Refrigerators are one of the most common household devices and can be found in everyone’s house. Being an electric device, just like any other device, it is prone to failure or breakdown. Most of the times the repair costs are high if some major component gets damaged. But all the repairs can be minimized if not completely omitted if regular and proper maintenance is done.
In this article, we will walk you through some common and easy to do maintenance tasks that will ensure that your refrigerator works flawlessly.
1. Cleaning the condenser coils –
Condenser coils are a very important part of the refrigerator’s cooling system and malfunctioning coils can significantly increase the low repair or replacement cost of the refrigerator.
Condenser coils help to cool and condense the refrigerant which pushes cool air into the refrigerator. If the condenser coils are clogged or dirty then they will not perform up to their full potential as they will not be able to release the heat much effectively, resulting in degraded performance of the refrigerator. To compensate for this the refrigerator compressor works harder increasing the heat production and also increasing the power usage.
Follow the below steps to clean your condenser coils –
Locate the coils on your fridge. In most refrigerators, they are either located at the bottom of the refrigerator or at the back side of the refrigerator.
Take out the grill protecting the condenser coils and clean the condenser coils with a coil cleaning brush or a clean cloth to loosen the dirt and debris build-up if any.
Try not to clean too harder and bend the fan blades. Once the cleaning is done, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any remaining loosened dirt around or on the coils.
If you have pets or live in an environment with high dust contents then the coils get too clogged up pretty fast and therefore cleaning should be carried out 2 to 3 times a year or more if required.
2. Cleaning the condenser fan –
Most refrigerators nowadays come with a condenser fan. Refrigerators that have their condenser coils located at the bottom usually have condenser fan right next to it. If your refrigerator has its condenser coils at its back then it probably doesn’t have a condenser fan. The condenser fan circulates cool air throughout the refrigerator keeping it cool and maintaining an ideal temperature for the food items inside the refrigerator.
Sometimes dust particles or debris might get stuck into the condenser fan blades and hinder its working and might even completely stop it. Cleaning the condenser fan is pretty easy. Follow the below given steps to clean your condenser fan –
Pull refrigerator away from the wall and access the bottom part of the refrigerator from the backside. Remove the back lower cover using a screwdriver.
Locate the condenser fan and clean its blades with a clean cloth or a brush. Also, clean the crease around the fan and the rotor so that there are no obstructions between the rotor and the motor shaft. This should help the fan blades move much freely and without any suppression.
Put back the cover and cover and screw it back using the screwdriver
3. Cleaning the door gasket –
There are a total of three types of refrigerators which vary by some features but mostly they work on the same principle. All the refrigerators consist of two sets of coils, the evaporator coil, and the condenser coil. The evaporator coil cools down the interiors of the refrigerator and the condenser coils remove any of the accumulated heat. The only difference between these three types of refrigerators is how they handle defrosting.
The oldest types of refrigerators have a manual defrost where you manually need to defrost by turning the refrigerator off and let the ice melt on its own. The second type of refrigerators is the cycle defrost refrigerators. These work in a cycle of building up and removing frost. You need to manually defrost the refrigerator by turning down the dial to the defrost mode. The water from the defrosting of ice is carried by a channel into the back of the fridge through a tube where it is collected under the fridge in a drip tray.
The third category of refrigerators are the refrigerators which are most commonly found nowadays. These refrigerators use a heater coil to heat up the frost and convert it into water. The heater is turned on and shut down automatically using a timer. An evaporator fan distributes the cool air from the water throughout the refrigerator, keeping it cool.
Whichever kind of refrigerator you have, all of them have a gasket in the door which prevents external atmospheric air from reaching inside the fridge. Dirty gasket or gasket having leaks can cause the atmospheric air to interfere with the air within the refrigerator altering the temperatures inside the refrigerator and causing the food to spoil.
To clean the gasket on the door just use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe out any liquid substances are dirt from the gasket. Don’t use any kind of soap or detergent, just use plain water as soap or detergent can damage the gasket.
4. Temperature settings –
Every refrigerator has temperature settings and you should use them to make your refrigerator run more efficiently. It will not prevent damage or repairs but it will surely help to increase the life span of the refrigerator.
The ideal temperature for the refrigerator is between 2 to 4-degree Celsius and below 0-degree Celsius for the freezer. You can adjust the temperature a bit according to the ambient temperature and season but mostly the temperature should be kept within this range only.
It is advised to keep the temperature knob in the middle settings for the best results. Also, use an external thermometer to monitor the temperature of the refrigerator from time to time in case your internal thermometer is defective.
5. Clean the drip and freezer vents –
If you have a frost free fridge you’ll notice the small vents on the inside of the freezer. These are the air vents that help to calculate the air in and out of the freezer. Unobstructed circulation of air is required for the proper functioning of the freezer. Make sure not to keep any food items too close to the vents and block them. Also, clean the vents off any dirt or buildup on a regular basis.
If your refrigerator is a cycle-defrost type, then it will regularly go under a defrost cycle where all the frost is melted into water and slowly dripped to flow down pan below the refrigerator. In such refrigerators, there is a tube that directs the water into the food compartment. Check for its location in the refrigerator’s manual and make sure that the opening of the tube is unclogged and clear. If the opening gets clogged, water will collect under the crisper drawers and will eventually start leaking.