Time for Dad to check the gaskets and clean the coils?

From   |  June 20, 2009
In Frugal Food & Facts

Does your dairy keep dying before the expiration date on the package? If so, read this. Likewise, read on to avoid replacing the refrigerator for as long as possible.

Do the stuff on this list once a year, and you’ll double the chances your refrigerator will make it to the ripe age of 14 (the back side of the average 8 to 14-year span):

  • Replace the refrigerator door gasket if there are any tears. If the gasket is dirty or sticky, give it a wash.
  • Vacuum or wipe down the condenser coils. If there’s an air filter, clean that, too.
  • Defrost if there is any frost accumulation (unlikely as most now are frost-free).
  • Test the temperature inside with either a refrigerator or outdoor thermometer. Ideal for the fridge compartment is 37 degrees F and 0 degrees F is best for the freezer. If your temperatures don’t measure up, double-check the thermostat setting and warn everyone not to leave the door standing open.
  • Once everything is shipshape, if your dairy is still suffering, it’s time to call a repair service to check for damaged fans, a defective defrost timer or refrigerant that might have leaked out.

Normally we’d recommend having someone with big muscles and a ready supply of testosterone do this on the first day of summer (easy to remember like checking smoke detector batteries for Daylight Savings Time). But it falls on Father’s Day this year, and if the best person for the job is a dad, it hardly seems fair to make him pull the refrigerator out from the wall. But you never know. The mere suggestion might make him feel like the A+ Dad indeed.


From Anders Gyllenhaal - June 22, 2009

It's hard to escape the feeling that this item is aimed pretty much directly at this particular Dad, who happens to be married to the author. It may be true that keeping up with household chores has never been a strength of mine, but I do struggle to do my best. However, I want to lodge a (mild) complaint to discover that this small nudge on Father's Day, which I think is supposed to start with breakfast in bed, move through a chore-free afternoon and end without doing the normal dishes or even taking out the trash. I noticed a comment from columnist Dave Barry today that said, "What Dad really wants is a nap.'' Somehow, that doesn't seem to fit with refrigerator maintenance, if I'm not mistaken. Anybody see it differently?

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