If there is one appliance common to every American home, that would be the refrigerator. According to Statista, around 98% of households in the US have a fridge. And quite surprisingly, nearly 1 in 4 US homes own a second refrigerator.

Perhaps it’s safe to say that the fridge is officially the most popular home appliance. Our obsession to it is not that astonishing considering its enormous utility; plus, our culture of stockpiling foods.

We have all grown up with the fridge in the kitchen – and everyone knows how to operate it. However, many people still make maintenance mistakes that affect its efficiency and performance. These actions also shorten the serviceable years of the unit. Over time, poor maintenance can lead to major troubles that require repair.

Below are the most common refrigerator maintenance mistakes to avoid.

Leaving the door open

Keeping the refrigerator door shut is important to maintain interior temperature. Leaving it open, either due to failure to close it properly or due to worn-out or faulty rubber lines, can lead to major problems. Specifically, this results in higher internal temperature as evidenced by significant condensation. Since the thermostat detects high temperature, it signals the motor to work harder. Over time, this causes the early deterioration of several parts.

Faulty rubber seals

The rubber seals that line the door sides are crucial in keeping the cool air inside. If there is any gap, cool air can escape through it. A Tampa Appliance Repair specialist emphasizes the importance of checking the fridge door regularly and replacing the rubber seals immediately if there are any signs of damage, cracks, or faults.

Frequent, unnecessary opening and closing of the door

This is a challenge among families with kids. Similar to the first item, repeatedly opening and closing the door alters the internal temperature of the fridge. Every time the door is opened, cold air gets out and hot air is introduced. This keeps the compressor working continuously to maintain the desired temperature. To avoid this problem, installing a locking mechanism might be necessary.

Poor ventilation

The refrigerator keeps its interior cool by releasing heat through its condenser coils (located either at the back or the bottom of the unit). To ensure adequate air exchanges, these coils need proper ventilation. However, in many households, the fridge is situated in an enclosed area that lack sufficient air flow. Without proper air circulation, heat eventually builds up and this can have a damaging impact on the unit’s operation and lifespan. Make sure that the refrigerator has enough space from the walls to allow air to move around.


Air circulation is equally important inside the fridge. It is crucial in distributing cool air throughout the fridge and keeping its contents cool and fresh. Over-stuffing the fridge will prevent proper air circulation. As a result, internal temperatures are uneven. Some parts will be colder than the others. Not only will it affect the efficiency of the refrigerator, it can also cause spoiling of foods. Properly stock up your foods inside the fridge to allow air flow.

Irregular cleaning

Proper cleaning is a very simple yet effective chore. But many simply neglect its importance in the upkeep of the refrigerator. Failure to regularly clean the appliance can lead to numerous avoidable problems. It can cause foul odor due to buildup of filth and residue. Metal parts can develop rust when exposed to water and chemicals for an extended period of time. The drainage system can become clogged and result to leaks. These are just few of the unwanted damages due to poor cleaning schedule.

Setting temperature too low

Many people set the refrigerator to its lowest settings, and then leave it as is. Adjusting the temperature every now and then is often necessary. However, keeping it fixed to its lowest is never recommended as it makes the motor work continuously and wear faster. Make it a habit to lower the thermostat every time the refrigerator does not have too many contents. If you don’t have time to change the settings frequently, try to set the thermostat to medium cool (or its equivalent.) This allows the appliance to take a rest from time to time.

Storing hot foods

A common misconception is that it’s alright to keep hot foods inside the fridge. Although the function of this appliance is indeed to cool its contents, doing so introduces unusually hot air inside. Once the sensor picks up the sudden change in temperature, it gets the compressor to work double time. And, as repeatedly mentioned, keeping the motor working for prolonged period of time shortens its lifetime. So, make sure that all foods are within room temperature before putting them inside the fridge.

Attempting to DIY

Attempting to repair major errors is another mistake that often lead to more serious refrigerator troubles. Although you can do basic cleaning and checking of your fridge, if your unit shows any problems that you cannot fully diagnose, it is always best to ask the help of certified technicians. They have the necessary technical knowledge and equipment to check for errors and fix them.

Finally, if you want to fully maximize the serviceable years of your fridge, make sure to avoid these common maintenance mistakes. This will ensure best performance and help prevent undue and excessive wear and tear.

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