The refrigerator is one of the home appliances that would make your life very uncomfortable should it break down. So before things get inconvenient, it’s best to perform regular maintenance check of your fridge. After all, this nifty appliance runs 24/7, and a couple of minutes of regular maintenance shouldn’t be a bother. We’ve broken down this process to smaller tasks to make it easy for you.

1.Clean the Coils

Notice the coils beneath or behind your refrigerator? Those coils are responsible for absorbing and expelling the heat so that only cold air circulates inside the fridge. Over time, those coils would have a build up of dust and debris, which would cause the compressor to work harder than usual to maintain the coolness inside. To keep your fridge in its optimum condition, cleaning the coils comes first.

To do this, you have to first unplug the fridge and pull the machine away from the wall to expose the coils. If the coils are located at the bottom, you can snap off the grille to access the coils. Vacuum the coils using the brush attachment. You can also use a flexible coil brush to clean hard to reach parts. Do this once a year —or twice, if you have furry companions that shed⁠—to keep the fridge running efficiently. 

2.Empty the Drip Pan

Most fridge models today don’t have to be defrosted. That’s because they have mini heaters that melt frost periodically. The condenser expels the melted frost into a dip pan. The drip hole and drip pan can be a hotbed of mineral deposits, food particles, as well as bacterial and mold growth so you have to clean it regularly. Refer to your fridge's instruction manual to locate and properly remove the drip pan.

3.Defrost Regularly

If your fridge happens to be one of those manual defrost models, you have to turn it off periodically. Defrosting manually may require planning since the best time to do it is when you don’t have much food and meat stored in your fridge.

Once you have unplugged the machine, check the freezer for frost build up and if it’s half an inch thick or more, you will have to remove it manually. Placing beach towels to soak up the moisture inside will make the process less messy. Regularly defrosting your fridge will not just free up some space, it will also ensure that your refrigerator works efficiently.

4. Change the Water Filter Regularly

If your fridge has a water dispenser or an ice maker, it also has a water filter that you need to change regularly if you want it to function optimally. Aside from that, changing the water filter ensures that the water that comes out of the dispenser is safe for drinking. Most filters have to be replaced every 6 months but to be sure, check your refrigerator manual for scheduled replacements.

5. Check the Door Gasket

The gasket is responsible for keeping the door shut tight so that cool air won’t seep out. Making sure the seal is working will not just help ensure that your fridge continues to run efficiently for years to come, it will also help rein in the electric bill. To clean the gasket, unplug first the machine. Using a small brush and vinegar or baking soda dissolved in warm water, remove food residue and other debris on the surface and within the folds of the gasket.

To check if the door of the fridge is sealed tight, close it with a dollar bill or a thin paper stuck in between. If the gasket is working properly it should be hard to pull out the dollar bill. If it slips out easily, it’s time to replace the gasket and you will have to call professionals to do the job.

6. Keep it Stuffed

Food and water kept inside the fridge absorb heat and they do a better job of holding cold temperature in than air. So if you want to maintain the coolness inside your fridge, store some cool foods in there. If you’re not a fan of cooking and you always eat out, store jugs of water instead. Just make sure you don’t cram too much inside the fridge that you’re already blocking the air vents.

7.Level it

If the fridge is not leveled properly, the door may be warped when closed and the machine won’t be sealed tightly, causing energy loss. If left unchecked for a long time, the refrigerator may bend out of shape. To see if the fridge is leveled evenly, place a carpenter’s level at the top of the unit. Adjust the feet of the fridge using a wrench until it’s leveled.

8. Keep it Clean and Organized

To keep the refrigerator running in tiptop condition and ensure that it’s a safe place to store food, you have to clean regularly the interior of the fridge as well. For a more organized way of going at it, follow these best practices:

  • Use baskets to store food items and designate places for various types of food items. Different areas of the fridge have varying temperature and are purposed for different foodstuff. Fruits and vegetables are best stored in crisper drawers while the freezer is the best place for meats, for instance.
  • Line the crisper with paper towels. This will absorb the moisture coming from fruits and vegetables. With less moisture, your greens and fruits will remain fresh for longer.
  • Take the clutters out. There may be some stuff inside the fridge that may not even need refrigeration and are best stored in the pantry. Unopened bottles of ketchup and mustard, for example, don’t have to be refrigerated.
  • Don’t refrigerate foodstuff and drinks that are in plates or glasses. Better yet, throw out leftovers regularly. Leftovers will increase the risk of spillage and moldy grossness.

Doing some maintenance checks and cleaning your fridge may not make it to the top of most homeowners’ to-do list. However, creating schedules for these smaller tasks can help you follow a routine that won’t take you more than a few hours out of a year to accomplish. The payoff is definitely worth it: a clean, fresh-smelling, and longer-lasting fridge that runs smoothly.

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