A refrigerator gasket often needs to be changed long before the appliance must be replaced. A poorly functioning gasket that does not make a tight seal between the door of your refrigerator allows cold air to leak into the kitchen, driving up your electricity bills. Luckily, replacement refrigerator gaskets can be found and with a few basic hand tools and some patience a gasket can easily be replaced.
Begin this project by doing some research. You must find a refrigerator gasket that exactly matches the model you own. Home improvement stores often carry several types that will fit the most common refrigerators, but if you have an unusual refrigerator, call the manufacturer to find out their gasket recommendations. Ordering online is also a good option when buying a replacement refrigerator gasket.
Replacing the refrigerator gasket is easiest when the door is lying flat on the floor. For this reason, you may want a helper to aid you in removing the door. Sometimes the door will lift out of the hinges, while others will require you to unscrew one side of the hinges of your refrigerator door. Consult your refrigerator manual for the best method to remove the door as well as the easiest way to remove the handle of the refrigerator.
With the refrigerator door and handle removed; lay the door on the floor with the outer side of the door down. Take the new gasket and place it a bathtub or other large tub of warm water. You want the replacement to sit in the water for at least ten minutes to make it as pliant as possible.
To begin to remove the old gasket you want to loosen the screws slightly and carefully pull the rubber piece free. Don’t remove the screws around the gasket completely, the new gasket will slide underneath the clips easily. In many refrigerator models the screws hold together the entire door, so be careful while working with them and only loosen them as much as you need to. Take this opportunity to clean the entire door area, but especially where the new gasket will be with soap and water. An old toothbrush may be helpful in removing grime around screws or in groves.
With the refrigerator door clean and the old gasket removed, take the replacement out of the warm water and begin fitting it around the door. It is easiest to start from the middle of one of the sides and work your way out to the corner. Tighten all of the screws carefully as you work outwards, being sure not to make them too tight or strip the screws.
When the new gasket is in place, reattach it to the appliance body with the aid of a helper. Check and make sure that all of the areas of the gasket are making a tight seal. A flashlight aimed towards the door and turned on with the door closed can help you identify any trouble spots. If you see any gaps, try loosening or tightening the screws to deal with any irregularities in your door.
Completing this project is a good way to get some basic experience with hand tools and some confidence in working with large appliances. Keep in mind, however, that a helper to get the door on and off the appliance body is essential, so plan to do this project when another person is around to offer aid as needed. Of course, gaskets can also be replaced by refrigerator technicians if you so desire.