Refrigerator Door Seal – Does It Need Replaced?

Posted on: 30 July 2015


If you are having issues with your refrigerator, the problems could be caused by something as simple and inexpensive to repair as the rubber door seal. What problems could be caused by this? How do you determine if the seal is the problem and how do you fix it if it is? Below, you will find the answers to all three of these questions.

What issues can a failing door seal cause?

There are three main issues caused by a failing door seal. They include:

  1. Fluctuating temperatures – The seal is meant to keep the cool air inside the unit. When it fails, the cool air that the unit is producing leaks out of it and causes the temperature to quickly fall after a cooling cycle has finished.
  2. Excessive running – When the seal fails and the cool air leaks from the unit, it will kick on several more times each day than it should to try to keep the internal temperature to the set level. These extra cooling cycles cause a lot of wear on the unit and will cause it to use more electricity and need replacement sooner than it should.
  3. Mildew and mold issues – The old seal could have mold and mildew growing in the cracks and grooves. This causes a stinky odor that can actually be absorbed by the food stored inside.

How do you determine if the door seals are the problem?

A quick inspection will tell you if the door seal needs to be replaced. Take a good look at the seal all the way around. Pull the creases open gently and look for mold, mildew, old food and cracks. If you find mold, mildew and/or old food, mix a little bit of bleach in a bucket with warm water. Clean the seal well. You may need to use cotton swabs to get deep in the creases to ensure that the mold and mildew is completely removed.

If you notice cracks in the seal, the seal needs to be replaced.

One other test that will help determine if the seal is actually sealing the cool air inside the unit is using a dollar bill. Hold the dollar bill where the door seal contacts the body of the refrigerator. Close the door and give the bill a little tug. Repeat this step in several areas around the door. Does the bill come out easily, or does it stay in place? If the bill comes out easily, the seal is not sealing up the unit and will need to be replaced.

How do you replace the door seal?

Start by ordering a new seal. Use the model and serial number to find the seal that fits your unit. Sometimes, this part will have to be ordered, so it may take a few days to get the new seal.

Now, measure the door seal that is currently on your refrigerator. Check the measurements on the new seal to be sure that the two seals are the same size.

It's now time to remove the old seal. Gently lift the seal to locate the screws that are holding it in place. Give each screw a few turns to the left. You want to loosen the screws, but not remove them. Once you have all of the screws loosened, you can lift and remove the seal easily.

Clean the area where you have just removed the seal. Now, start positioning the new seal in the same manner in which you removed the old one. Once in place, tighten the screws.

If replacing the seal doesn't seem to fix the problems that you have been experiencing, talk with your local appliance repair technician, like Appliance Doctor, to find the problems and fix them.