How To Check The Seal On Your Fridge And Oven

dollar dollar bills ya'll

There are several reasons you’ll want to make sure that the seals on both your fridge and oven are working properly. Among those are the money you’ll save on your energy bill, the reduction of carbon emissions and the piece of mind from knowing that you live in a healthy, energy efficient home. If you’ve noticed that your fridge isn’t staying as cold, your fruits and veggies are spoiling faster or that food is taking longer to bake, it’s time to check the seals. It only takes about a minute and costs virtually nothing to do. Not even the dollar bill you use for testing! Simply follow these steps to make sure the seals on your fridge and oven are working properly.

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • Laser thermometer -or-
  • A Dollar Bill (larger denominations work as well, though it’s probably not worth the risk 🙂

Instructions: how to check the seal on your fridge or oven

1. Open the door and visually inspect the seal. Be sure to look over the entire seal and take note of any cracks, tears, holes or areas where the seal has come loose. Given the severity of any one of these, the seal may need to be replaced altogether. Otherwise, try massaging the seal back into place to make sure you have a good connection between it and the door.

2. Take your dollar bill and place it part way across the seal and close the door. Make sure you leave enough of the bill showing so you can get a good grip on it for the test.

3. Gently pull on the dollar bill. If the seal is working properly there should be a little resistance preventing the bill from sliding out completely. However, if when you pull on the bill you don’t feel anything, odds are you’ve found a weak spot in the seal. Another thing you should note, if the bill comes out with a lot of gunk on it (sticky stuff), it likely means the seal has some gunk on it and is therefore also not sealing well.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 around the entire seal. Check the entire seal to be sure that there aren’t multiple weak points. If so, it’s probably best to replace the seal all together.

When you think you have found a seal leak, you can always doublecheck it with the laser thermometer. Basically just run your laser thermometer’s reading point slowly around the entire seal. If you see the temperature dip, you’ve likely got a leak.

Cleaning the fridge seal / gasket

If you find a place on the fridge seal (also referred to as the gasket) where air may be leaking because of gunk or other buildup, you can usually remedy the situation fairly easily by just giving the affected area a wipedown with warm soap and water on a rag.

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Be careful of mold. If there is mold present, you can clean it with a warm, wet soapy rag, but you won’t kill the mold. For mold to be effectively sterilized, you need something stronger than soap, and that means non-chlorine bleach (let’s keep it green, eh? No real need for chlorine). Simply dissolve a capful of chlorine-free bleach into 2 cups of water, and dip your sponge/rag into the solution and use some finger grease (like elbow grease, just for smaller applications). You might find an old toothbrush is the best tool for the job, but a rag works well, too.

It’s a good idea to perform the “dollar bill test” roughly once every 6 months. If you’re curious about other ways to save energy around your home, try looking for  and eliminating vampire power.

Also, be sure to check out more of our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photo courtesy of Purposely Frugal.


About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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