How To Repair A Torn Refrigerator Door Seal (Do This!)
Your fridge is only as good as its ability to keep your food cool, and that means you need to make sure that your machine can keep cold air inside. The key to keeping your fridge’s cold air inside, of course, is the door seal. The door seal is that nice little rubbery layer that “clicks” the door closed. It’s great, until it’s torn. Then, what do you do?
To repair a torn seal, you have two main options. You can either replace the door seal or you can remove the seal, create a patch using wax paper and silicone sealant, and then place the seal back on the door. Either way, it will involve turning off your refrigerator.
A broken refrigerator door seal can easily pose a serious threat to your food safety, not to mention your energy bills. Unless you want to toss out your food, you’ll work on fixing it ASAP. Thankfully, this is a quick fix.
Should You Replace Or Repair Your Door Seal?
Truth be told, there’s no reason why you should repair your door seal if you can find an identical seal for your model. A new seal will be less likely to crack and chip, and also will not have to be repaired as quickly later on. You can usually find fridge parts online, as long as you search by the fridge make and model.
If you cannot find a seal for your model, then repairing the seal makes more sense. This is usually the case with older fridge models, as well as refrigerators that are “third party.” Please note that refrigerator door seals that have cracks in them need to be replaced. The cracks mean that the seal is too dry to function.
How To Fix Your Refrigerator Door Seal
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s actually talk about how you can fix your refrigerator door seal. Both methods will involve the same techniques in many parts, so we’re going to use the same instructions with minor modifications. Here’s how to do it…
- Start by turning your fridge off and opening the door. We hope you don’t have a lot of perishables. If you do, put them in ice boxes so that you can focus on your fridge.
- Lift up the door seal to expose the screws underneath. Use a screwdriver to loosen, but not remove, the screws.
- Peel the door seal off with your fingers. The seal should slip off the frame of the fridge fairly quickly once you loosen the screws.
- Throw out the old seal if you’re replacing it. Otherwise, give the door seal a thorough cleaning and inspection. You can clean the seal using soapy water or an all-purpose cleaning solvent. Make sure it’s free of dust and debris before continuing.
- If you are going to replace the seal, add the new seal over the frame of the door, then tighten the screws. It’s easiest to feed the seal into the door frame from a corner, then push it in along the lines of the fridge. If the new door seal won’t stretch so that it can be installed, soak it in warm water for five minutes.
- If you are repairing the seal, start by treating the tear. Get some silicone sealant and wax paper. Patch up the torn rubber using the sealant, then use the wax paper as a barrier for the magnetic portion. (Think like a bandaid from the inside.) Then, add another strip of wax paper to the other side of the seal. This keeps the sealant in place.
- If you haven’t already, feed the seal into the fridge again, then close the door. For repair cases, adjust the wax paper or sealant if it gets smeared or moved. You can turn the fridge on now. Leave the seal closed, in place, for at least eight hours as the sealant adjusts.
- If you patched your door seal, remove the wax paper on the outside. This will reveal a brand new patch of silicone. Your door is now fixed!
Note: You can also use the silicone sealant to add some fullness to areas that have gaps in your door seal.
How To Prevent Cracking On Your Door Seal
If you want to treat your door seal and just make it more efficient, remove it from the fridge, clean the seal, and line the fridge-facing side with silicone grease. Then, put the door seal back on your fridge. The grease will moisturize the door seal, preventing the door from getting cracked due to over-drying.
How To Fix A Warped Door Seal On A Fridge
Sometimes, a warped door seal is the cause of your busted door. If you can’t find a tear in your seal and have a visible gap in your refrigerator door seal, it could just be that your door seal warped a little bit. This is actually a super quick fix. If you suspect that your seal warped, do the following:
- Turn off the fridge and open the fridge door. Remove any perishables and put them in a cold place (like a cooler) to store.
- Grab a hairdryer or clothes steamer, then start using it to heat the door seal. Aim it at the place where the door seal gets warped, leaving the rest of the door seal alone.
- Use your fingers to pull and straighten your warped seal. Readjust as you see fit. If you need to, test it out by closing the door. Reheat the area if it gets cold before you can fully fix it.
- Once you’ve adequately stretched and pulled your seal into place, let it cool. The seal will actually cool and set into the shape that you pulled it into. Neat, huh?
Why Do Refrigerator Door Seals Fail?
Now that you fixed your door, you probably are wondering what happened that caused the tear in the first place.
Most of the time, the tears and warps that you see in refrigerator doors occur as a result of the door seal drying out. Much like many other rubbery items, door seals can dry out. Since door seals need to be flexible, the dryness starts to cause problems. Your door may end up cracking, causing holes in the seal.
If your door seal warped, it’s because the door is drying unevenly as a result of the heat differences the door can experience. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of the uneven heating of the door making one part expand and another part of your seal shrink. Fixing it is easy, as long as there is still some pliability left in the door.
Do I have to replace the refrigerator door if the seal is broken?
In most cases, a refrigerator door that has a broken, cracked, or warped seal does not warrant a full door replacement. Most refrigerator models are designed to give people a way to remove the refrigerator door seal and replace it without replacing the door.Unless you have a unique “smart refrigerator” design that doesn’t allow for seal replacement, there’s no need to replace your fridge door. Simply replacing the door seal alone will usually suffice.
What glue do professionals use to fix refrigerator door seals?
If you need to glue a door seal into place, then you can use anything that could work with rubber. However, many professionals prefer to use cyanoacrylate super glue in order to patch things up in refrigerators.People who want to get a door seal fixed or patched up should use a silicone sealant to fill in tears. With that said, the best time to use glue is to glue down a door seal that won’t stick to the track. If you can’t find professional-grade glue, you can usually use Gorilla glue with fairly excellent results.
Is black mold in the fridge dangerous?
Any time that your food could be potentially exposed to mold is a time to be concerned. This is especially true if you have black mold, which is linked to severe allergic reactions in people. If you notice black mold in the fridge, you need to address it immediately. This is a safety matter.Black mold can be killed by wiping down the area with white distilled vinegar. If the mold is pervasive, let the vinegar sit for at least five to 10 minutes before wiping it away. You can also use bleach if other forms of mold are visible.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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