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Extending The Life Of Your Refrigerator

Taking proper care of your refrigerator will help not only help to extend it's life, but can also cut back on maintenance costs. Use the guidelines offered here to keep your fridge in ship-shape for years to come.

Cleaning
The best way to extend the life and function of your fridge is to clean the condenser coils twice a year. On most modern fridges, the coils are hidden behind a vanity grill at the bottom of the unit but may vary on your unit. If you have trouble finding the coils in your fridge (don't you wish you'd saved the manual now?), try contacting the manufacturer or your brand's local dealer.

Getting to the Gross Stuff
Next, remove the grille and gently clean away the copious amounts of lint that collect on it with a pipe cleaner or a soft-bristle toothbrush. If you have a portable vacuum with an extension nozzle, you can gently vacuum the coils. Just make sure you unplug the fridge first.

Afterward, wipe with a soft cloth, careful not to snag the coils. If you have a cycle defrost fridge, the coils will be along the back of the unit, in all their ugly glory, but the nice thing is that they're easy to access and clean.

Liquid Draining
Usually to the right of the coils in a frost-free refrigerator is a separate section containing the drain pan. Before you remove this for cleaning, it's a good idea to clean the drain at the inside bottom of your fridge. Use a pipe cleaner to core out gunk that may be collected within it.

Next, pour about a cup of soapy water through the drain. Once your drain is clean, carefully pull the drain pan out and empty the water from it. It will probably be covered with dirt and lint, so clean it with warm soapy water and dry it before replacing.

Last, But Not Least
Finally, extend the life of your fridge's gaskets (the plastic strip that forms a seal between your fridge and the doors). Simply coat the leading edge of the gaskets facing the door hinges with a thin film of Vaseline. This will help the gaskets stay elastic and form a better seal.

If your gaskets are cracked, rolled or otherwise failing to provide a good seal, then you're wasting energy and probably helping your food to spoil. These gaskets should be replaced according to the manufacturer's suggestions.

Hammer Find out how other people have helped keep their refrigerator healthy in our Household Appliances forum.