Fix and Replace a Refrigerator Door Gasket

How to replace the door gasket

Each door of your refrigerator has a molded rubber gasket to keep the cold in and the heat out. When this gasket gets old and brittle, it leaks. If your refrigerator is running more frequently and you suspect it's losing cold air, conduct these simple tests.

First, inspect the door gasket. Is there condensation or even blackish mold anywhere around it? If so, leaking cold air is probably causing warmer kitchen air to condense. Next, close the refrigerator door on a dollar bill. Pull the bill out slowly. If there is a slight drag on the bill, your door gasket is OK. If the bill slips out easily and moisture and/or mold are present, it's time to invest about $50 to $75 (depending on the appliance brand and door size) and 30 minutes to replace the door gasket.

Find the refrigerator make, model and other identification information in the owner's manual. If you don't have a manual, look on the inside edge of the refrigerator door or inside either compartment, near the door, for the manufacturer's identification plate. Search online or check the yellow pages under “Appliances, Major, Parts” for stores or manufacturer service centers that stock your door gasket. You may also be able to find a parts source by visiting your manufacturer's Web site.

While you're removing the old door gasket, lay the new one in warm water for a few minutes to make it easier to install. Some gaskets (like ours) are held in place by a metal retainer attached around the door perimeter. Lift the inside edge of the old gasket to reveal the screws locking the gasket into the retainer, then loosen them.

Remove the old gasket from the retainer. Starting at one of the top door corners and working out to each side, slip the lip of the new gasket behind the retainer. The gasket fits only the one correct way. Complete the gasket installation and “snug up” but don't fully tighten the retainer screws.

Study the position of the door relative to the other door and the refrigerator cabinet. If either the refrigerator or freezer door is sagging or too high, loosen its hinges and align it. Finally, reduce gasket drag by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly only along the hinge side of the gasket.