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Lab Fridge and Freezer Maintenance

Simple, regular maintenance of your fridge and/or freezer can lengthen its life and increase its efficiency.

Please notify the front desk at Smith x1400 before doing any maintenance if your freezer is alarmed.

What to do

  • Keep your fridges and freezers as full as possible, which helps them maintain a constant temperature
  • Clean/vacuum dust from around them (both above and below) monthly
  • Ensure good airflow around the unit by clearing it of items that might have been stored on top or around it monthly
  • Replace the battery for the alarm system, which typically needs to be done every two years (you can submit a Facilities Work Order Request if you'd like the plant mechanics to do this for you)
  • Clean and/or vacuum the filter at least twice per year (more often if it's in a dusty or dirty environment).* If you'd like to sign up to be on the Facilities Filter Maintenance Program, sign up here
    • The filter, typically located at the bottom of the appliance, can be removed and washed in warm soapy water
    • Be sure it’s totally dry before replacing it
    • Alternatively, the filter can be vacuumed clean
    • *Stirling freezers do not have filters, so there's no need to clean them
  • Check the gasket and seal around the door twice per year
    • Run your hands around the edges of the door to feel for cold air escaping
    • Inspect gasket for rips or tears. Repair as needed, or submit a Facilities Work Order Request for help
    • If frost exists along the door seal, gently knock on the ice until it falls off. Plastic hammers, spatulas, or other non-metal tools can work well to remove ice
  • Defrost and clean the inside of the freezer once per year. This is important because as ice builds up on the evaporator coil it absorbs less heat from the freezer, and is able to push less cold air inside, making the compressor work harder and be less efficient. Contact Bryan Urquhart,, with questions or if you'd like guidance
    • Move all items to an alternate location
    • Power down the unit per manufacturer's recommendation
    • Remove the terminals from the back-up battery
    • Open all doors and allow the unit to fully defrost. Obtain water absorbent pads (from Facilities), lay them in front of the freezer to collect any melting ice
    • Wipe down surfaces with a clean, lint free cloth Repower the unit per manufacturer's recommendation Reconnect back-up battery
    • Once desired temperature has been met, move product back to freezer