10 Steps to Keep Your Refrigerator Running Efficiently

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or should the title be How NOT to Kill Your Refrigerator? You’ll see why at the end…..

The refrigerator is probably the most important, if not one of the most expensive appliances in your home.

Its a big purchase that we try to make only once. We bring them home, plug them in and expect them to run forever.  But we need to do a little maintenance and housekeeping along the way. 

Here are a few things you can do that will help your refrigerator run more efficiently, no matter how old it is.

  • Check the temperature setting. Normal fridge temp is 37F and freezer temp is 0F. Anything too high could be a problem.

  • Check the door seals. Make sure they are tight when you close the doors.  

  • Don't store things on top of the fridge. The kitchen table would be a better place to throw the daily mail.

  • Don't store open containers in your refrigerator. This increases moisture levels and makes the fridge compressor work harder. Besides, its not very sanitary and food dries out quickly.

  • Keep your fridge full, but not overstuffed. Your fridge doesn't have to work as hard to keep things cool when its about 3/4 full. This allows for plenty of space for air circulation around items.  

  • Keep your fridge organized.  If you know where things are, you don't have to keep the door open as long. It also reduces the frequency of opening the door. (If your hubby insists on making his salad one ingredient at a time, stress to him the importance of getting ALL his ingredients out first and then closing the door. Same rules for the kids) .

  • Keep your fridge clean. Throw away all spoiled food.  I remember the words of George Carlin from one of his comic acts,  "Is it meat or meat cake?" If you don't know what it is and its growing hair, its outta there. 

  • Make sure the back of your fridge is at least a few inches away from a wall. Place it away from other large appliances that throw off heat such as a dishwasher or stove. You want heat to move away from the fridge, not trap it.

  • Want to save energy costs? Turn off the ice maker and go back to using ice trays. Its not that bad and its a lot less noise. 

Probably the most important lesson I learned before I ALMOST killed my fridge:

Unplug your fridge and vacuum the condenser coils, under the fridge and anywhere you find dust (or pet hair) has accumulated.  Poor air circulation prevents the condenser from cooling the fridge and your fridge starts to heat up. If you see the temperature rising and suspect this, a simple test is to place your hand on the inner seal between the doors. If its hot to the touch its time to get out the vacuum. If you don't do this, its a sure fire way of killing your refrigerator. I caught the problem in time.  I now vacuum these areas at least 4 times a year.

Following these few simple steps can extend the life of your refrigerator. Its not unheard of for a 30 year old home to have the original refrigerator in it. It may be a little outdated with all the new fangled gadgets on the market but it still works. Take a little time and pay attention to the small things that we are often to busy to and you will reap bigger rewards in the long run. Not having to buy another refrigerator.

What ideas do you have or what steps have you taken to keep your refrigerator running smoothly?

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