In our ongoing Home Maintenance series, we focus on items usually ignored or taken for granted. Kitchen appliances are the kind of things that we often overlook, like a car. You expect your car to start when you turn the key. You expect the food in your refrigerator to be cold when you open the door. When appliances break down it is not only disruptive, but can also be costly. A refrigerator’s worth of spoiled food can amount to hundreds of lost dollars.
Home Maintenance: Your Refrigerator
Today’s refrigerators are sometimes like mini-computers, and can even older models can have been expensive. The refrigerator is the lifeblood of a kitchen and should serve you for years and years. Here are a few home maintenance tips on the most used appliance in your kitchen.
If your fridge is equipped with an ice maker, we strongly advise checking the floor regularly for standing water. Icemaker lines are notorious for leaking and a professional repairman can ensure that these lines are connected and secured over and above how the fridge arrives from the manufacturer. Investing in this service can avoid very expensive (and generally not covered by insurance) repairs.
Door and Seals
Little sticky hands are sweet and we write poetry about them, but stickiness on refrigerator door seals can lead to the rubber pulling, stretching and tearing, which ultimately will inhibit your appliance from keeping a good seal and your food cold enough to be safe. We recommend cleaning the handle, front (yes, take down all the pictures!) and the rubber seals with a sponge and baking soda or dish detergent solution. Dry thoroughly.
Shelves and Inner Walls
Don’t wait until spring to clean inside the fridge. Remove everything (starting at the top and moving down if you don’t do it all at once) and clean the grates, shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a sponge soaked in warm water and baking soda. Baking soda is gritty enough to handle hard dirt and eliminates odors.
Wipe down bottles and containers before replacing them, and don’t forget to throw out anything old or expired. Dry everything before replacing into the fridge.
Condenser Coils and Grates
The exterior condenser coils and grates located usually on the lower front of a refrigerator need to be cleaned at least yearly. Dust and dirt build-up prevent proper air circulation, which can lead to overheating and electrical trouble. Use the long nose wand of your vacuum, removing the grate cover if possible. If your refrigerator moves easily, pull it out gently and clean all around the back and behind. Check for puddles of water from leaking ice maker lines.
Check back for the next installment of our Home Maintenance set.
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