05 May 3 Great Tips For Fridge Maintenance
If the kitchen is the most used room in the house, then the most used item in the kitchen has to be the fridge. Milk for coffees, cereals or just a nice refreshing glass before bed, a quick cheese sandwich when you come home from work, apples, berries, yoghurts, meats, fish, vegetables, salads, fruits and leftovers – it all lives in the fridge.
But to give these food items life, then they must all be pulled out of the fridge, and this constant opening and shutting of the fridge door, as you will probably know somewhere in the back of your perfectly chilled head, does not do the appliance very much good, especially over long periods of time.
Your fridge will be one of your household’s most expensive appliances – and it deserves a little TLC. Repair bills can sometimes amount to more than the fridge is now worth if you were to decide to sell it. Really, you want to get at least 5 if not 10 years out of your fridge. Smart fridges aside, at the end of the day, your fridge really has one primary function – for preserving your perishables. There’s no real need to fork out on new generations every time they come out – they’re not smartphones after all.
No, regular maintenance and cleaning of your fridge can make your fridge last a lot longer, prevent repair call outs and bills, as well as reducing your energy bills. Without this regular care and attention, dirt and dust can build up in the fridge’s condenser coils, or the door seals can loosen their grip, allowing the cool air inside to leak out and your fridge work twice as hard trying to maintain temperature. Both of these things will significantly reduce your fridge’s lifespan, and increase the costs of energy and repairs.
So, let’s now take a look at 3 great tips for fridge maintenance that will have the appliance lasting twice as long.
- Keep The Door Seals Nice And Clean At All Times
This is literally a 30-60 second job that you would do well to make part of your weekend cleaning routine. If you keep them clean, then your seals will last for a lot longer – but even well-maintained ones aren’t invincible.
Over time, with all that opening and shutting of the fridge door, seals and gaskets can weaken, loosen, or even tear within just a few years. If you don’t keep an eye on this, then your fridge could well be using up to 25% more energy to keep cool – not only will this reflect on your energy bill, but your fridge will be doing extra leg work, so its lifespan will be shortened over time.
So, when you’re doing your weekly wipe down of the fridge seals, just check that they’re all in place and intact. You can check whether the seals are working properly by sliding a piece of paper half in and half out of the fridge door and shutting it. If you are able to pull the piece of paper out with relative ease, then this is an indicator that the seals may need replacing.
- Keep The Condenser Coils Clean
Once every 6 months or so, it will pay to pull the fridge out so that you can get to the back of it where all the magic happens. You will need to unplug the fridge before you do this for safety purposes.
The condenser coils will most likely be located at the back of the fridge, though possibly underneath it. They are the large, radiator-like coils, and these are responsible for removing excess heat from the appliance.
The condenser coils are easy enough to clean. All you need to do is simply pull out the fridge, remove the grille, and take a vacuum cleaner to them to remove any dust and grit.
- Get the Temperature Right
One of the maintenance problems with fridges is that they need a lot of ‘thermal mass’ (i.e. lots of things) inside them in order to maintain low temperatures. If you use an internal thermometer in your fridge, you will notice the temperature gradually creep up as your fridge empties over the week. This is because thermal mass helps absorb the warm air that seeps in every time the door is opened.
Fridges should be kept at a temperature of between 1 and 5°C, with the optimum temperature being 1.6°C. Unfortunately, that little 1-5 gauge in the fridge is often not dependable, so you really do need to monitor the temperature inside yourself.
You don’t want to set the fridge too cold, as this will wear it out, as will setting it too high. The best thing to do is to always try and keep the fridge as full as possible, so even when it’s looking a bit bare, fill it up with jugs of cold water, as these will absorb any warm air that finds its way in.