If you’re like most homeowners, you use your fridge much more often than you do your freezer. After all, the freezer is for long-term storage, frequently opened during the summertime for cold treats like popsicles, but otherwise staying closed for most of the day.
But just because you aren’t using your freezer doesn’t mean it isn’t working as hard as your fridge to keep your food at a safe temperature. Below, we’ll walk you through a simple guide to maintaining your freezer. With a little help from you, your freezer will save you money by keeping your frozen food cool and refusing to give out before its lifespan.
Clean the Inside of the Freezer Semiannually
Because the food inside your freezer doesn’t rot, you don’t need to scour the freezer as often as you do your fridge’s vegetable and fruit boxes. However, stale food smells can start to seep into your freezer over time, and accidental spills can freeze and harden along the freezer’s shelves.
At least twice a year, remove all the food from your freezer (you can remove and replace the food one shelf at a time to prevent melting or else store the food in a cooler while you clean). Using a warm rag dipped in a combination of water and dish soap, carefully rinse and dry every shelf in your freezer. Don’t forget to clean the sides of the freezer and the rubber seal that keeps the freezer’s icy air in.
For harder-to-remove stains, scour the shelves or walls more thoroughly with baking soda, which removes bad smells more effectively than dish soap.
Once you’ve finished rinsing a shelf, make sure to dry it off thoroughly with a clean rag. Don’t forget to clean the outside of the freezer, too, removing any unsightly food stains or condensation that could cause rust.
Defrost the Freezer as Needed
Many modern freezers defrost automatically, but older ones might need you to defrost them manually once the ice is too thick by unplugging the unit and leaving the freezer door open until the ice melts.
Before you start defrosting your freezer, cover the floor with thick towels. Make sure the freezer’s plug and the electrical socket are well out of the way of any water that could drip onto the floor. Change the towels periodically when they’re wet, and keep family members out of the kitchen until the area is no longer a slip hazard.
Once the freezer is done defrosting and you’ve plugged it back in, don’t replace your food immediately. Instead, wait for the freezer to cool to the proper temperature before you put your food back. Otherwise, your food could spoil and then refreeze, leaving you vulnerable to food poisoning and freezer messes.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils are the parts of your freezer that ensure the unit stays cool. You can usually find them on the front or back of your freezer, or else on the bottom of the unit. If you can’t easily spot the condenser coils, check your owner’s manual to find out where they are.
Because the condenser coils are on the outside of the unit near its base, dust and danger accumulate on the coils over time. The dust and debris force the coils to work harder to cool your freezer, both upping your electric bills and wearing the coils out much faster.
Cleaning the coils is simple — just unplug your freezer and vacuum over the coils using your vacuum’s soft head attachment. Vacuum the coils every few months to keep them as clean as possible.
Call the Experts for a Repair
In spite of your best efforts, your freezer might hit a rough patch that no amount of cleaning can fix. In this case, you don’t necessarily need to buy a whole new freezer — instead, get in touch with professionals who can visit your home, evaluate the problem, and get your freezer back in working order.
Live in the Columbus, OH area? Get in touch with Capital City Appliance Service. We’ll restore your freezer or any other appliance to working condition in no time.