One way to make your refrigerator run more efficiently is by keeping the door gaskets, the rubber seals around the doors, well maintained. In the long term, this will prevent the need for repairs and save electricity, which is no small thing given that your refrigerator accounts for up to ten percent of your total electricity bill. If your door gaskets leak, outside air will creep in and bring heat into your food chamber. The refrigerator will have to run more often and any other weaknesses in the machine will become even worse, for example dirty condenser coils.
The easiest and most important way to keep your refrigerator gaskets in good shape is to always check that there is nothing sticky on them. Often food will spill and get on the seals around the door. When the door is opened and shut, these gummy residues will tug on the gaskets, pulling them out of shape and ripping them off of the door eventually. So any time you see anything stuck on the gaskets, just clean it off with regular soap and water. The sooner these messes are cleaned up, the less damage is done.
Because there is moisture inside the refrigerator and warmth outside, the gaskets can attract mold and mildew. This has an odor and makes the gaskets brittle and cracked. So it is important to remove the mold and to prevent it from growing back.
A number of chemicals are available for removing mold and they have their own pros and cons. Bleach is a very strong tool for killing mold, but it can dry out and damage the gasket, so be careful. If you do use bleach, mix it with an equal amount of water and wear gloves. Undiluted hydrogen peroxide is a less drastic option. Another cleaning agent that can be used is a solution of water and baking soda.
To clean the mold off the gasket, first wipe away all of the ordinary dirt that you can with soap and water. Put on latex gloves and spray the cleaning agent of your choice onto the gasket and let it soak for several minutes. But be careful not to leave any of these cleaners on too long because they can create stains themselves. Take a soft cloth and wipe away the chemical. If you feel it is necessary, use a cotton swab to reach tight areas. You can also use a toothbrush. To prevent the mold from growing back, rub vinegar on the door and seal after you are done cleaning.
Even if the gasket is free of mold, it may be misshapen. To make sure that your gasket fits right, shut the door on a piece of paper and try to pull it out. If the paper comes out easily, then the gasket does not fit tightly and warm air is getting into the fridge. To reshape the gasket, try warming it up with a blow dryer and carefully pull it into shape. This does not always work, but it is worth attempting.
If the gasket does become cracked and worn beyond repair, you can always call Dave Smith Appliance Services to replace the gasket. We have expertly trained technicians who can give your refrigerator a perfectly fitting gasket guaranteed. We know what model of gasket goes on your particular appliance and the professional way to install it. With a good seal around your refrigerator door you will prevent a great deal of wear and tear on your appliance and enjoy a smaller electricity bill.