7 Ways You’re Taking Years Off Your Refrigerator


Let’s talk about the ways you’re killing your fridge!

Refrigerators are a must in any house, and they tend to be among the most expensive home appliances. They can range in price from $600 to thousands of dollars, depending on which brand you choose and which bells and whistles you want.

Since you need a good chunk of money to pay for this appliance, it makes sense to take care of it so it lasts as long as possible. The typical lifespan of a fridge is anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but it could last up to even 20 years if you take great care of it.

Knowing the ways you’re killing your fridge helps you nip bad habits in the bud and make that well-earned money go the extra mile. That’s why we’ve made a list of the ways you may be shortening your refrigerator’s lifespan—read on and take note!

Let’s get started!

ways you're killing your fridge
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1. You’re not cleaning the coils

One of the ways you’re killing your fridge is by not cleaning the coils. According to experts, more than 70% of service calls for your refrigerator can be slashed by taking care of the coils once a year. If you have furry companions, like an adorable but extra-fluffy dog, experts recommend upping that to twice a year.

Coils are a major part of your fridge’s functionality. They are in charge of dissipating the heat generated by the refrigeration process, and they are usually found at the back or bottom of the refrigerator.

Debris on the coils can hinder your fridge from properly dissipating heat, which automatically means your compressor works longer and harder than it was built to.

But that’s not all; not cleaning the coils is one of the worst ways you’re killing your fridge because it makes it use more energy and shortens its lifespan. So make sure you’re cleaning those coils regularly. Here’s a safe product you can use for this type of job.

2. You’re not cleaning the internal mechanics

Next on the list of ways you’re killing your fridge is not cleaning the internal mechanics. This may sound like a complicated thing to do, but it’s not.

According to experts, if the defrost drain is clogged with debris or frozen, it will lead to water dripping off the coils, and the liquid will eventually overflow the drain trough and drip into the bottom of your fridge.

Not only can this put a burden on the refrigeration system, leading to a shorter lifespan, but it also potentially causes your fridge or freezer to leak water all over your kitchen floor. When this happens, it’s a clear sign you should get any appliance looked at.

3. You’re not cleaning the fridge itself

Foodstuffs, sticky spills, debris, and more common food mishaps that linger on the gasket of the fridge’s door for too long can break or tear the seal of your refrigerator door.

That can eventually cause a leak, allowing cold air to escape. Long story short, a lack of a cleaning routine is one of the ways you’re killing your fridge.

This being said, it’s extremely important to clean your refrigerator properly. To keep it in tip-top shape for as long as possible, make sure you wipe down the door edges often. While you’re doing it, do the same with the back of your fridge as well and organize what you have inside the right way to keep goods fresh and avoid food poisoning.

Read on to discover other ways you’re killing your fridge!

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4. Your freezer temperature is too high

If the freezer is freezing but your ice cream seems too soft, check that the temperature setting is correct. According to experts, the recommended setting for a freezer is 0°F (-18°C). Also, the freezer should be placed in a place with a temperature between 55°F (13°C) and 110°F (43°C).

The wrong freezer temperature can irremediably affect the longevity of your ice maker as well as the safety of the food you will be eating. Moreover, a temperature higher than 16°F can also cause the defrost thermostat to stop functioning, which, in turn, overworks the refrigerator system and shortens its lifespan.

This is probably one of the worst ways you’re killing your fridge, so it’s vital to ensure the freezer temperature is set right.

5. It’s too full

We all play from time to time some Tetris with our fridge after we get home with the bags full of groceries, but be careful when stocking up and storing. To whatever extent you decide to do this, it can easily turn into one of the ways you’re killing your fridge.

While this isn’t a big issue with newer models, some older ones have less protected fan blades. If you have an old model, you may even be able to see the fan blades in your fridge or freezer.

Cramming your food into the refrigerator to the point of applying undue pressure to make sure everything goes in can really affect the appliance’s fit and shape among related parts of it, risking a break.

If this is one of the ways you’re killing your fridge without even realizing it, now you know you shouldn’t do that. An overworked refrigerator is an ineffective refrigerator. To avoid overfilling your fridge, do a deep clean every once in a while to eliminate clutter and organize everything you have stored there.

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6. You ignore weird noises or constant running

Next on the list of ways you’re killing your fridge is not paying attention to the weird sounds the appliance makes.

A refrigerator during normal operation can make a variety of noises, from a clicking sound when the defrost timer switches on and off to a knocking, gurgling, or boiling noise when the unit is running or a click when the temperature control unit turns the fridge on and off.

Diagnosing a noise can be difficult. What sounds like buzzing on one day may sound like humming on another. However, if you know the sounds your fridge makes, you can notice when something changes.

If you notice that your refrigerator is always running or is running louder than usual, take immediate action. Some fixes are easy enough that you can try them yourself, or they are pretty inexpensive for an expert, but even if that’s not the case, allowing a refrigerator to work itself harder than it’s intended is a great way to put an early expiration date on it.

But keep in mind that, depending on the age of your fridge, you may want to forgo repairs in favor of a new, more energy- and cost-efficient option. In any case, it’s important to be aware of the ways you’re killing your fridge so you can stop doing that.

7. You’re not changing the water filter often enough

If you have the kind of refrigerator that makes ice—with the dispenser either on the door or within the freezer—the water filter is key to maintaining this part of your refrigerator in great condition.

One of the ways you’re killing your fridge is by not taking care of the water dispenser. An old, broken, or dislodged water filter can lead to all kinds of issues for your fridge. In the best-case scenario, your ice dispenser breaks.

The worst? Your fridge overworks itself to an early death, and you are stuck paying for a new one. Fortunately, experts say that you can likely detect this issue early, as your ice cubes will start to come out smaller, irregularly shaped, or not at all. Bear this in mind next time you’re filling up a glass of water.

If you liked our article on ways you’re killing your fridge, you may also want to read Invest Smart: 9 Durable Home Appliances That Never Need Repairs.