Your refrigerator runs continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so although a faulty door seal might be a very small issue, it can significantly add to your electricity bill over the course of a year. The good news is that this is a simple and cheap fault to identify and fix.
In this guide, we’ll describe the tell-tale signs of a faulty refrigerator door seal, explain what you can to pinpoint the problem and look at other potential causes of a refrigerator that’s no longer cool.
What are the common signs of a faulty fridge door seal?
A faulty refrigerator door seal can mistakenly be thought of as a cosmetic issue, but it will have a significant impact on the efficiency and performance of your fridge. Without an airtight seal, cold air will be able to escape and warm air will get in, so your refrigerator will have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. That’s why you should look out for the common symptoms of a faulty door seal and get a repair if you identify a problem.
- Condensation: If warm, ambient air is entering your refrigerator then it’s likely you’ll see condensation inside the fridge itself, which will take the form of water droplets on the back wall or ceiling. This will increase the rate at which fresh food and dairy products spoil and make your condenser work harder, which could lead to a more serious fault in time.
- Your fridge is constantly running: Your refrigerator shouldn’t run constantly. When it is at or below its target temperature, that familiar humm will stop and it should all go quiet. If your fridge runs constantly, then that could be a sign that the door seal needs changing.
- Your fridge is warm: The most obvious symptom of a faulty door seal is if the refrigerator’s interior is warm. You may not notice the rise in temperature immediately, but butter that’s softer than normal and food that spoils more quickly will usually give the game away.
How to test a refrigerator door seal?
If you notice the symptoms associated with a faulty refrigerator door seal, then the next step is to conduct a few simple tests. The symptoms we’ve discussed can also be common signs of other refrigerator issues, so this will help you to pinpoint the problem.
- Conduct a visual inspection
The first step is to look for any obvious signs of a problem. You should look for any cracks or splits in the seal, any signs that the seal is coming loose or any areas where the seal is not completely flush with the fridge door or main unit. Dirt and grime can be enough to prevent an airtight seal from being formed, so remove any mold, crumbs and food debris you find and give the seal a wipe down with warm soapy water.
- The paper test
If you can’t spot any signs of an issue visually, put a piece of paper between the door and the fridge, close the door and then pull the piece of paper. If the paper slips out easily, that’s a clear sign that an airtight seal has not been formed and it’s time for a replacement.
- Get hands-on
Some cracks and splits cannot always be identified with a simple visual inspection, so you need to get your fingers under the folds of the seal to reveal any damage there. Inspect the whole inner edge of the seal closely and extend the seal fully to ensure there’s nothing you miss.
Other common culprits
If you’ve carried out a full inspection and cannot find a fault with the seal, there are a few other common faults that can cause similar problems:
- Too much weight in the door - Storing too many heavy items, such as gallons of milk and juice, inside the refrigerator door may prevent the door from closing properly.
- The fridge isn’t level - A fridge that is on uneven ground and is tilted forwards could prevent an airtight seal from forming. This can be solved by adjusting the feet.
- The hinges are no longer aligned - Years of use and lots of items stored inside the refrigerator door can push the hinges out of alignment. Adjust them and tighten them with a screwdriver if necessary.