Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Remove Refrigerator Odors

Have you been smelling something less than pleasant from your refrigerator. Depending on the nature of the smell, where it originates from, and if temperatures inside the appliance are still normal, this can be a simple issue to resolve. However, if this odor is electrical in nature or smells like something burning, if it does not originate from inside either the fresh food or frozen compartments, or if the appliance temperatures are warmer than normal, then you should seek help from a qualified, professional local refrigerator repair service company. If the fridge has developed a chemical smell, or just a foul odor originating from inside the appliance, it is likely a food item, or even residue from a food item, is somewhere you cannot see. Since you will be removing all food for inspection purposes, it is a good idea to clean your refrigerator out at this time. There are two schools of thought as to how to proceed, the first being to do one shelf at a time, the second is to empty the contents entirely all at once. We will discuss both briefly here.

If you are going to do one shelf or section at a time, start at the top and work your way downward. It is a good idea to cover the all of the food below with hand or bath towels, to prevent any drippings from landing on food. Remove and inspect the food on the top shelf, remove and clean the shelf  and any drawers using ONLY a mild soap and water solution*. Make sure to clean and dry the side walls and eventually the floor and ceiling. When done cleaning, reattach the shelf, and return the food items. Repeat this process with each section or shelf of food until you find that spoiled food item or residue, but be sure to remove and check the rest of the food, and clean the remaining shelves too, so that any other spoiled food is removed as well. If you decide to remove all the food at once, check all the food as you are removing it, and dispose of whatever spoiled food you find. Again, using a mild soap and water solution, remove and clean all shelves and drawers, clean and dry the side walls, ceiling and floor. Its also a good idea to wipe down the rubber door gasket seals, and the corresponding cabinet face of any possible residue. Once you are done with the fresh food compartment, follow the same pattern with the freezer compartment When cleaning the fresh food door, you might find it easier to clean one rail at a time, don't forget that butter dish. Some door shelves are removable making this job even easier. When the cleaning is done, you might still need to remove odors even though the fridge is clean. There are refrigerator fresh air devices that you can purchase from an appliance repair service company like A Fast Local Refrigerator Repair that can remove odors, and these work much better at removing odors than those boxes of baking soda that we always see inside a customer's fridge.

If you still notice an odor coming from the refrigerator 24-48 hours after doing all of the above, or if you did not find any spoiled food in either compartment or the door, our inexpensive house call will get a technician to your home, and we will inspect your refrigerator, putting our nose to the grindstone until we find the source of the odor. If you live in Chicagoland, check our service area to see if we travel to your city.

*Be sure to avoid using strong scented soaps, such as bleach, since the food can absorb the stronger odors.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cleaning Your Refrigerator Condenser

Did you know your refrigerator is the most used major kitchen appliance in your home? It gets used so much, its used even when you aren't using it. Unlike any other major appliance, it has to be operational and functioning without a hitch 24/7/365. Whether you are home, at work, out to dinner or gone on vacation, you need your refrigerator running consistently, or you could potentially lose several hundred dollars worth of food outside of 24 hours if it stops cooling entirely. One of the marvelous things about refrigerators is that they require very little maintenance, more or less a "plug it in and forget about it" convenience. One thing that needs to be done on an annual basis at least, more often for households with pets that shed hair, is to clean the condenser coil on your refrigerator. The condenser coil is a vital part to the operation of your refrigerator.  Its purpose is to release the heat collected from inside the appliance into the cooler ambient air surrounding the refrigerator. If the condenser gets too dirty with dust and pet hair, a few things can happen that make it harder for the refrigerator to do what it is designed to do. The first thing that can happen, on refrigerators that do not have a static coil attached to the back of the refrigerator (normally painted black, and was more common on older refrigerators, though some new models still utilize this style), cooling air typically flows through the condenser before blowing over the compressor. If the condenser is clogged and little or no air can flow through it, the compressor does not get cooled as much and runs hotter, which can actually affect the interior cabinet temperatures and even shorten the useful life of the compressor. Something else that can happen is the dust and pet hair becomes insulation, which then prevents the condenser from releasing the heat, making the entire refrigerator work harder just to maintain normal cold temperatures. Condenser cleaning is one of the many refrigerator services we offer to all of our customers on a regular basis, however, should you choose to tackle this task yourself, we can help you there as well. Just follow these steps and perform this at least once a year, more often if you have pets that shed.

1. WARNING!! To avoid property damage, personal injury or even death, first and foremost, remove the refrigerator from power, either by unplugging the appliance from the power outlet, or by shutting off the circuit breaker to the refrigerator. In order to unplug the refrigerator, and to aid in condenser cleaning, you will have to CAREFULLY slide the appliance away from the wall, be careful to prevent damage to all types of floors. Be sure to turn off the water supply to the refrigerator and disconnect the water line at the connection behind the refrigerator. If you have a built in style and cannot pull it away from the wall, you will have to shut off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse.
2. Find the condenser coil. It will be located in one of three places: attached to the outside back of the appliance like a large grid of tubing; folded up and located either at the bottom of the appliance; or on higher end built in models it is normally located on top of the refrigerator. These last two are found by removing either a toe grille in front, and/or the machine compartment cover behind the appliance; or if its located on top, removing or lifting the cover.
3. Using a vacuum and an appliance brush, ( roughly 3' long with stiff plastic bristles at one end) CAREFULLY clean the dust away from the condenser, taking care not to damage the tubing, or the cooling fins, necessitating costly repairs. Clean off any dust or debris you may see on the fan blades. DO NOT use a liquid cleaner of any kind on any component in the machine compartment area.
4. Replace the toe grille in front, the machine compartment cover in back, and / or the cover at the top-front of the refrigerator.
5. Reconnect the water lines, turn on the water supply, return the unit to power, and carefully slide refrigerator back into position, taking care not to roll over the water line or the power cord.

We can perform this task for you, either as a standalone service, or while we are there fixing your fridge. When you need Refrigerator Repair in Chicagoland, A Fast Local Refrigerator Repair is your smart choice.