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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.

  • AgnesP

    My refrigerator failed so I bought a new one at Lowes. Due to a loss of income, I got the least expensive one possible. I didn't buy the warranty because it would have cost one third of the price of the new refrigerator. It must have been sitting in a warehouse for months while the seal puffed out and was no good. I have frost in the freezer because of that seal. They were going to order me a new seal last Oct. Still waiting.I would never buy from Lowes again.

  • jay

    Refrigerator Magnets Linked to Decreased Efficiency

    by Jodie Mozdzer | May 2, 2010 8:14 pm
    (0) Comments | Log in to Post a Comment | Send link to a friend | E-mail the Author
    Posted to

    May 2, 2010

    In study released today but by the Institute for Energy Efficiency, placing magnets on the door of a refrigerator can decrease the efficiency of the appliance by up to 10%. The study also showed that the magnets can reduce the lifespan of the appliance, although it is not clear by how much.

    “Like all motors, compressors on refrigerators are run by electromagnets” said John E. Bowers, Director of the Institute, which is part of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Magnets can disrupt the balance of the motor, causing increased friction and lower efficiency. “It may not seem like much, but it can really ad up.”

    In a three year study, common refrigerator magnets were applied to eight of the most popular brands of refrigerators. All but one showed decreased efficiency. One brand, the Kenmore, faired worst with a 10% loss of efficiency. Only one brand, ‘Below Zero’, showed no effects from the magnets.

    A spokesman for the Institiute said the issue will need further study. But for now, the message is clear. When you travel, pass on the refrigerator magnet souvenirs. Send a postcard!

  • K Kepler

    Upon final installattion of that refrigerator gasket , Leave the screws snug. but not fully tightened and closing & opening the door very carefully , do the " paper pull test " & if the test is loose at either top or bottom, the door can be given a slight twist by holding ones' knee at bottom & top given a slight twist & checking until the paper test drags all around & then working very carefully final tifghten the screws under the gasket edge & final check again.

  • lewis

    Our fridge door did not seal properly. Called the appliance repairman to have a new seal installed.He said" whoa there !! the seals last almost indefinitely. Just flex the door in various ways to see if that works". Did that for about 1/2 hour and now it seals great. The fridge (Amana)is about 26 years old and works much better than our other one which is a year-old Kenmore that does not cool the food enough, even on max. cold control.

  • Bob

    Finally, a forum that helps with a problem. My seal is leaking and this blog has given me several good tips. Thank goodness, it is not about John/Elizabeth Edwards, Octomom or Jon and Kate. Or Jesse James' infidelity. There is hope for humanity.

  • jorge

    When I got married 40 yrs ago, I bought ALL GE appliances. I finally replaced the washer and dryer after over 30 yrs of usage, with only ONE service call. That was because a mouse got into the "block/switch" and shorted it out. We got rid of them because they were so outdated, Harvest Gold.......and the wife wanted new, updated ones, but they were still going strong. Just a minor leakage in the washer was it! The same with the dishwasher. HOWEVER the GE Fridge was a disaster from day one, as was the next 2 replacement GE´s ( one only lasted 3 days before the compressor went, the other lasted a month) Now we have all Maytag appliances.

  • IHateGE

    I agree with you! I found out long long ago that GE appliances gave me nothing but greif and I decided never to buy GE appliances again. BUT, I recently bought an LG front loading washer and dryer on pedestals, and immediately they started to have problems. It's been a few months since I bought them, and two different repairmen have been here a total of 4 times. What did I find out about LG? That it really is GE! Now I feel like I was intentionally duped by GE because they sold the pair under the LG label. Because I would never have bought these if I knew GE made them. Never.
    Long story short.........don't beleive labels, check deeper. I spent around $1,800.00 for this pair and now I'm stuck with it until it croaks. The good part is it will probably be sooner than later.
    Here's a good tip..I sold my 14 year old Amana washer dryer before I got these. Amana is made by Maytag, and in the 14 years I owned the pair, they never gave me a minutes trouble, and were still running like tops when I sold them. The irony is, in the store where we purchased the LG pair, right next to them was an Amana front loader W & D! The only reason I picked the LG was because it had more cubic feet inside each. Now I'm kicking myself- I should have bought the Amana pair.

  • micky eggs

    in the 40 years i have been servicing refrigerators i've been taught a new technique that being take all the screws out of the door before putting the new gasket on. silly me! i've been taking the whole door off after removing all the food off the door shelves before laying it on the floor. i loosen the screws enough to be able to remove the old and install the new one. tighten he screws enough to keep the inner door panel and the new gasket in place, then i would re hang the door back on the refrigeratorclose the door and check that you have a good seal all around the door . you stand a good chance of having abig gap where the gasket is not sealing at all which is why i don't tighten the screws all the way. a little twist usually puts it back where it belongs. i would tighten the screws at the 4 corners 1st then tightening the screws a few on each side at a time until all are tight and the door closes correctly.then i can sit back have a beer and whatch the guy who took every screw off according to the posted tip fell on the floor usually breaking the inner door panel another $100+ to buy a new one

  • 28 Comments / 2 Pages

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