Do you have a fridge that’s overworked? How can you check if it’s working as it should be? Just as you would spring clean your home or send your car or motorbike for servicing regularly, it’s also important to do regular audits for your refrigerator.

The fridge is possibly the only household item that never gets a day off. It’s turned on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In human terms, it’s probably overworked. So take the time to ensure that wear and tear doesn’t erode the efficiency of your fridge.

For a start, check that the door is properly sealed when closed. If the seal isn’t working well, the fridge becomes more expensive to operate as cold air escapes and it has to work harder to keep the right temperatures inside. Energy consumption can increase by up to 20 percent if the seals aren’t working well.

To check if your seals are in optimal condition, try slipping a piece of paper between the seal (or gasket) and the fridge. If you’re able to do so, it means it’s time to get that seal fixed. Also, look out for deformed, wavy, split or cracked seals. Mould growth or moisture on the rubber seal is also a telltale sign that the gasket needs to be changed.

Next, do an ‘internal stock take’ of the contents of your fridge. Overcrowding in your fridge doesn’t just rack up hefty electrical bills, the inefficient cooling of food as a result also provides bacteria, mould and other microbes with a haven to breed in.

Freezers too may not function as efficiently over time. Look out for a build-up of frost and ice. If you notice an unusual build-up of frost, try defrosting your freezer or have someone come by to have it checked.

Also, check the temperature settings for your fridge and freezer. Energy consumption could increase by five percent for every one-degree reduction in temperature. The ideal temperature for refrigeration is between three to four degrees, and -15 to -18 degrees for the freezer.

Look for a refrigerator that meets your needs in terms of size and user-friendliness. One important feature to look out for is its energy rating. A fridge is never turned off, so one that isn’t energy efficient will run up huge electrical bills for your household. Choose a fridge that gives you flexible and versatile storage compartments and uses technology to keep your foods tasting fresh by preventing strong odours from mixing.

Where you place your fridge is also important. Bear in mind that refrigerators need to be well ventilated, and away from any heat source. This means keeping your refrigerator away from sunlight, the stove or gas heaters.

Elizabeth has worked with global household brands with key focus on major home appliances in Vietnam. She can be reached on