doesn’t mean you have to spend hours cleaning and repairing it. In fact, all it takes is several minutes per week.
We’ve asked experts at Jacksonville Appliance Repair to share key maintenance tips to help your fridge last longer and perform better.
1. Don’t Keep it Open
Here is an easy one for you. Try not to keep the refrigerator open for too long. We bet some of your household members enjoy opening the door and staring inside, looking for something tasty. Such a habit could spell disaster for your fridge.
When you open the door, the temperature inside the appliance suddenly increases, forcing it to work harder to keep it down. The longer you hold the door open, the more power the fridge has to use to maintain the right temperature.
Eventually, the power consumption goes up while the quality of the food goes down. Such overworking could lead to a breakdown.
2. Install the Fridge Correctly
Pay special attention to the place you install your refrigerator. It should be standing at least 5 inches away from the wall and other furniture. You need to provide sufficient ventilation to the coils. Otherwise, a breakdown is imminent.
Another thing to consider is direct sunshine. If you place the appliance across from the window with sunlight shining directly on it, your fridge will be overworking. The same goes for installing it near a stove. Try to keep the refrigerator away from other appliances, sunshine, and heat sources so it can keep the interior cool.
Make sure the fridge is leveled. Otherwise, it won’t close properly and start straining the motor.
3. Wash the Fridge Regularly
Spills inside the fridge could lead to such unfortunate things as mold formation. As mold and bacteria grow, they can affect the operation of the appliance and send dangerous contaminants into your food. That’s why it’s vital to remove spills as soon as they occur.
At least once every three months, consider removing all food from your fridge to ensure all the old stuff is gone. Wipe the surfaces with soapy water to remove all the leftover residue and mold, if any.
Consider reviewing products inside your fridge at least once a week in order not to keep any expired food there.
4. Check Door Seals
One of the most important parts of your fridge is the door seals. They are what keeps the fridge properly closed and allows the cool air to stay inside. If the seals are damaged, the fridge stops doing its job well, temperatures go up, food gets spoiled, mold starts growing, and much more.
Make it a habit to inspect the integrity of the door seals at least once a month. If you see any damage, call the technicians to replace it. Replacing seals on your own is possible. However, if you do it improperly, you may face a breakdown in the nearest future.
5. Find a Respectable Repair Company
When your fridge breaks down, it’s an emergency. If by that time, you don’t know whom to call, you may end up overpaying for low-quality services. It’s a good idea to find a respectable appliance repair company in advance.
While choosing such a company, find out about the response time. When major appliances, such as a refrigerator break, you often need immediate assistance.
6. Clean Condenser Coils
Improper care for condenser coils is one of the most common reasons for breakdowns. They are located at the back of the appliance. Coils condense the refrigerant and release heat. When they are dirty, the compressor is stressed, thus wasting energy and shortening the fridge’s lifespan.
At least once every three months, you need to clean the coils. Start by vacuuming them. Then take a brush and remove whatever dirt is left. Special coil brushes are available, but you can reach tough places with an old toothbrush.
If you have a pet, you may need to clean the coils more often since pet hair is one of their worst enemies.
7. Defrost the Freezer
If you don’t have an auto-defrosting freezer, you need to do it manually. Consider defrosting at least once every three months. If you don’t see too much frost inside, you can do it once every six months.
Turn the fridge off. Remove all food from the freezer. Put a towel or a tray on the floor to collect water. Allow the freezer to stay this way until all the frost is gone. Wash it thoroughly. Plug the fridge back in.
8. Change Filters
If your fridge is making ice, it has filters. Check the manual to find out where these filters are. It should also say how often they need to be replaced. If you don’t change the filters regularly, you may face the improper function of the ice maker and the entire fridge.
Consider changing these filters whenever you replace the rest of the household filters in such appliances as the vacuum cleaner, air purifier, humidifier, and the like. Most likely, you’d have to do it once or twice a year.
9. Cover Your Food
All of the food that stays inside your fridge should be covered. It doesn’t just keep the bacteria from spreading and odors from appearing, it reduces the level of moisture inside the fridge.
Too much moisture leads to mold formation and improper temperature levels inside the appliance.
10. Don’t Leave it Empty
When you leave the fridge empty, it has a tougher time maintaining the right temperatures than when there is food inside. The items inside the refrigerator act as cooling elements. Once they are cooled down to a certain temperature, they help maintain it.
So if you don’t have any food to place inside the fridge, just put a few water bottles in it. Or you can fill a cooking pot with water and leave on the shelf.
Follow these simple tips and enjoy your fridge for years to come!