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5 Ways to Make Your Fridge Last Longer

  • 5 min read

Written by Domestic & General

Over time, as with any appliance, wear and tear can simply cause a product to require a repair or replacement. A fridge is no different, but there are things that you can do to prevent further stress or damage, improving its life.

How Long Should a Fridge Last?

A general rule is that if you have a fridge that’s more than 10 years old, it is likely to need replacing anyway. That’s not necessarily down to faults, but energy efficiency. There have been significant improvements to the energy efficiency of fridges over recent years, which has helped to keep household energy bills down.

In fact, if you have a fridge that was made before 1992, and the introduction of the Energy Star rating, it’s possible that it’s using twice the amount of energy as a newer model. This makes the refrigerator bad for the environment as well as your bills.

If you’ve decided repair is the way to go, there are some components that can be replaced. If you have a large and built-in fridge, this does mean that repair is usually the better option.

Over time, as with any appliance, wear and tear can simply cause a product to require a repair or replacement. A fridge is no different, but there are things that you can do to prevent further stress or damage, improving its life.

1. What happens if a fridge is too full?

fridge door not closing

Overstocking a fridge has a huge effect on how it operates. By cramming lots of items in, this limits the fridge’s ability to circulate cold air, which in turn drives the fridge to work harder. This constant push on refrigerator’s system can lead to early wear of the fan, compressor and other components. And that’s not all – having an overstocked fridge means it’s using up a lot more energy too, so bad for the finances!

2. Why does my fridge door keep opening?

When the fridge door keeps opening or not closing properly, this also has an effect on the internal temperature, even if the door is open just a little. This makes the fridge struggle to keep the temperature down.

If possible, this should be corrected as soon as possible, and if a fridge door isn’t closing properly, this can be down to a few reasons that can be fairly easily fixed:

  • Make sure the fridge is level – If a fridge tilts forward, this can stop the door from closing properly. A spirit level will help you to make any adjustments and straighten the refrigerator, making sure it’s set on an steady surface.
  • Overloaded door shelves – Fridge doors can take the weight of bottles and cartons, but it’s possible to put too much stress on the door. Lots of glass jars and bottles might be causing the door to misalign or swing open.
  • Check fridge door hinges – Talking of alignment, hinges can be pulled down over time, so may need adjusting. This can often be done simply with a screwdriver.

These are quick fixes that can help, but if fridge door problems continue, this might also be an issue with the door seal.

3. Checking the Fridge Door Seal

fridge door seal not sticking

You can check if the door isn’t closing properly by running your hand around the edge of the door. If you can feel a cold draught, the seal isn’t properly closed. Another way of checking if the door is closing properly is by seeing if you can slide a piece of paper through the gap. If you can, the seal isn’t tight. This isn’t something you need to do too frequently, perhaps once a year is enough.

So if you find there’s a problem with a refrigerator door seal, what can you do about it?

  • Cleaning the door seal – Avoid harsh abrasives. A mix of warm water and baking soda can lift grime, and it’s advisable to do this once a month to stay on top of any build-up of dirt.
  • Can you replace fridge door seals? – Door seals can wear over time, appearing cracked, going hard or warping, especially near the corners. If that’s the case, then a replacement seal will be required. Most manufacturers will sell replacement parts and accessories, so it’s advisable to contact them directly for ordering and fitting instructions.

4. Cleaning the fridge coils

You wouldn’t be blamed for not considering this, and it’s something you shouldn’t need to do all that frequently. However, keeping the coils of your fridge free of dirt and dust help them operate properly and your fridge running efficiently.

The coils can be either at the back of the refrigerator or at the bottom, accessed from a panel. Before starting, unplug the fridge, but always keep the door shut. The process shouldn’t take too long, so food shouldn’t spoil. Carefully pull your fridge from the wall to give you enough clearance to clean. Around a meter should be fine, and get someone to help if there are no castors.

When you’re able to get to the coils, give them a wipe with a stiff-bristled brush - this will loosen a lot of the dirt and debris. Give the coils a wipe with a duster, then you can run a vacuum cleaner around the coils carefully.

5. Why can’t you lay a fridge down?

why can't you lay a refrigerator down

If you’ve been unsure if this is a myth, especially while transporting a fridge, no, it’s not. Keeping a refrigerator upright helps to stop the coolant inside the fridge’s compressor from flowing into the cooling lines. If this coolant fluid does escape, this can be an expensive repair or might even require a replacement.

Try to ensure the fridge is upright for the duration of a move, and only tilting it a little when transporting it on a trolley.

Ongoing problems - Should I repair or replace my fridge?

If, after following these tips, you’ve found there are ongoing problems, the decision to repair or replace an appliance can be difficult. Should you need to know how to troubleshoot a refrigerator, and spot tell-tale signs, read our previous article for more advice.