Maybe it’s your first home. Maybe you did a cursory wipe-down and thought that was enough. Maybe you assumed all appliances had a five-year lifespan. Whatever the reason, don’t worry—we won’t judge.
Proper appliance maintenance happens pretty rarely, to be honest. We see a lot of ill-maintained ovens, refrigerators, and washing machines on a fast track to an early death. In other words: We see a lot of people wasting money.
Here’s how to save money:
4 Refrigerator Maintenance Tips
The average refrigerator repair will run you about $250. An entirely new refrigerator costs between $500 and several thousand dollars, and some of the higher-end models even break the $10,000 mark. The best way to avoid those payments is proper maintenance. Fortunately for all of us, proper refrigerator maintenance is pretty simple.
Here are the Real Estate Gals’ DIY tips for getting the most life out of your refrigerator:
1) Clean the condenser coils
The condenser coils carry heat out of your refrigerator and into your house. As dirt, dust, and pet hair collects on them, the coils work harder, putting unnecessary stress on both your refrigerator and your energy bill.
To clean the condenser coils, pull the plug and move your refrigerator away from the wall. You’ll find the coils either on the unit’s backside, or, in certain newer models, hidden behind a toe space panel or a rear access panel. Vacuum those condenser coils until they’re clean (or use a designated condenser coil brush).
You’ll get a more efficient and longer-lasting refrigerator in return for those few minutes of work—and you’ll also get a slightly lower energy bill.
2) Clean beneath the refrigerator
Dirt, dust, and pet hair accumulate beneath your refrigerator. Clean regularly to improve air circulation; it’ll keep your refrigerator from working too hard. Clean more often if you have pets.
3) Keep a tight seal on the door
Close your refrigerator door on a dollar bill. If the bill slips, you’ve got a loose seal.
To get that seal snug again, find a strong magnet. Magnetic strips embedded in the door’s gaskets are responsible for making the door shut tight, so run that magnet 50 times along each side of the gaskets, all in the same direction. That will remagnetize the strips and restore the seal. You should do this every few years.
4) Leave space above and around the refrigerator
A refrigerator needs a few inches of space on all sides to properly remove heat. If your fridge is too cramped, it won’t work efficiently, and it will wear out sooner.
Bonus: Clean with baking soda
This won’t improve efficiency, but it will improve smell. When cleaning inside your refrigerator, mix four tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of warm water. For stains, scrub with straight baking soda and a damp sponge.
When you’re finished, keep an open box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb future smells.