There are those people who open the fridge door, stare at the food inside and just stand there thinking about whether or not to pull anything out. Then there are those who have been drilled for years to keep the refrigerator door closed, or else all the cold air will escape! Refrigerators are actually very tough when it comes to regulating their temperatures- that is, if the thermostats are in good working condition! However, there are various everyday habits that we have that can damage our refrigerators and freezers. Here are 5 of the most common ways we damage our refrigerators and freezers:
- If the shelves in your refrigerator or freezer have slats, refrain from putting a cover on top of the shelves. Doing so will inhibt the circulation of cold air. Solid glass shelves are not a problem, as the unit is built to accomodate these type of shelves. However, slotted shelves should be left uncovered or, in case of emergency, make sure to cut some holes in the covering.
- Ever used a sharp object to get rid of the crumbs stuck in the rubber gasket? Rubber gaskets and sharp objects are not on the best of terms and will do more damage than good. Next time, try using a soft-toothbrush, a rag and a vacuum cleaner. These do a better job at removing crumbs and do not damage the gasket. Aditionally, when something sticky spills onto the gasket and dries, the gasket will get stuck to the fridge. Pulling the fridge door open can cause the gasket to rip. Make sure to wipe down anything that spills using a soft cloth to avoid gasket mishaps.
- The million dollar question: Does placing hot pots directly into the refrigerator inflict damage? Well, the answer is both yes and no. Putting hot food straight into the refrigerator won’t harm the refrigerator but putting it into the freezer will create moisture that will build up on the freezer coils, forming ice. The real problem is that placing hot food into the fridge will increase the overall temperature in the refrigerator, which can cause perishable food already inside to spoil. That is why it is a good idea to allow the food to cool a bit before placing it in the refrigerator/freezer.
- When was the last time you tuned-up your refrigerator’s compressor? When dust builds up on the condenser coils, the compressor has to work much harder and may even burn out since it has an extra load to carry. Use a vacuum cleaner and a condenser- coil cleaning brush to get rid of those dust bunnies from the coils.
- The nastiest way you can harm your freezer is by overloading it. Packing your freezer to the fullest capacity is a death sentence to your refrigerator, since it counts on the cold air from the freezer to keep it nice and un-toasty. Experts advise us to leave no less than 1” of breathing space between the freezer’s ceiling and the food. On the other hand, if your freezer tends to be on the emptier side, then there is nothing to keep in the cold. Therefore, you should fill the empty shelves with either bags of ice, frozen vegetables, or bottles of water.