Prolong Your Refrigerator Lifespan with These Proven Tips

As a homeowner, I know firsthand how important it is to get the most out of your major appliances. Refrigerators, for example, typically last between 10-15 years depending on the brand.

However, with some basic maintenance, you can extend the refrigerator lifespan and avoid the signs it may be dying.

Read on for my handy tips and tricks for prolonging the life of your fridge so it keeps running efficiently for years to come.

How to Extend The Life of Your Refrigerator

Regular Deep Cleaning

One of the best things you can do to extend the lifespan of the refrigerator is to give it a deep clean on a regular basis. I try to wipe down the interior shelves and drawers at least once a month using a mix of warm water and baking soda. This helps remove spills, food residue, and sticky messes that can lead to odors. Be sure to wash all the racks, bins, and rubber door seals, as particles can collect in these spots over time. A thorough cleaning keeps your fridge fresh.

Replace Filters

If your refrigerator has a replaceable air filter, be sure to switch it out every six months. Clogged air filters make your fridge work harder and run less efficiently to maintain cooling. Replacing filters as recommended removes odors, keeps the air clean, and extends the life of your appliance. I buy replacement filters on Amazon so I always have them on hand when needed.

Clean Condenser Coils

Refrigerators with coils on the back require occasional coil cleaning. Dust buildup forces the refrigerator to work harder to stay cool. About twice a year, I use a vacuum brush attachment to gently clean the condenser coils. Just be sure to unplug the fridge first! This maintenance prevents the coils from freezing over time.

Check Door Seals

Faulty door seals allow precious cold air to leak out from your refrigerator. Test the seal annually by closing the door on a piece of paper. If the paper slides out easily, the seal may need replacing. Finding the right replacement gasket for your model at a home store can stop the air leaks.

Defrost Freezer

Allowing excessive frost buildup in the freezer forces the refrigerator to work harder. Every three months I make sure to defrost the freezer compartment by turning the temperature dial to defrost, moving food to the fridge side, and emptying the drain tray. Defrosting improves circulation and keeps the freezer running like new.

Adjust the Temperature

An easy way to extend the refrigerator lifespan of your refrigerator is to make sure the temperature is set properly. Most experts recommend setting the fridge temperature between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit. I keep mine set to 38 degrees. For the freezer, keep it at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Having the temperature set too low forces the compressor to work harder.

Keep it Full

Having food and beverages in your refrigerator helps it run more efficiently. The items help retain the cool air when the door is opened. I try to keep my fridge stocked, especially with items like water bottles, condiments, and leftovers which can fill the empty space. A full fridge prolongs the life of the appliance.

Use Organizational Tools

Using bins, shelves, and drawer organizers makes your refrigerator space more efficient. I purchased inexpensive clear organizers to neatly separate fruits, vegetables, yogurts, snacks, and more. Having an organized fridge means food stays fresher longer, preventing waste. It also reduces the need for opening the door to hunt for items.

Clean Up Spills Quickly

It’s inevitable that spills will happen in the fridge, but cleaning them up quickly prevents long-term damage. I keep paper towels handy to wipe up leaks and drips as soon as I notice them. For dried up spills, a mix of baking soda and water often does the trick. Taking care of messes right away maintains the cleanliness.

Replace Bulbs

If the interior light bulb in your refrigerator goes out, be sure to replace it promptly. The light not only helps you see your food better, but it also generates a bit of heat to regulate cooling. I buy replacement bulbs at the hardware store and keep extras on hand for when the time comes. Changing bulbs yourself can save on costly service calls.



What are some tips for extending the lifespan of a refrigerator?

Regular cleaning, replacing air filters, cleaning condenser coils, checking door seals, defrosting the freezer, organizing with bins, cleaning up spills quickly, and replacing burnt-out lightbulbs can all help extend the life of your refrigerator. Maintaining the proper temperature is also key.

How often should I clean the coils on my refrigerator?

You should clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator about every 3-6 months. Dust buildup on the coils makes the fridge work harder. Use a vacuum with a soft brush to gently clean the coils of dust and debris.

What are some common causes of refrigerator breakdowns?

Some common causes of refrigerator breakdowns include faulty door seals, dirty or clogged coils, worn-out compressors, freon leaks, control board failures, evaporator fan motor issues, and defrost system problems. Many issues can be prevented with regular maintenance.

Can using a surge protector help prolong the life of my refrigerator?

Yes, using a surge protector to plug in your refrigerator can help extend its lifespan by protecting the appliance from power surges and fluctuations. Choose a surge protector designed for major appliances for the best protection.

What temperature should I set my refrigerator to for optimal performance?

The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 35-38°F. Freezers should be set to 0°F. Having the temperature set too low forces it to work harder. Check the owner’s manual for specific temperature recommendations.

How often should I defrost my refrigerator to prolong its life?

You should defrost your refrigerator freezer every 6 months. Allowing excess frost buildup makes the fridge work harder. When defrosting, unplug the appliance, move food to the fridge side and empty the drain tray. Defrosting improves circulation.