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Refrigerator Care

Locate away from heat sources like range, radiator, or sunny window.

Never run frost-free refrigerators with freezer compartments in unheated areas with air temperature below 60 F. unless specially designed for such conditions. When the air temperature goes below 60 F. the compressor runs less, keeping temperatures in the refrigerator compartment cold enough for fresh food but not cold enough in the freezer compartment to keep food quality there. At air temperatures below 40 F. the compressor stops running, so the freezer compartment rises to air temperature and food thaws and spoils. Also below 32 F. water melted during the automatic defrost cycle may freeze again and block air passages.

For seasonal homes with heat left on at very low temperatures, or long winter vacations with heat turned down in home, remove all food, unplug, clean thoroughly, dry, and leave door ajar so air can circulate. Be sure no child can get into empty refrigerator in your absence and become trapped! If you can't use up food, give it away or throw it away; food that spoils in a refrigerator can create odors that may require discarding the refrigerator!

For short vacations, leave refrigerator on but use up or discard perishable food, and if you have an ice makers, turn off the mechanism and water line following your manual directions.

If you have a chilled water dispenser, and room temperatures may go below freezing (as in moving, winter trip) shut off water and drain water tank following directions in your appliance manual.

Do not cram refrigerator so full that cold air can't circulate freely to chill food. Cover or wrap all foods stored, especially in frost-free models, to prevent drying out, and transfer of odors.

In models that need defrosting, do not use electric defrosters or other hot objects where they can touch plastic liners or parts; they could melt. Always unplug refrigerator before defrosting. Never use sharp objects which could damage the evaporator coils.

This information is for educational purposes and is reprinted from the MSU Extension. This information is public property upon publication and has been printed with credit to MSU Extension.

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