Your refrigerator is perhaps one of the most useful appliances you own. Without a refrigerator, you would have no way to keep your food cold, therefore leading to a loss of food and money. It is estimated that 36% of side-by-side refrigerators and 28% of refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer break within three to four years when they should last longer than that. Fortunately, avoiding some commonly made mistakes can help you prolong the life of your fridge.

Understand the Difference Between Full and Overfull

One common mistake people often make is shoving their fridge full to the gills with far too much food. It may make sense to you to get the most out of your refrigerator's available space, but over filling your fridge could cause it to malfunction. If you have foods piled on top of one another on every shelf, it could lead to poor air circulation, which puts a strain on the parts of your fridge. You may notice this strain and inefficiency if your foods are not as cold as they should be.

Although it is recommended that you keep your fridge full so that the fridge does not work as hard to keep foods cool, overfilling your fridge is not recommended. You still need to at least leave enough space to ensure that air is able to circulate properly. Make sure there is enough room for your food items without having to stack anything. If you find yourself needing to stack items, make it a point to clean out your fridge in order to make more room.

Know the Importance of Space and Cleanliness for Condensers

Another common mistake entails pushing the fridge too close against the wall. Refrigerators have large, black coils known as condenser coils. The condenser coils are often found either underneath the fridge or on the back of the unit. If your fridge has coils on the backside, you should ensure that it is at least 1 inch away from the wall.

Keep in mind that you should keep the coils as clean as possible. That means pulling the unit away from the wall every so often and wiping down the coils. Make sure you unplug the refrigerator before you clean the coils. If the coils of your fridge are located on the underside of the unit, you can use a vacuum to assist you with cleaning. Simply remove the kick panel from the bottom front of the fridge and use your vacuum's crevice attachment to remove any dust and debris.

A collection of dust and debris on the coils of your refrigerator can strain the unit, therefore causing it to break down before it has had a chance to complete its lifecycle. Failure to properly clean the condenser coils could also mean paying for avoidable repairs or unnecessary replacements. If you are having trouble accessing your coils, have a repair professional assist you to ensure a clean, well-running refrigerator.

On average, refrigerators should last 10-15 years. Fortunately, following these tips can help you ensure that your refrigerator makes it that long. Should your refrigerator stop working or perform poorly, your best bet is to call in a professional that knows how to handle appliance repairs.