10 Musts to Maintain Your Refrigerator

Posted on Sep 11, 2013

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10 Musts to Maintain Your Refrigerator


Did you know there are 10 musts to maintain your refrigerator?


We recently bought a home.  The contract included a refrigerator.  The refrigerator is at least 7 years old; and while the previous homeowners seem to have maintained their property well, I wanted to make sure I take all the precautions necessary to ensure this refrigerator will last another 7 years.


In researching the topic, I came across at least 10 sites providing information ranging from the life expectancy of this important kitchen appliance (14-17 years for standard size) to eliminating odors, and everything in between.


I’ve pulled the most important elements together into one easy to reference sheet.  Here is the list of 10 things to do to keep your refrigerator running optimally.


  1. Unless you have a zero clearance or front vented model, leave air space around all four sides to avoid overheating.
  2. Keep the refrigerator temperature at 35-42 degrees F and the freezer at 0 degrees F.
  3. Conserve your compressor with a full fridge and freezer; if you don’t keep a lot of food on hand then store a few jugs of water instead – think thermal mass.
  4. Every 1-3 months unplug and vacuum coils; depending on the model, you can locate the coils either on the back or the underside.*
  5. Every 1-3 months unplug and clean drain hole and drip pan.*
  6. Every 1-3 months, using a microfiber duster, dust the front grill and the underside.*
  7. Every 3 months test that your refrigerator is level.   Why?  This keeps the freezer working optimally and the doors moving properly.
  8. Every 6 months, or as needed, change out the water filter.
  9. As needed clean the gasket with vinegar to ensure a better seal.
  10. During a power outage, the refrigerator will keep foods safely cold for 4 hours if unopened, the freezer for 48 hours if full or 24 hours if ½ full. – again, think thermal mass.

 *  Perform these maintenance tasks every 1 month if you have pets


Extra Pointers:


Here are a couple extra pointers that while they may not affect how well your refrigerator runs, will affect you:


  1.  Every month empty out your ice bucket – the ice traps all the random odors so it will start to taste “off”
  2. Every 3 months put an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors
  3. If your model is older than 1993 then you’ll save in energy costs by replacing it

 Please Note:  Please refer to the manual for your individual make/model for more specific care instructions


And now hats off to us if we can all remember in our busy schedules to follow this routine!  🙂  Perhaps printing this off and keeping it next to the refrigerator will help!


In keeping with a kitchen theme, while you’re cleaning out your refrigerator you may be interested in solving these 3 Food Dilemmas.


10 Musts to Maintain Your Refrigerator - Here is the list of 10 things to do to keep your refrigerator running optimally.



P.S. How do you keep track of maintaining your refrigerator?


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