Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tips for Maintaining Your Refrigerator in Warmer Weather- Part I

Oh, boy - as we've seen recently, it's that time of year when temperatures begin to spike up to the '80s and even '90s once in awhile, before the summer season even really sets in.  This can be especially hard on your refrigerator- it's been used to running in cooler temperatures for awhile, and not having to work so hard to maintain the cold inside the unit. When outside temperatures spike suddenly, and it gets warmer in your home at the same time, the refrigerator begins to run more often and work harder to keep your food cold.

Generally, this does not pose a problem for most refrigerators. Yet, as we mentioned in an earlier blog post, if your refrigerator has a part that is worn down already, a sudden heatwave can cause problems more quickly, just like a sudden drop in outside temperatures in the winter can, too.  The refrigerator's motors & parts, in a sense, have to"work harder," to continue to function normally in these temperature extremes, especially for older parts that may already be in need of repair.

We think it's best to follow a few simple refrigerator maintenance tips all year long, to help your 'fridge  continue to run smoothly. Our chief technician recommends the following:

1) Always follow what our chief tech likes to call the "four finger rule" when allowing enough space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall it backs up to. Check on a regular basis to make sure that your 'fridge has not gotten shoved back up to close to the wall- always allow "four fingers," or about 4-5 inches of space between the wall and the back of the refrigerator.  This is crucial, because as many folks don't realize, usually the condensor fan motor is located in the back of the unit.  This fan is pulling warmer air from across the condensor coils in the front of the unit and blowing / exhausting this air out of the back of the unit.  If the refrigerator is too close to the wall, then there's not enough airflow in the back for the condensor fan motor to work properly, to enable it to properly exhaust that warmer air. Unfortunately this allows the compressor area to become too warm to function well.

2) If the refrigerator door seals are less than perfect, then you are losing cold and energy. Test refrigerator door seals on a regular basis, to make sure they are airtight. Simply shut the door over a piece of paper that's half inside the unit and half outside. If the paper pulls out easily, the seal may need to be replaced.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your 'fridge or freezer, please give our Chief Tech a call, and he will be happy to help you!