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my apartment has an awful fridge--whatever the setting, fresh carrots will turn soft in under 24 hours. greens wilt practically instantly, retarding doughs don't do as well as they should.

what can I do? I think it's a combination of a bad thermostat and a straight up crappy fridge. replacing it isn't a real option.

thoughts anyone?

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I've had several crappy fridges living in crappy apartments over the years. Usually it's a fan/circulation issue that can't readily be fixed by yourself, so you just need to find the warm and cold spots in the fridge and places foods in different areas to keep them fresh.

If the carrots and greens are wilting it means the vegetable drawer area is too warm, or perhaps even has a blast of warm air that occasionally circulates through there. In all likelihood, the top of the fridge is coldest, getting warmer as you go down, and the middle of the fridge is probably closest to the temp on your thermostat. Try keeping meats, cheese and other dairy right at the top, eggs, veggies and leftovers in the middle, and leave the bottom drawers for things that aren't so temperature sensitive, like beverages and condiments, hardy root vegetables, etc.

Edited to add: What kind of fridge is it? Side by side or freezer on top inside, or seperate freezer on top outside? Altering the freezer temp can also help....depending.....

Edited by Sugarella (log)
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I'm guessing you've max'ed out the temperature control?

The coolant in the fridge may need re-charging. Not sure who you'd call to do this.

Check the door seal to see if it needs replacing. The old test is to close the door on a dollar bill and if you can easily pull the dollar bill out, the seal is not working properly and you're losing cold air. Do this all along the seal to check for warping.

You can also try placing large plastic containers of water (like those gallon jugs you can buy in the stores) in your fridge. You will lose precious interior real estate but the jugs of water will act like the opposite of a heat sink...they will help hold the cooler temperature longer. A full fridge stays cooler than an empty fridge.

A friend of mine has an RV with a mini-fridge that isn't the best either. She uses a small battery-powered fan on the inside to help circulate the cold air. Of course, she only uses the fan when they go off on vacation. I imagine you'd run up a big battery bill if you used the fan for a home fridge.

 

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I would second the advice about the door seal.

I had a similar situation in my first NYC apartment 30-plus years ago. My local hardware store had rolls of roughly 1-inch-square foam backed with adhesive, I bought that & stuck it all around the door frame. Made a huge difference.

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- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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You also may want to check the coils on the back of the fridge. Granted this is a disgusting job and you may not want to see what is behind your fridge, but dirty coils and evaporator fins on the back of the fridge impact it's cooling performance.

Here is a blurb from the diy website:

Keeping refrigerator coils clean can help you avoid most service calls. To clean the coils on your fridge, first unplug it. Then locate the coils -- either on the back or at the front bottom of the fridge. If they're at the bottom, snap off the grill covering them and use a coil-cleaning brush (available at any appliance-parts store) to loosen the dirt; then remove it by vacuuming. If the coils are on the back, move the fridge away from the wall and clean them the same way. Do this at least twice a year (more often if you have pets) to help keep your appliance trouble-free.

John Deragon

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My kind of topic.

I just got fed up with my fridge the other day and starting plotting a way to keep things better in that box referred to as the AEOF, arch enemy of food. Its kept good the last few weeks and its making life easier.

I keep my fresh meats on the bottom and try to buy them the same day or a maybe a day ahead of using them. I put a few large plastic container, like a shoe box one with holes in it lined with one of those lunch kit ice things and a hand towel that drains the water or other liquid to the second container. I have to clean it out right after I use the meat but its much easier to move those containers rather than wipe down the whole fridge in case meat dripped and cross contaminated. And I dont have meat just sitting there leaking for more than a day so I think its safer and cleaner. Stole from Rachel Ray and wrapped my vegetables and fruits in a slightly moistened paper towel in a big ziplock bags and also in a plastic shoe container on the other side of the bottom shelf. Mainly herbs, some fruits and random vegetables I think will dry out or need some extra loving. This also helps me not forget about that dang onion I bought last week. Those that dont need to be bagged also stay in the vegetable box. I use my crisper drawers for beer and beverages. The other drawer for my own sauces or mixes or any other spice/seasoning the needs to be refrigerated. The side shelves have baking soda, eggs,medicine, blah blah blah, they seem to be ok there. I keep my cheeses and milk and cream on the topshelf. Packaged meats on the second shelf along with leftovers and cooked foods. I cant keep that thing regulated with the dials so with my ice packs and organization Ive got it under control finally. I think it just takes some serious messing with it to do what you can with what you got where you are.

I figure this suffering is worth it so when I get that house with a fridge I pick out, Ill love that thing to death.

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Here's an excellent site with info on how to repair all sorts of large, expensive appliances. The forums are really helpful, and the guy who runs the site is a sweetheart.

I utilized their collective expertise to help me repair our dryer last summer. I replaced the drum belt and something or other that had to do with the heating element that involved 1) disassembling the entire dryer, and 2) something like $65 for parts. And in addition, I felt quite proud of myself when, upon reassembly, it actually worked.

Anyway, give the site a once-over. There's always a lot of discussion regarding refrigerators.

Good luck!

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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