Five Tips to Ensure Longer Refrigerator and Freezer Life
Reduce Maintenance Costs and Enhance Energy Efficiency
Freezers and refrigerators are quite expensive household items, and they need to be looked after and properly maintained in order to get a long and efficient life out of them. Regularly cleaning and checking a refrigerator will have the additional benefit of reducing its maintenance costs while also enhancing its energy efficiency, which is something that every ‘green’ homeowner will have high up on their domestic agenda as a way to save the planet while at the same time reducing energy bills.
What many people don’t appreciate is that even when they are not switched on, many items that remain plugged into a wall socket are still consuming a significant amount of electricity and are therefore costing their owner money.
As is the case with other household appliances, even if you have an extended warranty the company issuing it will expect the equipment to be properly maintained; if it isn’t, this may invalidate the warranty.
- The condenser coils located at the back of or underneath a refrigerator are liable to gather dust quite quickly, and this will result in increased energy expenditure along with a reduction in the appliance’s life expectancy. The coils and vents should be vacuumed regularly (at least once every month) to keep them free of dust. Please note: the power cord should be unplugged when this task is performed.
- In freezers that automatically defrost themselves, a drain hole allows the water to flow into a drip pan where it can evaporate, and this pan should be pulled out from its location beneath the appliance so that it can be cleaned. Food particles can get into the drip pan and produce unpleasant odors. Freezers that require manual defrosting should be defrosted on a regular basis for best performance; it is recommended that you avoid allowing the frost to build up to a thickness of more than about a quarter of an inch. The thicker the frost, the more power that will be consumed by the unit as it struggles to create and maintain a temperature balance between the inside and outside.
- Gaskets on the doors of the freezer and refrigerator have the function of keeping the cold air on the inside and the warmer, room temperature air on the outside, and these gaskets should be regularly checked for cracks. A simple way to do this is by sliding a strip of paper between the gaskets and the refrigerator walls. If the paper slides, then the gasket will need to be replaced. Gaskets can be cleaned using a mixture of water and soap, or with vinegar. A small amount of condensation will accumulate if the door of the refrigerator is not closed properly, especially in the summer months. If this happens, apply a small amount of Vaseline to the gasket and remove anything that is preventing the door from properly closing.
- The refrigerator will need to be thoroughly cleaned at least once every month, with all the foodstuffs removed from it beforehand. Soap and water can be used on the compartments that are used to store meat, fruit, and vegetables and the walls can be cleaned using one of the special refrigerator cleaners available in supermarkets and hardware stores. Baking soda can be used if the refrigerator is producing unpleasant odors.
- All food stored in the refrigerator should be kept in separate containers, as this will reduce the amount of moisture accumulating and result in reduced power consumption. Another way to reduce power consumption is to make certain that the refrigerator is located as far away from the stove or oven in the kitchen as possible, and that no refrigerator or freezer unit is located in the vicinity of a radiator or furnace.