Most people don’t understand how much energy a running refrigerator uses on an annual basis. According to the Kenmore website, depending on how old your refrigerator is it can cost between $50 and $150 per year to run this appliance. Usually the rule of thumb is that if you have a fridge that dates to the mid 80’s you are paying around the $150 mark. Obviously the newer it is the less it costs especially if it’s an energy star. Now $150 may not seem like much but if you look at doing some simple maintenance you would be amazed at the energy you would save. Here are some real easy ideas to keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
First you need to check the door gasket all the way around for brittleness or cracks. If the gasket looks worn and feels like it could crack at any moment you should replace it. If it looks ok, just do a quick visual on it with the door shut for any obvious gaps. The next test will show how good the seal is. Open the door and shut it on a piece of paper and move it around, if the paper feels like it’s moving around without any tension you need to replace it or make some adjustment to the door. Another thing is that it might be the front legs of the refrigerator are not tall enough. For the door to tighten and close on its own, it needs to be tilted back slightly, try raising the front legs and see if that helps. If none of this helps you may need to check the door for any sagging or warping.
A sagging door can cause the seal to fail as well. There are adjustments on the hinges of the refrigerator and you can loosen or tighten them to adjust the hinges for a better fit. Usually just a good tightening can solve this problem. If the door appears warped you may need to loosen the hinges all the way and manually adjust the door to a good fit. While the door is in position have someone hold it there while you tighten the hinges. Like I said earlier, a good tightening of the hinge bolts will take care of this problem 90% of the time.
Ok, you’ve done all this and it comes back the fact that you have a bad gasket, you need to replace it and don’t worry it’s not hard. Turn off the appliance and get it into a spot where you can fully open the doors and have easy access. You can buy a replacement gasket anywhere that sells refrigerators or any home improvement store. A helpful tip for easier instillation of the new gasket; soak it in warm water for a couple minutes while you take the existing gasket off. First you just pull back the gasket to expose what is called the retaining strip; it’s just a metal strip with screws in it.
Loosen the screws and pull the strip off toward you as if you were standing in the refrigerator. Some models have the gasket attached to the screws like buttons while newer models will just have it attached over the retaining strip. To put on the new one simply work in reverse. On newer models start at the top and work your way across the top then down. It makes it much easier if you tighten the screws behind your work, if you don’t the gasket could start to slip. If you have an older model simply put the gasket on the screws in a button type fashion and tighten them down.
You should be done, it’s not hard work but it can be tedious to replace a gasket. If you maintain your refrigerator it will last much longer and your energy bills will drop. Now, it’s not a ton of money but if you can hold off on buying a new fridge for a couple of years than doing small things like this really helps. It’s an easy fix and really doesn’t take too much time. Hope this helps…