Refrigerators in both homes and RVs play a crucial role in preserving your food, beverages, and medications. However, a damaged or ineffective door seal can lead to temperature fluctuations, wasted energy, spoiled food, and unusable medicine. That’s why it’s important to know how to test refrigerator door seals in both RVs and homes.
The good news is that you don’t need expensive tools or the expertise of a professional to check the condition of your refrigerator door seals. In this post, we’ll tell you how to test the door seals of any refrigerator using nothing but a dollar bill.
- 1) Why Is It Important to Check Refrigerator Door Seals?
- 2) How to Test Refrigerator Door Seals
- 3) Refrigerator and Freezer Seal/Gasket Maintenance
- 4) Where to Buy New Refrigerator Door Seals
- 5) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
Why Is It Important to Check Refrigerator Door Seals?
Refrigerator door seals, also called door gaskets, are used on all fridges and freezers to create an airtight seal when the door is closed. That airtight seal is critical to keep cold air from escaping and to keep warm air from entering the fridge. Your home or RV refrigerator seal also keeps the interior of the fridge at its optimal operating temperature to keep food, beverages, and medications at the correct temperature.
If a refrigerator seal is compromised in any way, either from damage or simply from age, two things will happen. First, the fridge will have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, and this will lead to higher energy consumption.
More importantly, food will spoil faster and certain medications that require refrigeration could become unstable which, for some people, could be downright dangerous.
But how do you test seals on refrigerators?
How to Test Refrigerator Door Seals
The easiest way to test home or RV refrigerator door seals is to use a dollar bill.
This is a quick and easy way to assess the condition of your refrigerator and freezer door seals. All you’ll need is a standard U.S. dollar bill (or any similar currency note).
- Clear anything that is around the fridge door (outside and inside) to make sure the door is completely closed and you have easy access to the seals.
- Open the door and take a good look at the refrigerator door gasket to check for any damage or excessive wear. The door seal/gasket is a rubbery strip that runs around the perimeter of a refrigerator or freezer door.
- Take your dollar bill (or other paper currency) and close the door on it so that half of the bill is inside the fridge and the other half is outside. Make sure the dollar bill crosses the full width of the seal.
- Gently try to pull the dollar bill out of the door. and pay attention to the resistance it offers.
How to Interpret the Dollar Bill Test
If the bill slides out very easily and you feel no resistance, your fridge or freezer door seal is either damaged or worn out and needs to be replaced.
If you feel some resistance but can still pull the dollar bill out without much effort, you should inspect the seal and continue testing all around the seal, looking for weak areas. If you do find weakness anywhere along the seal, replacing the gasket is a good idea (unless you find food or other debris causing the weakness, in which case cleaning it may immediately solve the problem).
If you tug on the dollar bill and it remains firmly in place and can’t be easily removed, then your fridge or freezer door seal is in good condition. But be sure to continue testing at various locations all the way around the seal to make sure there are no weak areas.
Refrigerator and Freezer Seal/Gasket Maintenance
There are a couple of things we can do to keep our refrigerator and freezer seals working effectively to seal the fridge and freezer compartments.
Keep the Seal Clean
Food, dirt, dust, or other debris can accumulate on the door seal and impact its performance. Regularly cleaning the gasket with mild, soapy water and then wiping it dry will help to keep the gasket clean and the seal tight.
Regularly Inspect the Seal for Damage
Most people are in and out of the fridge and freezer a lot. Make a note to give a quick visual inspection of the seals from time to time, looking for any visible cracks, tears, or other signs of damage or wear.
If you notice any damage upon inspection or you find an area where the seal is compromised and is no longer working properly, it’s best to just replace the gasket.
To replace a refrigerator door gasket, you can consult the user manual that came with your fridge or contact the manufacturer for instructions. You can also hire a professional appliance technician to do the job for you. (In rare cases, you may need to replace the door itself.)
Where to Buy New Refrigerator Door Seals
Replacement parts for your RV or home fridge may be available through the manufacturer of your refrigerator. You can also sometimes find the proper seal available at a hardware store or through various online retailers, including Amazon and eBay.
Depending on the age of your RV fridge, it may be difficult to find (and install) a new gasket, which may mean either replacing the door or the entire fridge (depending on the situation).
Many RV owners have refrigerator/freezer units made by Norcold, Dometic, or Furrion. So, let’s take a look at a few examples of door seals for these common RV fridges.
Note that there are different part numbers for different sizes/styles/models of refrigerators, so be sure to identify the correct replacement part before ordering. If you try to use a gasket of the wrong size or thickness, you can end up with a door that won’t close or one that allows warm air in and cold air out.
Norcold RV Refrigerator Door Seals
Norcold parts can sometimes be ordered directly from Norcold depending on the age of the unit. Some parts can also be found on Amazon. The following are examples, but be sure to order the part that corresponds with your particular model.
- Package dimensions: 15.24 cms L x 17.78 cms W x 38.1 cms H
- Package quantity: 1
Dometic RV Refrigerator Door Seals
Dometic RV refrigerator door seals may be available directly from Dometic, but you might need to resort to eBay or a custom refrigerator gasket maker like those from places like BA Refrigeration.
For example, Dyers has this Dometic refrigerator double-door gasket kit available. Again, be sure to confirm that any gasket you buy fits your specific model fridge.
Furrion RV Refrigerator Door Seals
The same is true for Furrion refrigerator door seals. The first place to go for a replacement gasket is directly to Furrion.
If you’re unable to obtain a replacement gasket from the manufacturer, then you’ll need to resort to eBay, refrigeration specialists, or online retailers such as Dyers.
Replacing the refrigerator door seal on your RV fridge, particularly if the fridge is an older unit, can be difficult in a couple of ways. Depending on the age and model of your RV, you may have difficulty finding a replacement part. If you do find a part that fits your fridge perfectly, the job can be time-consuming on some units.
There’s a hard-to-find RV parts page on eBay, which might be helpful in some cases. You may also be able to get away with a cut-to-fit refrigerator gasket. Just be sure it’s a fridge gasket. Some people try to replace fridge seals with weather gaskets/stripping, and those aren’t appropriate for fridge use and won’t work.
The best way to avoid having to take on the job of seal replacement is to keep your fridge seals clean so they don’t stick and eventually tear. Regularly clean and inspect your fridge seal, and use the dollar bill test to make sure it’s working well to keep your fridge’s contents fresh and cold.
For more on RV refrigerators, see our posts on 3-way RV refrigerators, absorption refrigerators, and the best RV refrigerators. If you need to replace your entire RV fridge, we hope you don’t have to resort to the way we had to do it in the following video!
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