Know Your Tools: Refrigerator Maintenance

Part of an ongoing series

Is your refrigerator running? Well then you better...dust it! Ha! You thought I was gonna say--never mind.

Yeah, your fridge needs dusted, and not just the top (though if yours is anything like mine...ick). The fridge needs regular maintenance, including dusting, and I have some tips to help keep your fridge running efficiently. And "efficient" means using less energy, hence cheaper to run and better for the planet. And what do we say at TNH? Yes! Saving energy is patriotic! Who knew cleaning the fridge was an act of patriotism!

Regular Maintenance
Once a month:
--Check your fridge temps. Your fridge should be running between 36-40°F, your freezer between 0-5°F.

--Defrost your freezer if you don't have an automatically defrosting fridge. If you don't, never let the ice build up more than 1/4" in thickness.

Once a season:
--Empty the drip pan under the fridge. I didn't even know I HAD a drip pan, but it's there, and it'll fill up and get icky especially if you have a defrosting fridge.

--Check and clean the seals. Make sure they're sealing well and if they're not, contact a parts dealer for replacements.

--Pull your fridge out and vacuum the dust coils. This improves the efficiency of your fridge so much that if your house tends to be dusty you might want to do it once a month.

In Use
-- Did you know moisture makes your fridge work harder? Make sure you keep foods covered.

--If your purchases come wrapped in paper, unwrap them and store them some other way. Paper is a good insulator and keeps the food from getting cold faster.

--Keep your freezer full. If you don't have food to keep the freezer full, freeze bottles of water. This works well for water storage for emergencies, and will help take some of the burden off your fridge's condensors.

--If the power goes off, move those frozen water bottles to the refrigerator section and then KEEP THE FRIDGE CLOSED! Only open it if you absolutely have to and then only for brief periods. Food will often last in the fridge this way up to 3 days if you are careful about opening it.

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