By Our Friends at Sears Home Services
A fridge working at full capacity can save energy and help keep your food safe.
A refrigerator does more than keep food pleasantly cool. It helps prevent dangerous bacteria from developing on your food.
But if you don't maintain your refrigerator, you could be putting your family at risk. In fact, one in six people get sick from foodborne diseases every year, in part because food isn't stored at a safe temperature, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Below are eight refrigerator troubleshooting tips to help you properly maintain your fridge and ensure you’re keeping your family safe.
1. Check the Temp of Both Fridge and the Room It's in
Refrigerator temperatures fluctuate seasonally. Place a thermometer in the center of the middle shelf (not only on the door). Be sure food is stored safely below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. And did you know that sometimes refrigerators don't operate properly because the room they're in is too hot or too cold? Keep that in mind, especially as the weather heats up or cools off dramatically.
2. Wipe Up Spills Immediately
This is especially important from raw meat juices, which can carry bacteria. Defrost meat on the bottom shelf in a covered container to reduce the chance of spills and cross-contamination.
3. Don't Block Airflow
Improper ventilation around the outside of a fridge will cause increased energy usage and possible early equipment failure.
4. Don't Overcrowd
You need airflow inside as well to make sure all foods are equally cooled. So avoid the urge to stack items or cram in too many containers.
5. Inspect Your Door Gaskets for Tears, Gaps or Air Leakage
If not sealed correctly, the fridge will run longer than normal, causing an increase in energy usage and/or warm temps.
6. Clean the Condenser Coil Regularly
Dirty condensers increase the amount of energy needed to operate the fridge and can cause early failure. Clean the coil with a refrigerator brush or vacuum – just be sure to unplug the fridge first.
7. If Moisture Appears, Turn Energy-Saving Features Off
When the energy saver is off, it turns on heaters that prevent moisture around the doors from accumulating. Once moisture ceases to be a problem, you can turn the energy save back on.
8. Change Your Water Filters
Don't ignore the filter indicator when it says it's time for replacement. Filters pushed past their limits can no longer fully trap contaminants. An easy way to stay on top of this is to subscribe to a water filter replacement program like the one Sears offers.