Most homeowners rely on their refrigerators to keep their foods fresh for both short and long periods of time. However, refrigerators can break like other appliances and leave you with food that is not up to your high standards. This can happen if frost builds in the freezer compartment and moisture accumulates in the refrigerator. If you notice this happening with your refrigerator, then try to troubleshoot the issue.
Manually Defrost the Refrigerator
Most refrigerators and freezers defrost on their own, but ice and moisture may build in the appliance in excess amounts. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If you have children who tend to leave freezer and refrigerator doors open for extended periods of time while they search for food, then this may be the issue. When this happens, warm air will move into the refrigerator or freezer.
As the air cools, moisture will collect and condense. The result will be more water seen in the refrigerator and more frost in the freezer. Your refrigerator will automatically defrost the appliance. However, if you have a timer based defroster unit that activates the defrost heater every 12 or 24 hours, then your specific usage may mean that frost accumulates extensively within this time period and continues to do so through normal use.
Activating the Timer
You have the option of forcing your refrigerator to defrost before the timer indicates that there is a need. By activating the timer, you can see if a lengthy defrost time is the issue for your appliance. You will first need to locate the defrost timer. This timer is usually located underneath the kick plate or inside the back panel of the refrigerator. Look for a small black box that is connected to two wires. Flip the box over and find a small round knob. Turn the knob clockwise until you hear a click. This will activate the defrost mode, so wait about 30 minutes and check your freezer to see if the frost has melted away.
If the freezer has defrosted and you notice less water in the refrigerator, then consider asking a refrigerator repair specialist for a 6 or 8 hour defrost timer for your model of refrigerator. Ask the specialist to use this timer to replace the old one.
Repair the Gasket
In some cases, your refrigerator may still build with a bit of frost and condensation in between defrost cycles. This often means that the gaskets that line the refrigerator and freezer doors need to be replaced. This is necessary, because small holes and openings along the gaskets can allow warm and moist air to move into the refrigerator. If your home is humid, then this is an even greater concern.
Making a Replacement
If you want to replace the gaskets, then pull back the flange or rubber stopper that sits around the gasket. When you do this, you will see a metal retainer that holds the gasket in place. Hex nuts sit around the retainer to hold the gasket, so use a hex tool to loosen all of the nuts around the perimeter. Gently pull on the gasket to release it. Complete this process for the refrigerator and freezer door gaskets. Ask your refrigerator repair specialist for new gaskets that fit your refrigerator model. Start at a corner and force the edge of the gasket under the metal retainer. Continue around the perimeter and tighten all of the hex nuts when you are finished.
To make sure the new gaskets do not leak or crack, spread a small amount of petroleum jelly along the exterior of each one. Use your finger to add the jelly. Close the refrigerator and freezer doors and open them up when you are done. You should feel slight resistance from the gaskets when you do this. This means there is a tight seal around each door.