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Simple Tips for Maintaining and Troubleshooting Common Problems With Refrigerators

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Whether it's a home refrigerator or a commercial unit, taking a few minutes to maintain this appliance can ensure that it runs efficiently and will go as long as possible without needing repairs. Making small repairs as soon as you notice them can also keep those repairs from becoming major problems, saving you money and the potential for a breakdown. Note a few simple tips for maintaining and troubleshooting common problems with refrigerators so you can keep yours running like new.

Keep the defrost drain clear

Every refrigeration unit has a way to drain away moisture that is collected from condensation or from the defrost cycle, which is needed so that frost doesn't build up on the inside of the freezer area. It's good to check the bottom of the refrigerator for a defrost drain; remove the drawers and note if the drain area is clean. Wipe it down every month or so, to remove food debris, dust, and other particles. In the freezer, check for a drain tube that is usually in the back of the freezer compartment and clean this with a damp cloth as well.

If there is a buildup around this drain or the tube, use a vacuum hose to remove food particles that may have collected near the surface and that you can't get with a rag, being careful not to pull the drain tube out of place in the freezer. Try flushing the drain or the tube with a small amount of hot water to clear any other debris that may be clogging the inside. Do this before the drain becomes completely clogged and water backs up in this area.

Check the drip pan

As the refrigerator unit drains water from condensation and defrosting, this water will collect in a drip pan under the unit. The water is then evaporated by a defrost heater. It's good to slide out this drip pan every month or so and check to see if it's holding water and how much. A small amount of water may be normal and you can simply empty the pan and give it a good wipe down so it doesn't start to collect dust, hair and other debris.

For larger amounts of standing water, this may signal a problem with the defrost heater; if you don't get this checked, that water can build up and eventually spill over or back up into the defrost tube or drain. Have the heater checked or replaced as necessary so that water is properly evaporated. For more information, contact an expert in refrigeration service maintenance.