How to Maintain Your Freezer

Freezer. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Stay on top of the maintenance tasks outlined here, and your freezer will last a lot longer and run a lot more efficiently.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Vacuum the condenser coils. When dust accumulates on the coils, the condenser has to work a lot harder to maintain the proper temperature. That means bigger electric bills and a shorter life for your overworked freezer. To avoid these problems, give the coils a thorough cleaning every three months (monthly if you have pets). You'll find them on the back or the underside of the unit. Just unplug your freezer, and vacuum them off. It's as easy as that.

  1. Defrost your freezer. If you have a manual-defrost freezer, you need to defrost the freezer any time you have a half-inch or more of ice build-up on the interior walls:

    • How to Defrost a Freezer
  2. Clean the drain hole and pan. If you have a self-defrosting freezer, you don't have to deal with the chore of defrosting your freezer, but you do need to keep the drain hole clear, so the unit can get rid of the water from its daily defrost cycles. To tackle this task, unplug your freezer. Then, locate your freezer's drain hole, and clean out any mineral deposits or gunk that may be clogging it. While you're at it, take a minute to wash out the drain pan.

  3. Check the seal. A tight sealing door helps your freezer to maintain a constant temperature without having to work too hard to do it. Inspect the rubber gasket on the door for any cracks or damage that could prevent it from making a good seal. Then, shut a dollar bill in the door, and see if you can pull it out easily, if you can (or you found damage during your inspection), it's time to replace the gasket. If the gasket is still good, just give it a quick cleaning to remove any dirt or stickiness.

  1. Wipe it down. Protect the finish on your freezer by wiping the exterior down regularly and cleaning up any spills as they happen. It's a small thing that can greatly extend the life of the paint.


  1. Be sure to plug your freezer back in after performing all of your maintenance tasks
  2. Keep your freezer a good distance from the wall, so it doesn't overheat. Consult the owner's manual that came with your freezer, for specific space recommendations.
  1. Try to keep your freezer full. It'll maintain its temperature better, and mean less work for the condenser.
  2. Schedule your freezer maintenance on your calendar, so you don't forget to do it.

What You Need:

  • An all-purpose cleaner
  • A cleaning rag
  • A vacuum