Collin previously covered the specifics of when you should repair your fridge and when you should just chuck it in favor of a newer, shinier model, but you can still stretch out the lifespan of your existing setup with a few easy tricks, according to the editors of Mother Earth News. Here's the rundown:
1. Clean the Dust Off Your Coils
A new bottom-mount condensor will run with no problems through its five-year warranty period, but it will likely conk out in its sixth or seventh year, says Leroy Richter, the former director of Mother Earth News' Eco-Village and the refrigeration and heating instructor at a local technical school. If you take the time to clean it just once a year, however, you can prevent compressor failure and extend the life of your fridge to 10 to 15-or even 20 years, he says.
2. Check the Effectiveness of the Seal
Take a dollar bill and try to move it around the gasket, or the strip of rubber around the door that makes your refrigerator airtight. If it slides freely, your gasket probably needs to be replaced, says Richter. Swapping in a new seal is a job that may, depending on the model, require professional help.
3. Be Careful of Sharp Objects
On older "non-fros-tfree" appliances, do not use an ice pick, knife, or other sharp object to chip frost from the interior coil. "If you do, you run the risk of puncturing the coil," Richter says. "This can release the freon charge and introduce water into the freon. Expensive professional attention is likely to be required for correcting these problems and for restoring the refrigerator to service."
Difficulty level: Easy