HomeKitchen18 Tips To Make Your Fridge Last Longer

18 Tips To Make Your Fridge Last Longer

Modern fridges usually last between 10 and 20 years. And while they will more or less inevitably break down at some point, there are numerous things you can do to extend the life of your refrigerator. 

Here are my 18 tips for making your fridge last longer and ensuring it works as optimally as possible for as long as possible. 

Clean The Condenser Coils Every 6 Months

The condenser coils at the back of the fridge should be cleaned twice a year. Dust will naturally accumulate on them, so to ensure they can keep working as they should, getting rid of said dust should become a part of your bi-yearly cleaning routine. 

Ideally, you want to do this when you are defrosting the freezer, as you will need to unplug the fridge. As it will also already be empty since you’re defrosting and cleaning it, it will also be easier to move away from the wall.

Slide the fridge out and use either a vacuum cleaner or a duster to get rid of all the dirt that has managed to accumulate since your last cleaning spree. Vacuum under and around the fridge as well, then plug it back in. Remember to give it a couple of minutes between unplugging and plugging it back in, to prevent any damage

Clean The Vents Regularly

Your fridge-freezer has a vent that helps cold air circulate. It’s usually located on the back wall of the fridge and at the top of the freezer. If these vents get clogged, the fridge won’t be able to circulate air as well, and it will have to spend more power to keep the set temperature. This can not only shorten the lifespan of the fridge, it can also increase your electricity bill. 

Wipe these vents regularly with a damp cloth to make sure they are not getting clogged. It’s best to do it every time you are giving your fridge its weekly clean, so you don’t forget. 

Change The Water Filter Every 6 Months

If your fridge comes with a water filter, make sure to replace it every six months. Don’t buy a cheap knockoff either, but invest in a filter that both suits your fridge and that will actually filter your water properly.

If you are sure your drinking water is completely safe, you can remove the filter altogether. You may need to insert a plug to keep the water flowing, which should have come with the fridge. 

Clean The Ice Maker Regularly

The ice maker, if you have one, will start to develop a white film over time if you don’t clean it regularly. If bacteria starts to grow on it, it can spread not only to your cold drinks, but to the rest of your fridge too. 

Clean the ice maker regularly with a bit of soapy water. Once a week will be just fine, especially during the hot summer months when the ice maker is in use. You can also use white vinegar for the task. 

You will also need to give the ice maker a thorough clean to remove any mineral deposits. Put this task on your list once every 6 months. You can pair it with the water filter change, so you don’t forget. 

Lubricate And Clean The Door Gasket

The door gasket is the flexible, rubbery strip that insulates the fridge door and prevents cold air getting out, and warm air getting in. Keeping it clean and lubricated will ensure it keeps doing its job. 

Wipe it regularly with a bit of soap and water (when you are giving the fridge a deeper clean, about four times a year). Then use a clean cloth to dry it, and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly if it starts to feel dry. 

Keep It ¾ Full 

When a fridge is mostly empty, it needs to circulate more cold air, which will cut its lifespan down. On the other hand, if you fill up your fridge to the max, the air vents can get blocked, which will again put a strain on the compressor. 

Fridge’s work best when they are around three-quarters full. The cool items you store inside will help keep the temperature low, so the fridge itself won’t need to work as hard. 

Fix A Problem As Soon As It Arises 

If anything goes wrong with the fridge, make sure to address the issue immediately. Even if it’s a seemingly small thing, like a broken seal on the door or a vent that you can’t unblock: get it fixed as soon as you can. 

These little breaks can significantly reduce the lifespan of your fridge, as they can damage the compressor in the long run without you even noticing. They can also be the reason food seems to be spoiling in the fridge more often than before. 

Don’t Put Anything On Top 

While you can put the microwave on top of the fridge, it’s best not to. This is where the fridge dissipates heat, and if you put too many things on top, it can prevent the fridge from cooling properly. 

Aim to leave about an inch of space between the fridge and anything above it (like the kitchen cabinets). This should ensure air is free to circulate and your fridge should last longer. 

Don’t Put It Near The Oven

Heat sources can be bad for your fridge. Putting it next to the oven or the dishwasher, or even in direct sunlight can cause the compressor to work extra hard. This may result in a breakdown that will shorten your refrigerator’s lifespan significantly.

Try to put the fridge in a cool area of the kitchen, ideally next to a counter. Ideally, you also want to plug it directly into the wall, and not into an extension cord, as this will provide the best electricity and reduce the risk of breakdowns. 

Clean The Fridge Regularly

Aim to give your fridge a thorough clean every 3-4 months. This will ensure there is no bacteria spreading in it, that the vents are clean and that there is no ice building up where it shouldn’t be. 

Make sure to clean both the inside and the outside of the fridge, and to check for any issues while you are at it. Check that the doors are sealing properly, that no shelves are cracked and that there is no visible damage anywhere.

Defrost The Freezer Regularly

Defrosting the freezer at least twice a year (or more often if there is significant ice buildup in it) will extend your fridge’s life. If there is too much ice blocking the vents or making your compressor work extra hard, the fridge is likely to die a couple of years sooner. Not to mention that the ice will take up valuable freezer space that could be used for something tasty. 

Use the defrosting to give the fridge a thorough clean as well, and to clean the coils in the back. 

Choose The Right Temperature

You want to keep your fridge at the right temperature too, to ensure all of its parts are working as they should for as long as possible. 

This is somewhere between 1.6-3.3°C (35-38°F), depending on how full it is, what kinds of items you are storing and how hot the room itself is. Adjust the temperature as needed. If you don’t want to keep fiddling with the temperature dial, set it right in the middle. 

Throw Out Spoiled Food Immediately

As soon as you notice an item has started to go off, throw it out. Don’t let it sit in the fridge for days, potentially spreading harmful bacteria everywhere. 

However, note that you don’t have to throw an item out if it has expired yesterday. A lot of foods and drinks are just fine days after their best by date, so always check if an item really is spoiled before you throw it out. If in doubt, get rid of it. 

Foods will only last so long in a fridge without power, so if you know there was a power cut, be extra vigilant before eating anything from the fridge. 

Clean Spills Immediately 

On a similar note, it’s best to clean up any mess in the fridge as soon as you notice it. It could be a ring from a bottle, it could be a bit of spilled milk, or it could be a bit of meat that’s fallen out of a container. The sooner you clean it, the better, as you will be minimising the chances of harmful bacteria starting to grow in your fridge. 

While this will technically not extend the life of your fridge, it will make sure it stays in optimal working order, and that your items remain safe to use. 

Don’t Block The Internal Vents

When placing items in the fridge, make sure nothing is blocking the internal vents, usually located on the back wall. If they get blocked, the compressor will have to work extra hard to keep the temperature down, as not enough cold air will be circulating. 

Make sure no bags or stray veggie leaves are accidentally placed right near the vent, as they are the items that tend to cause blockages. 

Keep Items Away From The Back Wall

On a similar note, you also want to prevent items from touching the back wall. They will freeze and cause ice to build up on the fridge wall, which will mess with the temperature you are trying to achieve (and it can even spoil the items in question). 

Only Place Cool Items In The Fridge

If you place hot food in the fridge, the compressor will, you guessed it, need to work extra hard to cool the fridge down. These sudden changes in temperature will over time damage the fridge and cut its lifespan down. 

Always give cooked meals enough time to cool down before placing them in the fridge. 

Don’t Open It Too Many Times

Finally, the simplest yet surprisingly very effective thing you can do to expand the life of your fridge is to stop opening the door as much. 

When you need to take something out, do so all in one go. The same goes for putting things back. Don’t open the fridge for each item. 

The less often you open the fridge, the better the compressor will be able to hold the right temperature. 

Wrapping Up 

Try to add these hacks to your routine. Some should be fairly easy to implement, while others will take a bit more getting used to. When combined, they should be able to both extend the life of your fridge, and ensure it keeps working as it should, with minimal hiccups. 


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