5 Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

Performing basic refrigerator maintenance regularly can keep your appliance running smoothly and efficiently. Consider these five simple refrigerator maintenance tips to help extend the life of one of the most used kitchen appliances.

Refrigerator-coil-brush1. Clean coils. Refrigerator condenser coils generally can be found at the appliance’s base — in the front behind a kickplate or in back behind a cover. The coils on older refrigerators can be found on the back of the appliance and may be uncovered. If the coils are in the back (refer to your owner’s manual for their location), have someone help you slide the refrigerator away from the wall.

Clean the coils with a coil brush, removing any clumps of dust and debris. You can vacuum the coils as well. Keeping the coils clean allows better airflow, helping the refrigerator run more efficiently.

Kenmore-Elite-Refrigerator2. Inspect and clean door seals. When creating your refrigerator maintenance checklist, be sure to include a regular check-up of the door seals. If your fridge door or doors don’t seal properly, cold air escapes. Leaky doors affect the appliance’s ability to maintain the temperature needed to keep your food safe. Check the door seals monthly and clean with warm, soapy water every three months. If your refrigerator door seal becomes cracked or damaged, you can buy a replacement seal.

3. Maintain proper temperature. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends you keep your refrigerator temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer should be a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. By keeping an appliance thermometer inside both the refrigerator and the freezer, you can monitor the temperature daily. Keeping bulky food items away from interior refrigerator vents also helps maintain the temperature.

4. Replace water filter regularly. Refrigerators with automatic water dispensers have filters that remove particulates from the water. Water filters are designed to clean a specific number of gallons of water — this is their lifespan. Many water filters need replacement every four to six months depending on your usage of the water feature. After a filter becomes old, it clogs and the water flow from the dispenser will slow or even become sporadic. You can buy water filter replacements for all major brands, including Amana, Whirlpool, Kenmore, GE and more.

Craftsman-level5. Keep it level. If your refrigerator isn’t level, the doors may not open or close properly. An off-balance refrigerator also can affect the performance of the ice maker if the unit has one. Place a level on top of the refrigerator, and if the appliance isn’t level, an adjustment needs to be made. Refer to your owner’s manual for tips on how to level your refrigerator. You can use either a standard or a laser level, and both are available from manufacturers such as Craftsman, Stanley and Empire.


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      • San Jose, CA

    This is an excellent preventative maintenance article on an appliance that many of us take for granted.

    Having two Yellow Labs, the need to keep the bottom coils of our Kenmore refrigerator/ freezer clean has an especially high priority in keeping the machine running well.

    The special appliance cleaning brush only cost 3 dollars.

    I also vacuum the coils from the front and back of the machine.

    Just for fun, after all the other cleaning procedures are done, I blow out the rest of the coil and under cabinet areas with some low pressure air from my Craftsman 3 gallon hot-dog type air compressor.


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