An easy DIY home maintenance task is cleaning the refrigerator, or freezer. Keeping it clean and cared for will not only improve energy efficiency but also prolong the life of the unit. Many refrigerators are replaced early because of difficulty with keeping cool. This is often the result of neglect.
The rubber seal along the perimeter of the door is the gasket. It is very effective at keeping cool air in and warm air out, but debris and dust make it harder for it to maintain a good seal. Use warm soapy water to clean the surface and dry after.
Heat Exchanger Coils
The cooling system relies on heat exchanger coils to expel energy (i.e. heat) from the inside of the refrigerator. Heat transfer is much better when there is little to no dust on the surface. A layer of dust will create extra insulation and inhibit energy transfer. This is probably the biggest reason good refrigerators get replaced early.
Start this step by unplugging the unit. If the coils are on the bottom you may need to remove an access panel. Otherwise, they are most likely mounted on the backside. Be careful if you need to move the unit for access. Preferably a brush designed for the delicate fins on the heat exchanger will be used to clean the surface. Otherwise, a regular duster can be used. Take caution not to bend any of the fins on the coils.
Next, use a duster or vacuum to clean off the blower and the exterior surfaces of the refrigerator. This should help keep the heat exhanger clean longer. Put everything back in place and restore power.