Easily the most routinely used appliance in the kitchen and possibly the most expensive, the refrigerator is one device you want to ensure functions properly and stands the test of time. Not only does most of your food find its way into the refrigerator or freezer at one point in time, the device also consumes a fair bit of electricity – approximately $100 worth of power each year. Here, we bring you an article on how to maintain your refrigerator so that you can save money and not worry about looking for loan places near you to get the maximum value out of it, year after year!
- Keep the Condenser Coils Clean
This is probably the first trick in everybody’s book, and a key aspect of refrigerator maintenance. And for good reason – it makes a big difference. Condenser coils tend to gather dust over time, and dusty coils affect the efficiency of the fridge. Most refrigerators have these coils fitted behind them. Others have their coils fitted at the bottom-front area. In the former case, pull out the machine from near the walls to reveal the coils, and in the latter case, simply pull off the grill and clean using a vacuum cleaner (use the brush attachment). In both cases, remember to unplug the refrigerator first, for reasons of safety. You need to do this every six months, unless you live in a particularly dusty area and then you might need to do this more often.
- Make Sure the Door Seals Properly
A seal that has gone loose can affect refrigeration greatly. Add to this larger power bills, and what you have is essentially a disaster. This is how a loose seal affects refrigeration: it allows cool air to seep out. The first step to help the seals along to do their job right is to ensure that they are kept clean of food residues. If you find there are residues, pull out a disused toothbrush, dunk it in a solution of baking soda and water and simply brush the seals clean.
A simple way to check if the seals are functioning as required is to stick a dollar bill into the fridge door, with half of it outside and half of it inside the door. Now close the refrigerator door. If the dollar bill falls off the door, it is time to have a professional check the seals.
- Stock Up on Items That Need Refrigeration
Yes, you read that right. Making it work harder makes life easier for it, in this case. This refrigerator maintenance tip might seem slightly counter-intuitive. Think of it as workout for the fridge. What you are trying to do here is provide the fridge with critical “thermal mass” i.e. lot of refrigerated items to help keep temperatures low. Here’s how it works: food and drinks that are kept cool in the refrigerator help absorb the warm air that seeps in each time you open the door of the appliance. If nothing else, ensure that at least a few bottles of water are kept in the fridge to do this job for you.
- No Power? The Fridge Stays Closed
Who hasn’t experienced a power outage, now? Remember, food kept in closed refrigerators will stay safe for hours on end, whereas frequent opening can cause the temperature inside to rise and spoil the foods kept inside. The thumb rule is this: in an unopened refrigerator, food stays safe for 4 hours; in an unopened, full freezer for 48 hours and in an unopened, half-full freezer for up to 24 hours.
- Defrost Your Refrigerator/Freezer
An oft-forgotten rule of refrigerator maintenance is regular defrosting. This may be done manually each time the frost build up on the inside wall of your fridge is about an inch thick. Some refrigerators are self-defrosting though. Your owner’s manual should tell which kind you own. So how do you manually defrost your appliance? Here is a step-by-step guide: 1. Remove all your food stocks from the refrigerator. 2. Unplug the appliance and allow it to reach room temperature so that all the frost melts away. 3. Turn the device back on. 4. Restock the appliance with food. And voila! The defrosting is done!
In case you own a self-defrosting machine, just make sure the pan at the bottom that collects water from defrosting is kept clean and devoid of any bacterial growth.
- Slipping Hot Food into the Fridge? Stop Right Now!
Just as cool foods in the refrigerator help keep the internal temperature down, hot foods do the opposite. They cause the air around them to warm up more and this leaves the fridge working harder to bring down the temperature. This ends up lowering the efficiency of the appliance and leaving you with larger power bills. Save yourself the trouble, just don’t do it.
- Know When to Replace a Refrigerator
Refrigerator maintenance is all good, but you need to know when it’s time to discard an old model. The life of a typical refrigerator is around 13 years. Any refrigerator over 20 years old needs replacement and you might need payday loans in Henderson, NV – it’s that simple. Models that are older could result is thrice the power consumption of a newer model. This can translate to hundreds of dollars more in savings each year.
Additional Tips & Tricks
Given above are the basics of refrigerator maintenance. Read on to find out some additional tips & tricks on how to maintain your refrigerator.
- Make use of air-tight containers to keep odors in and keep food fresh for longer periods.
- Deodorize regularly using a deodorizer designed specifically for refrigerators. If nothing else is on hand, use baking soda. The former lasts for up to 6 months.
- Replace the bulb that has stopped lighting up ages ago!
- Once every week, use a cloth damp with warm water or an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down your refrigerator.
- Ensure the temperature settings are appropriate.
- Replacement of water filters in the filtration system to be done every 6 months.
Joseph Priebe is a graphic designer and photographer unleashed as a content marketer. When he’s not writing about loans or saving money, he’s scraping his pennies together for a 68 Camaro.