The refrigerator is one of the biggest electricity users in a typical household. Keeping it in top working order can help you get the most...

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The refrigerator is one of the biggest electricity users in a typical household. Keeping it in top working order can help you get the most from your energy dollars.

Here are some common refrigerator problems and instructions for fixing them, from Chris Hall, president of the appliance-repair Web site Repairclinic.com:

• Frost accumulation of more than a half-inch on freezer walls is typical with older refrigerators that aren’t self-defrosting. Remove food, unplug the unit or turn the thermostat to off, and allow all the frost to melt before turning it back on.

• Poor cooling often results from cooling coils clogged with dust, lint and dirt. Unplug the refrigerator and use a refrigerator condenser brush to clean the coils (look for a wide, black, radiatorlike device, usually under the refrigerator or behind the lower kick panel). If you can’t reach all the coils from the front, you’ll need to clean them from the rear.

• A refrigerator that runs constantly may not have adequate clearance for proper air flow. If your refrigerator has cooling coils on the back, make sure they’re at least an inch from the wall.

• A bad door seal also can cause a fridge to run constantly. Look for gaps where the seal meets the door or cracks in the seal, and replace the seal if necessary.