Our aging refrigerator occasionally develops ice inside the mechanism that controls the amount of cold air from the freezer that goes through the refrigerator section to maintain the correct temperature in each one. Instead of manual controls used in most refrigerators, the digital temperature settings and electronically controlled dampers are supposed to automatically keep each part of the unit at the correct temperature under varying conditions. Unfortunately, when the dampers get iced up, too much cold air from the freezer causes everything in the refrigerator section to freeze. When this happens, everything needs to be removed and put in an extra refrigerator in the garage. Then the unit needs to be unplugged and completely thawed out.open refrigerator

The only good thing about this freeze up happening is that it forces us to clean out the whole unit, and it is easier to clean a room temperature refrigerator and freezer than when they are cold. This particular refrigerator has glass shelves, which keep most spills from spreading beyond one shelf but require more routine cleaning. When cleaning off the large glass shelf above the bottom crisper drawers, I discovered a large blob about the size of my palm and about 1/8 inch thick of a yellowish semi-solid consistency. Maybe some syrup leaked out of a container at the back of the shelf and then mostly dried out. Even at room temperature and covered with a kitchen spray cleaner, the blue scrubbing sponge I was using the clean the shelf made no dent in the mystery blob. I went over the the kitchen sink to get my Scrigit Scraper and used this handy cleaning tool to quickly scrape off the blob. Once again, my Scrigit Scraper saved me a lot of time and effort.

One of the problems with the refrigerator that probably led to the ice buildup in the damper mechanism is the drying out of the door gaskets. About a month earlier, I had discovered a lot of ice forming in the top left corner of the freezer due to the magnetic gasket at this corner not seating properly with the metal edge surrounding the freezer opening. After researching solutions for this problem, I tried a hair drier to soften and reshape the gasket, but that did not work. I then tried another recommendation to put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the surface of the gasket that touches the metal. The repair hint said not to put the petroleum jelly on the creases along the sides of the gasket. I don’t know why this works, but the gasket started sealing again to the metal when the door is shut. The ice buildup at that corner of the freezer went away.

One final hint to slow down the deterioration of the gaskets is to keep the folds of the gasket at the top of each door free of crumbs and dirt. Clean this gasket with a sponge or paper towel and water weekly. The combination of crumbs and dirt can cause the gasket to disintegrate. Then the only solution is to replace the gasket or the whole refrigerator.