Date:16 May 2013
Help! My freezer door doesn’t seal properly, even though it’s only a couple of years old. After the rubber seal came loose we tried glueing it back in place, but it keeps popping out. Can I get a replacement? Is there a way of fixing this without having to pay the local home appliance repair shop’s exorbitant callout fee? I’m desperate because my frozen food is spoiling.
The price you pay for being somewhat handy around the house is being the recipient of the kind of SOS above, in this case sent by a daughter in distress.
At first sight, the likely suspects looked okay. The door was aligned properly, and the gasket – although dangling forlornly instead of seated firmly in place keeping cold air in – was free of any obvious damage.
A visit to the Defy distribution centre to compare the gasket with a fresh original suggested that the fix could be easier than it seemed – and certainly cheaper than the R80 replacement cost or a repair centre’s callout fee. A friendly counter hand said our gasket looked fine (it had been thoroughly scrubbed to remove significant mildew). Most people, he said, would either pay a repairman or buy a replacement when the original was perfectly serviceable. Here’s what he suggested, and what we did:
1. Briefly soak the clean, undamaged gasket in hot water (too hot to keep your hand in it).
2. Place the gasket up against a flat metal surface – the outer side wall of your fridge is perfect – for a while, overnight if possible (see picture). This helps refresh the gasket’s magnetic action; contained inside the rubber are magnets that seal the gasket to the fridge body.
3. Before re-installing the gasket, remove all the glue that was used to try to stick it in place. The model in question is a typical press-fit design and the glue only inhibits its ability to seat properly in its channel. Clean and dry the channel thoroughly.
4. Heat up the gasket briefly – a hairdryer will do – to soften it.
5. Press the gasket into place.
Our helpful counter hand had further wisdom to impart: if your freezer leaks and the seal seems fine, suspect a buckled door. Often, when opening the freezer, people lean on the door for support as they bend down to peer inside. This could warp or buckle the door or its hinges. To fix, simply apply some twisting force at the appropriate end to bend the door back into a vertical position.
Finally, if I did need to obtain a replacement part of any sort, he said, it’s a good idea to make a note of the product code, which is found by sliding out the vegetable rack in the fridge section of your unit to reveal the number, on the fridge side wall.