Proper Refrigerator Care

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If you are like most consumers, you likely want to extend the life of your refrigerator as long as possible. This is true, particularly in view of the fact that refrigerator prices can range anywhere from about $300 dollars for a small refrigerator to more than $1,000 for larger units. Regardless of how much you paid for your unit, proper care can extend the life of your refrigerator. 

1. Clean refrigerator spills as soon as possible. A spill can discolor or stain the affected area. Over time, spills can also cause odors and mildew to develop. Generally, all you need to clean a spill is warm soapy water and a rag. 

2. Keep the refrigerator seals (gaskets) clean. Food crumbs and liquids can get behind the seal and between the ridges. If not cleaned, the seal can breakdown, which can affect cooling and freezing. Use warm soapy water and a small brush to clean the gaskets. 

3. Make sure the refrigerator and freezer doors close properly. Besides spiking your electric bill, a cracked door can also cause your refrigerator to run out of freon. 

4. Protect your refrigerator from direct sunlight. Some refrigerator parts, like the door handles, typically turn yellow with age. Placing your fridge in direct sunlight will speed up the process. Sunlight can also cause refrigerator parts to become dry and crack.  

5. Clean the refrigerator coils regularly. On some units, you will find the coils mounted in the back, while on others you will find them at the bottom. Dirty coils will make the compressor work much harder and could result in a higher electric bill. 

Turn off the unit and unplug it. Disconnect the water supply. Move the unit away from the wall. If the coils on your refrigerator are located at the bottom, you can access them from either the front or the back. First, remove the bottom front grill (toe space panel). Slide out the condensor tray. Look for the condensor coils. If you cannot access them from the front, you will need to remove the cardboard back panel at the bottom of the fridge. 

Use long extensions to vacuum the dust. If you have an air compressor, you can blow off the dust from the coils. However, you will likely need to transport the fridge outside, as it will disperse the dust into the air.    

Clean the condensor tray before putting it back in place. A dirty tray can collect bacteria, which can cause odors. 

Overall, proper cleaning can help your refrigerator last longer. An efficiently running fridge can save you money in the way of electricity. Keep the unit away from the wall for proper air circulation. Additionally, dirty coils could make the compressor run more frequently and harder. Implementing tips such as the ones listed above will likely extend the life of your refrigerator and keep it working efficiently. 

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