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How to Change the Gasket on Your Refrigerator Door

If your refrigerator food compartment is too warm, one easy solution might be to replace the rubber gasket that runs around the door. It may be so worn or stretched out that it doesn’t seal. Gaskets are fastened to the door with screws or metal or plastic retainers. You need a screwdriver and a replacement gasket from an appliance supply store.

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The new gasket will be folded when you get it. You can straighten the band by leaving it in the sun — on top of a car hood — or sticking it in a pan of boiling water. Obviously the first way will take some time; the other means you can install it right away. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open the door and pull up the rubber at the top of the door.

    You’ll probably have to work a little to get the old gasket out. Don’t be discouraged. You’ll get the hang of it.

  2. Loosen, but don’t take out, the screws at the top that hold the gasket in place.

    You want to get them loose enough that they release the gasket but don’t fall out.

  3. Go to the side of the door and loosen the screws there.

    Don’t go any lower than half way.

  4. Repeat Step 3 on the other side.

  5. Go back to the top of the door to find the strip that holds the gasket in place. It’s plastic or metal.

  6. Pull up on the gasket first, and then out toward you.

  7. Letting the old gasket hang, drape the new gasket on the door, matching its holes to the screws on the door.

    If you put Crisco or some similar greasy substance on the belt, it will go in much easier.

    The long ends of the new gasket will be dangling at the sides. You’ll fasten them soon. Just make sure what’s dangling is long enough to fit all the way around the door. If there are any gaps when you’ve finished, you’ll have do this all over again. If it’s not done right, warm air will get into the refrigerator and cold air will seep out.

  8. Going back to the top, shove the new gasket under the retainer.

  9. Do the same thing on the side that opens.

  10. Fasten the side screws if there are any or else put the gasket under the retaining strips.

  11. Work your way down, first one side and then the other, removing theold gasket and sliding in the new.

    Keep checking that the dangling ends of the new gasket will meet at the bottom. While you’re working, don’t fasten the screws tightly because you may have to repeat all the steps if you find there’s a gap.

  12. When the side gaskets are loosely screwed in, work on getting the gasket around the corner after the old one is out.

  13. Working in the center bottom of the door, finish installing the gasket.

  14. Inspect the gasket to make sure it fits tightly everywhere when the door’s open and when it’s closed.

    Check to see if it twisted around the corners. If you find a gap or a twist, go back to it and reinstall the gasket.

  15. Tighten the screws.

To clean the gasket when it gets moldy, use one part bleach to four parts water and scrub the gasket with an old toothbrush. You can keep the rubber supple if you rub it with lemon oil, mineral oil, or body lotion. Be sure, also, to wipe up drips and spills.

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