How much food does your refrigerator hold? Samsung’s 31.6 cu. ft. French Door refrigerator can hold the equivalent of 32 bags of groceries (based on one cubic foot of usable space equaling one paper bag of groceries). While most refrigerators don’t hold quite that much, a family will need a refrigerator with a capacity to hold four to six cubic feet of storage for each adult in a household. Regardless of its size, regular maintenance can help keep a refrigerator running at maximum efficiency.
Refrigerator coils can be a magnet for dust. A vacuum or broom will remove dust buildup from refrigerator coils. Depending on the model, the coils will be located behind the fridge, on the top or underneath the fridge. Removing the grill at the bottom front of the fridge will allow access to coils located underneath the unit. (Not all refrigerators have condenser coils in a location that can be cleaned by the consumer).
Seals need to be inspected as well, to make sure there are no leaks. The door seal should be snug around the entire door. This ensures that the refrigerated air remains inside the unit. Cracked or damaged seals also need to be replaced.
Another easy fix is to make sure there is at least 3 inches of air space between the back of the fridge and the wall, an at least one inch of space on both sides to allow for good air circulation. (This does not apply to zero-clearance or front-vented fridges).
What if the ice maker malfunctions? Before calling for repairs, check that the refrigerator is level front-to-back and side-to-side. A tilted unit can affect the operation of the ice maker. A level refrigerator also ensures doors open and shut properly.
Freezers always seem to collect boxes and containers of unknown origin. But if the freezer is empty or mostly empty, it needs to be filled up, even if only with containers of water. An empty freezer requires significantly more energy to cool. Frozen water containers can also come in handy in case of a power outage.
Knowing the proper temperature settings of a refrigerator will also cut down on energy use. A temperature of below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a freezer temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Colder temperatures waste energy. In fact, keeping the temperatures just 9 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the recommended levels can increase fridge energy use by as much as 25%.
For refrigerators that have dials instead of temperature selectors, the recommended temperatures will usually correspond to a medium setting on the dial. Checking a refrigerator’s internal temperature can be done using an inexpensive appliance thermometer, available at department, appliance, culinary and grocery stores. They can be left in place for a quick read on a refrigerator’s temperature.
If a power outage occurs, keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed will help to prevent food spoilage. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it’s unopened. A full freezer will keep an adequate temperature for up to 48 hours if the door remains closed.