Your refrigerator is one of the largest drainers of electricity in your home. If it’s not running efficiently, that can mean bad news for your electric bill—and your bank account. However, there are some easy things you can do a few times a year to make sure your fridge is in top shape.
- Condenser coils aren’t just for your HVAC system. Your refrigerator has them too! Over time, dust and pet hair (if you have a pet) collects on the backside of your fridge, clogging the coils. This “blanket” of debris causes the compressor to run hotter than normal, straining it and reducing its lifetime. Use a brush attachment to vacuum these coils at least every three months (if you have a pet that sheds heavily, you may want to do this more often).
- Don’t forget to inspect your door gaskets. These gaskets are the rubber strips lining the edge of the fridge doors, which seal the doors airtight. If they are dirty, loose, or damaged, the doors won’t close tightly, letting the cold air escape and putting strain on the appliance’s motors. Clean them with warm, soapy water and make sure you dry them completely to prevent mildew. If the gaskets are loose, it means their internal magnets are weak—you can either replace the magnets or re-magnetize them.
- Use a construction level to check the appliance’s levelness. If it isn’t completely level, the fridge doors won’t close properly, even if your seals are in perfect condition. As stated before, this puts strain on the motors, and can even cause condensation inside the fridge. Luckily refrigerators come with adjustable feet, so fixing this issue is easy as rotating the feet until the fridge is level.
- Check your temperature settings. If the temperature is too low, the system will have to run harder to cool the fridge to that lower temperature—driving up your electric bill. The ideal temperature for the fridge is between 37-40 degrees, and for the freezer, 0 degrees.
- It might sound odd but keeping your freezer full helps your appliance maintain the proper temperature. When you open your freezer, the air inside warms up. The fuller the freezer is, the less air inside to warm.
- Your mother always told you this and it’s the truth: DON’T stand in front of the fridge with the doors open! Every second that the doors are open, more warm air rushes in, pushing the cold air out.
Taking care of your refrigerator and increasing its efficiency not only reduces your electric bill, it also increases the lifespan of the appliance. This will save you even more money, and time and effort, down the road.
Why not go the extra mile to care for your fridge the next time you clean your home?