As we’ve mentioned in the past, the refrigerator is one of your home’s biggest energy hogs.
The seal/gasket on a refrigerator door is what keeps the cool air in. Because your refrigerator can account for up to 10% of your monthly electricity bill, it’s important to inspect this seal regularly and change it whenever the gasket is frayed or torn in any way.
A good rule of thumb is to slip a piece of paper where the door meets the refrigerator and close the door. If you can easily pull the paper out while the door is closed, it’s time to replace your refrigerator’s seal. Here’s how:
1. Purchase a replacement seal. Check for a model and item number that will fit with your current appliance, which you can find in your user’s manual or through a simple web search.
2. Inspect your seal. Make sure your replacement seal has no kinks before fitting it to your refrigerator. If the seal has been shipped, packaging could cause a few folds. If you see a kink or two, pop the seal in the clothes dryer for a few minutes. The heat will loosen any kinks that need to be smoothed out prior to application.
3. Remove the original seal. Held in place by the inner door panel, you’ll need to pull the door’s current seal back just far enough to reveal a series of screws. Remove each screw, taking note of how the original seal is positioned.
4. Install your replacement seal. When fitting the new seal, work your way around the perimeter of the door from top to bottom, fitting the screws loosely. Next, go around again to tighten each screw evenly, being careful not to crack the edge of the plastic panel.
5. Inspect your replacement seal. Using the paper trick we discussed earlier, check to make sure your new seal is a good fit. If not, you may need to run adhesive along the rubber to tighten the seal.
With a proper seal, your refrigerator will keep food cooler, longer — a saving grace when considering a refrigerator’s average life expectancy is 14-17 years.