Your freezer is an expensive appliance in and of itself, and you want to extend its life for as long as possible in order to save money on both repairs and its eventual replacement. Freezers are costly in another way, too. Whether the compressor can’t keep your frozen food frozen, or the freezer warms up because of a major breakdown, you often end up losing food as a result. And a fridge-freezer is not something most of us can afford to live without. Here’s how you can increase the lifespan of your freezer through simple maintenance.
Plan to Clean It Out
Your freezer should be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. You could save energy and a lot of hassle by turning it off and properly defrosting it before you try to clean it.
If you don’t know how to do this, Service Force has a great manual on how to defrost a freezer properly. The article guides you through every step, from preparation to the steps you have to take to prevent spills. They also give you a few tips to make sure that you don’t end up damaging your unit in the process.
Once the unit has been defrosted and emptied, wipe down the walls with a mix of water and dish soap. Rinse with clean water before drying it thoroughly, since you don’t want to have that moisture form a new layer of ice inside the unit. Clean the door seal so that it forms a proper seal when closed. You can do this by wrapping a credit card in cloth, dipping it in the cleaning solution, and running that along the seal. You can eliminate odours by putting an open box of baking soda inside.
Improving the seal will reduce how much energy it needs to run, extending operating life. The general cleaning will remove the food stains that can harbour mould and foster bacterial growth.
Maintain the Proper Temperature
A freezer may be designed to freeze food, but that doesn’t mean it is always cooling things down to zero degrees. You can verify the actual temperature the freezer is running at by putting a thermometer in a cup of vegetable oil and leaving it in the freezer overnight. This gives you a more accurate reading than opening the door and checking with a thermometer after the outside air has mixed with the interior air. If it isn’t cold enough, lower the setting. Then verify the temperature a second time. If it isn’t cold enough, first check to see that the seal is tight.
You may need to move the freezer, too, so it isn’t exposed to sunlight. You could actually improve its efficiency and lower your energy bill by moving the freezer away from your oven or dishwasher. You could move food around inside the freezer to ensure that the cold air is properly circulating, too. However, you want to keep the freezer stocked so that the cold mass conserves the cold. If the unit is still struggling to get cold enough, clean the coils or have it serviced.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils exchange the heat removed from inside the freezer with the outside air. However, dust and grime tend to accumulate on them, especially when the freezer is put in a dirty garage.
This is why you want to clean the condenser coils at least once a year. You can do this with a vacuum cleaner attachment, or you can do it with gentle cleaning wipes. Just make sure there is enough space around the coils for the waste heat to dissipate once you put the freezer back. In fact, if the freezer isn’t getting cold enough, your problem may be that there aren’t at least three inches between the condenser coils and the wall and at least an inch of space on all other sides of the freezer. However, more space is better.
Investing a little time and effort into freezer maintenance will reduce your energy bill and extend the life of the appliance. It will also save you from the horror of finding all your ice creams and frozen steaks have melted at the worst possible time!