Warmer weather makes chilling appliances work harder to keep you and your food cool, but you can give them a hand with a few preventative maintenance tips performed now.

Canton MI-based RepairClinic.com, an online source for do-it-yourself home appliance repairs, parts, accessories and information says there are many maintenance tasks you should perform on appliances that chill, but the work is easy and will help prolong the life of your appliances.


For manual defrost refrigerators, if frost has accumulated to a thickness of at least 1/2 inch, remove all the food, turn off the appliance and allow the frost to melt. Do not use any utensils or tools to scrape off the frost or you could puncture the evaporator and ruin the refrigerator. When defrosting is complete, clean the refrigerator and freezer and reset the thermostat.

For automatic defroster models, if your model has a drip pain beneath the refrigerator, remove the water and keep the pan free of moisture. If their is a frost or ice build up on the back wall of the freezer on self-defrost models the self-defrosting system could have a problem. You can trouble shoot the problem on RepairClinic.com, but you may have to call a service professional.

For all refrigerators keep the cooling fan and condenser coils clean. Using a refrigerator condenser brush can make the job easier.

Check door seals to make sure they seal properly against the frame of the refrigerator and freezer. Replace torn or damaged seals, which can cause the refrigerator not to cool properly, run longer and waste energy. Clean sticky seals and the frame with warm soapy water, RepairClinic.Com advises.

Ice makers

The online appliance help service says replace ice maker and water filers every six months. If you don't have a water filter, and you find your ice or chilled water tastes bad or smells musty consider installing a "taste and odor" water filter on the incoming water supply line.

Many modern refrigerators are designed for retrofitting an ice maker, if you don't already have one.

Air conditioners

RepairClinic.com says you should replace or clean the electrostatic filter on your air conditioner's front grill every month. Clean condenser coils once a year by removing the cover of the air conditioner and blowing compressed air at them or by using a soft bristle brush to wipe the dirt off. Also clean any dirt or lint build-up in the bottom of the air conditioner so the condensing fan slinger will properly pick up condensed water.

During operation, inspect cooling coils for frost or ice build up. If they are icing up, turn the air conditioner off until the temperature outside the room where the air conditioner is placed rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prolong the life of your air conditioner, don't turn an air conditioner off and immediately back on again, but wait at least ten minutes to allow the pressure in the refrigeration system to equalize.

Store portable air conditioners completely covered -- top, bottom and sides -- in a basement or utility room away from access to mice and other small animals that could damage the unit by chewing on wiring and insulation. Cover unused window air conditioners to prevent wasps and birds from building nests.

RepairClinic.com also offers an online Appliance Maintenance Calendar for with periodic appliance care tips for all your appliances.

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