REFRIGERATOR/FREEZER

Clean the compressor coils every few months or so. (The coils typically are at the bottom of the appliance, though on some older models they are behind the box and on some built-ins they are behind a grille at the top of the unit.)

Keep gaskets on the refrigerator and freezer doors clean with mild detergent and water, not bleach. This will ensure a good seal and prevent wasted energy.

Check the gasket seal by closing the doors on a dollar bill; replace the gasket if the bill falls out or can be easily removed without opening the door.

Be sure the refrigerator is level; if not, the door might not close properly. Most refrigerators have adjustable feet or casters.

Before you open the door to retrieve items, decide what you want. Every time you open the door, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape.

To maximize the storage life of your food and use the least energy, keep the refrigerator temperature at 36º to 38º F and the freezer at no colder than 0º to 5º F.

Try to keep the refrigerator compartments full to limit temperature fluctuations.

If you have a choice of location when remodeling your kitchen, keep the refrigerator away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

To keep a stainless-steel finish on your refrigerator looking its best, follow these steps. (You can also follow this advice for other stainless-steel appliances.)

Dish detergent, water, and a sponge are all it takes to remove most stains. For tougher stains and grime, clean the area with some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth.

Once you’re done cleaning, buff the surface dry with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water-spotting.

Finish off by wiping uncoated stainless with a cleaner made for stainless steel. These leave a slightly oily coating to make fingerprints less noticeable but should not be used on clear-coated or faux-stainless finishes.