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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.

  • Alan G.

    In 26 years in the appliance repair business, I've never seen a refrigerator door gasket (seal),that I COULDN'T easily pull a piece of paper out from under. If the paper FALLS out on it's own, maybe the gasket is bad, but in the vast majority of cases, if the part isn't torn or otherwise damaged, the screws around the perimeter of the door, (under the gasket), can be loosened, the door flexed into whatever position it takes to obtain proper closure, and re-tightened. Replacing a door gasket seems easy, but is actually a very time consuming process. Most door gaskets are packaged in a folded shape, and are difficult to make fit as well as the original because of the creases put into the new part. I always prefer to use the original for this reason. In a recent issue of "Consumer Report", a listing of a large number of refrigerators was published, and most used about $75 of electricity per year. An average door gasket replacement costs roughly $175. Some are much higher. I think you'd save a large amount by leaving the original gasket on the refrigerator, and by ignoring anything as vague and non-technical as the "Paper Test".

  • Sharyl

    Thanks Alan, You saved me on this one. After reading your comment we have decided to just get a new frig. We are neither one mechanically inclined . We have had it way to many years anyway. It's great you saved us the aggravation and money we would have wasted trying to do this our self.

  • Pnut

    Well said and Good Advise. Thanks

  • aworkingmommy

    Thank you for your good advice. Too much garbage is posted on AOL, to the point that we can no longer trust any of it, without verifying.

  • Beckw

    Another idea is to take a paper towel and take a swipe of balmex, and smooth it around the seal. Make sure to go all the way around the gasket. It will have a better grip and seal better.

  • Casey

    A refrigerator door seal should last 15-20 years.

  • nighthawk

    I have a refrigerator freezer combination and need to know what the temperatrurew should be in each

  • Harry

    The frig temp.should be about 37
    The freezer temp about 0

  • m320753

    nighthawk , the ideal temperature for your refrigerator zone is between 37 and 42 degrees and the freezer should be 0 to 5 degrees. you can obtain this by adjusting the controls at the back of the refrigerator if you can't get the temps where you want them then check the condenser coils located behind the kick plate underneath the door to see if they're dirty. but thats a whole different fix to do pit properly

  • wini

    I have owned apartment buildings and rental houses for over 35 years. Replacing a refrig seal is a total waste of time and money. If you do want to do it, take off the door, lay the thing flat and install it flat. They never seal as well as the original, they cost too much in labor and if they really are losing air (the paper test is not accurate) then it is time to buy a new fridge.

  • Al Wright

    I had a General Electric Ref. and descovered it wsn't freezing my Ice cream and in then checking the tempeture I found the frezzer just about freezing I had a repair man tell me it was the door seals and told me to call general electric. They admitted they knew of the problem and say they were fixing it but the program ended in March and I was calling in April. They eventually offered me a $400 discount if I bought a new GE ref. but only from their Website. The least expensive one on the site was $1,600.00. I hade a 23 c.f. side by side and I replaced it with a 23 c.f. side by side from another manufacture for $800. I wouldn't my another G E product if my life depended on it!!!

  • Eric

    I agree that GE is crap these days. I will never buy another GE appliance as long as I live.

  • John leonard

    Another item to check is the hinge alinement. The doors must close correctly for the seal to be effective.

  • Nan

    When my folks had an old "fridge" they would roll a sheet of newspaper very tightly and
    slip whatever they needed under the seal. Worked until they could afford a new one. :)

  • Dana

    In case of refrigerator seal leaking, due to "twisting" or "curling", I would suggest a simple fixit. Anyway, it has worked for me. Wash the seal with bleach to remove any discoloration from air leakage . Let it dry and to be certain, wait a couple days. Then, open the door and use a common hair dryer on the seal, holding the dryer close in order to get it hot. On 3 different refrigerators, I found the seal will try to right itself out of the contortion shape and be almost as good as new. .

  • dcrichards

    We replaced ours about 10 years ago and couldn't get it to fit so we called a repair man. He pulled out a hair dryer and heated the seal all around to make it soft and pliable. Then it sealed perfectly. Nice trick to know.

  • Steve

    My refrigerator seal eats entirely too much fish, so I got it a ball to play with. I know, some of you think that was a cold thing to do. It saves me money and the seal tells me if the light stays on when I close the door. I named my seal General Electric. He likes the rank and enjoys thinking he has juice. Laugh dammit, this killed em at marine world.

  • suzzanne

    that was some funny stuff

  • Wish Belkin

    LOL Excellent!

  • Smiley

    Steve: Thanks for the laugh. You are very funny.

  • 28 Comments / 2 Pages

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