Regular household refrigerators used to last a lot longer than they do today. Whereas some units from the 60s and 70s were known to keep going after thirty or forty years nowadays we’re lucky if a new machine makes it seven or eight.
Why? It’s too easy to say ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ yet there is some truth to the fact higher end models often last longer, though there’s no guarantee. It all comes down to how we treat the machine as they seem to need a lot of tender loving care in order to stay in good shape, use less energy, and for food to remain fresh.
When we keep that in mind prolonging a refrigerator’s life is a very attainable goal that has the added benefit of preventing more of them from heading to the scrap heap where many parts cannot be recycled easily.
That being the case with summer here and refrigeration at it’s annual high there’s no better time to understand a bit more about refrigerators so they can last well past their prime and we can be more environmentally responsible. Consider some of the following:
You don’t have to be an electrician to realize if a fridge is running 24 hours a day it’s using up a lot of energy constantly trying to keep a set temperature. Every time the door opens that temperature is disrupted and the machine has to use more energy to regain previous levels.
For your fridge be less stressed decide before hand what you may need so the door is only open for a moment. Making a plan for similar items like condiments to always be in the same place is a great system for knowing where things are, reaching in, and grabbing what you need before too much air escapes.
Alternatively, another thing to keep in mind regarding temperature is that it can be disrupted when something very hot is placed inside the fridge. In other words, cool things like soups and other cooked dishes down before placing them inside.
Overstuffing a fridge causes bad circulation which means cool air has a harder time reaching everything inside. That’s not to say it can’t be on the full side but when it’s hard to reach for things and the back wall can’t be seen that’s probably overstuffed.
To prevent this from occurring know that not everything needs to be refrigerated. A good example is a watermelon which can rest on a cool stone or tile floor for several days. Cutting it up before placing it in the fridge is another option for conserving space as the skin itself takes up a lot of room.
Also, freezing food is a good option for making it last longer and clearing up some space.
One major indication of how long a fridge may last is if it has enough space to breathe as just like the inside needs circulation so does the outside. For instance when refrigerators are pushed into a tight spot where the ceiling is low and they are surrounded by walls the heat they generate has no place to go.
Additionally, it’s always good to keep fridges out of direct sunlight for similar reasons.
Aside from regular cleaning the most important thing related to cleanliness, a refrigerator, and its lifespan is periodically vacuuming or wiping down with a rag the condenser coils under the fridge.
This only has to be done once a year but helps keep the refrigerator’s mechanism working optimally.
Otherwise things like picking up crumbs and spills prevents odors and bacteria from spreading but also helps a fridge be inviting for others to use instead of creating the impression that it’s seen better days and should be replaced.