Your browser is out of date.

For the correct work of a site, install the new version.

Repair & Maintenance

5 Quick Tips for Refrigerator Maintenance

Keep your refrigerator running smoothly and efficiently with our Home Matters expert tips on DIY refrigerator maintenance.

Is your refrigerator running efficiently? Afraid it’s on the fritz? Here are a few ways to get the best performance out of your unit and prevent breakdowns too. With our simple checks and expert D.I.Y. advice, you can avoid a refrigerator meltdown ahead of time.

How to Avoid Refrigerator Repairs


Thermometer inside fridge


1. Turn the refrigerator thermometer to cool

One of the first things you should check when assessing the efficiency of your refrigerator is the reading on the thermometer. Regardless of what kind of thermometer your refrigerator uses or its’ location in the refrigerator, it should stay between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while your freezer should always stay at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dollar sticking from fridge door


2. Perform a seal inspection every few months

Every refrigerator has rubber sealsr on the outer edge of the door or doors that help keep cool air in and warm air out. Over time, these rubber seals wear down and begin to deteriorate, allowing air to escape through the newly formed gaps. Although, we’re not talking about huge gusts of cool air flowing out, the small amount that does find its’ way through is enough to affect the efficiency of your refrigerator. So, it’s important to inspect the seals every so often and replace as needed. Usually you can call the refrigerator manufacturer for more information on how to replace the seals on your specific unit.

Condenser coils behind fridge


3. Clean and check the condenser coils

On the back of your refrigerator, there is what looks like a metallic filter usually located on the center of the back panel or near the bottom of the unit. These are called the refrigerator’s condenser coils. Over time, dust and other foreign objects begin to cover the coils, preventing heat from escaping. This causes the refrigerator to work much harder than it should. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check these coils periodically for build-up and clean them accordingly. Usually, a vacuum and a regular duster will do the trick.

Water bottles in fridge


4. Make the most of your space for energy efficiency

You might think that the less food you have in your fridge the more efficiently it will run, but this is actually not the case. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently when more food and drinks are stored in it. Once cool, the items in your fridge help absorb any warm air that finds its’ way in, rather than letting it flow freely through the fridge, ultimately raising the inside temperature. If you don’t buy enough food or drinks to keep your fridge consistently full, we suggest you either consider downsizing to a smaller unit or start filling the empty space with jugs of water.

Woman looking in fridge


5. Let food cool before putting it in the fridge

Many of us who keep a lot of leftovers or like to meal prep for the week will often put our warm food directly into the refrigerator before it’s completely cooled. But this is not a good habit, as hot or warm food will rapidly heat the air around it inside the refrigerator and cause the compressor to work harder at bringing the temperature back down. So, to maintain the efficiency of your refrigerator, wait for food to cool before storing it. Just make sure not to leave it out too long before putting it in the refrigerator.

A properly running refrigerator can save you more than just money on your electric bill. It can also save you the time and energy it would take to repair your unit if it were to break down due to irregular maintenance. But even with proper maintenance breakdowns do occur, so it’s always good to have a back up plan. With a home warranty from AHS, you can protect your budget from unexpected breakdowns and repairs on your refrigerator and other major home appliances.

Next > Lifespan of Modern Home Appliances

Affordable plans

Affordable plans for
inevitable breakdowns.

Protect your home's systems and appliances from unexpected breakdowns with an American Home Shield® Home Warranty.

Get a Quote
It only takes a few seconds.