Skip to Content

How to Test Refrigerator Door Seals: It Takes Just $1.00

How to Test Refrigerator Door Seals: It Takes Just $1.00

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.

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.

A torn refrigerator door seal

A torn refrigerator door seal can accumulate debris, moisture, and mold and won’t hold up well over time, eventually failing to properly seal your fridge door.

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

A damaged refrigerator door gasket

A damaged refrigerator door gasket won’t seal properly and will allow cold air to escape from the fridge and warm air to enter it.

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.

A man inspecting a refrigerator door seal/gasket

Regularly cleaning and inspecting your refrigerator door seal/gasket for damage is the best way to maintain your freezer and fridge door seals. If food or liquid sticks to the gasket, it can slowly damage it over time as the fridge is opened again and again.

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.

Norcold 623980 Refrigerator Door Gasket for 322/323 Series RV Refrigerators
  • Package dimensions: 15.24 cms L x 17.78 cms W x 38.1 cms H
  • Package quantity: 1
Norcold 623979 Refrigerator Gasket Door Seal
  • This is the door gasket for the N260 model.

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.

You may also be able to find them through an online retailer such as Dyers RV Parts and Accessories. (For more about this prominent RV parts supplier, see our full post on Dyers RV.)

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!

Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways

As 20-year full-timers, we share everything we’ve learned about RVing over the years. Join our online community to receive a wealth of great RVing knowledge delivered daily to your inbox.

Whether you’re a new RVer or a seasoned full-timer, you’ll love the wide range of RVing topics we cover. Don’t miss a single article or any of our famous Giveaways. Subscribe to our newsletter today!

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ed Stanford

Friday 27th of October 2023

Norcold 1210 4 door, you have to replace the whole door at a cost of $500 each. I put 3/16 x 1/2 foam weather strip behind the door seal to push it out a bit. It works great, no raining in the refrigerator. I also use Gorilla tape to repair tearing on the flipper seal.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in affiliate programs from many companies (including the Amazon affiliate program), which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!