Extending the life of your Refrigerator

The last thing anyone wants is to come home and find out their refrigerator has stopped working.  Not only have you lost $100 – $300 in fresh & frozen food items, but now you’re either:

  • trying to either find a good appliance repair company that can fit you in their schedule quickly, or
  • having to shop for a new refrigerator that can be delivered quickly, or
  • going to the convenience store for bags of ice to fill your coolers and make do until the servicers & stores open for business the next day.

If you’re like most of us, you’d like to plan your big ticket purchases ahead of time and shop for the best deal on the fridge-brokennew refrigerator that you’d really like.  Nobody wants to be making a desperate decision based on what’s in stock and can be delivered quickly, or by what you currently have in the bank to pay for it.  Extending the life of your refrigerator and preventing situations like this can be as simple as some basic annual cleaning.  No matter how clean your kitchen floors are, you’d be amazed at how much dust a refrigerator draws in from the front grille and accumulates onto the condenser coils underneath.  The condenser coils are what helps get rid of the heat generated by the compressor…and if the refrigerator can’t get rid of the heat because of excess dust, the system works overtime and will ultimately fail.  So if you’d rather plan your next big purchase for when you want to update your kitchen instead of reacting when a bad surprise happens, here’s some simple steps for preserving the life of your refrigerator:

Refrigeratorcleaning2_open refrigeratorcleaning_clip2 Refrigeratorcleaning3_condenserdusty refrigeratorcleaning5_vacuum

  1. Remove the front plastic grille underneath the refrigerator.  This grille is normally attached with 2 plastic clips that will just pop out when the grille is pulled.  You’ll want to open both doors of a side by side model to make it easier to remove and put back in place.
  2. With the grill removed, you can now see the condensor coils and any accumulated dust, dirt or hairs from household pets. Use a vacuum with a long tip or brush and carefully remove all dust that you can reach from the coils and frame. You can also purchase a special long brush that works great on refrigerators and dryer vents…click here for the Whirlpool accessories store.
  3. If you have time and can roll the refrigerator out of it’s space, vacuuming underneath will help keep the environment clean.  If you have it rolled out, then you can unplug it temporarily and clean even more parts in the back of the refrigerator.
  4. Once you have the area & coils cleaned to your satisfaction, simply clip the grille back in place.

refrigeratorcleaning_clip RefrigeratorCleaning1_grill

Although this kind of maintenance isn’t the most fun to do, it’s definitely worth it and only takes a few minutes to complete once you’re set up.  Even done just once a year, it can help your refrigerator last as long as it was designed for…but twice a year is even better.  If you have pets in the house (not including fish), then twice a year should be the minimum.   Major appliances are one of the most hassle-free items in your house and designed for long term use.  Unlike vehicles that require regular maintenance and expensive repairs, appliances just keep working and working for us…but need some TLC everyone once in a while!


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