How to Replace the Gasket Seal on a Refrigerator/Freezer Door

Updated on March 5, 2019
Cre8tor profile image

Dan has been in the HVAC industry for 23 years with experience ranging from installation and service to sales and distribution.

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

I won't deliver a punchline here. I know it looks good with all the cute pictures and school work but if your refrigerator is running a lot, a leaky gasket could be to blame.
I won't deliver a punchline here. I know it looks good with all the cute pictures and school work but if your refrigerator is running a lot, a leaky gasket could be to blame.

Replacing the gasket on your refrigerator and freezer doors is simple, cheap and doesn't take much time at all. This is one of those tasks that many of us don't think about doing and often assume it requires an expert to do the job. Little did you know, you are the perfect candidate to do the job regardless of skill set, background or gender.

The here's how to check if you need a new gasket, how to obtain a new gasket, how to install a new gasket and what the benefits of this easy repair are.


Leak Check

Test the door in multiple spots to be sure.
Test the door in multiple spots to be sure.

How to Check if Your Refrigerator Gasket Needs Replacing

Of course, the first thing we need to determine is if this repair is necessary. No special tools or meters are required to make this simple assessment; just a simple piece of paper or dollar bill. Simply open the freezer door and shut the piece of paper inside the door seal. Does it slide out easily or tear in half? If the paper slides out rather easily, you likely need to make this repair. The paper should be difficult to pull out if there is a nice tight seal on the door.

Moisture on the seal and evidence of black mold are other tell-tale signs that it is time to replace the gasket as well. With a significant difference in temperatures inside and out of the unit, a leak will create condensation on the seal. The condensation then enjoys becoming a sort of playground for mold to grow thus the little black speckles that form in and around our leaky seal. YUCK!

How to Buy a New Refrigerator Gasket

Unfortunately, we've found that our refrigerator is in need of some T.L.C. but hey, better to know now than when we lose a "fridge" full of groceries.

Before we start our replacement, we need a new gasket to replace the old one with. This shouldn't be too difficult unless you have an antique and even then, you may be surprised as to what you can find online. Your new gasket will likely cost you between $40 and $80.

You'll need to find the identifying information for your refrigerator. The make, model and other appliance information should be easy to locate in your owner's manual or on the unit's rating plate if you don't have the original owner's manual. This rating plate will likely be located in the jamb of your refrigerator door or somewhere on the interior wall of one of the refrigerator's cabinets.

Once you've obtained this information (make and model being the most important) you should be able to order a new gasket from the original maker (OEM) or obtain a universal type gasket from a local hardware or appliance store. The dimensions of your refrigerator may be a good bit of information to have if ordering something other than an exact replacement from the manufacturer.

Buying Your New Gasket Online

If you go to the website for the manufacturer of your refrigerator, you should be able to find the part number for the correct replacement seal by entering in the model of your refrigerator or freezer.

Then, once you have that part number for the seal, you can either order it directly through the manufacturer's website or by going to Amazon and typing in that part number. Chances are that Amazon carries it.

  • Universal Gaskets: Another option is to use a universal type gasket. When possible, try to obtain the original gasket from the manufacturer as they tend to seal better. But if that's not an option, the company 3M makes this universal gasket for refrigerators and freezers. It's basically trim to fit. It works really well for older model refrigerators and freezers (a lot of older models used this same universal seal anyway), but can be hit or miss for newer models.

What You Need to Replace Your Refrigerator Gasket

  1. New Gasket - Hopefully this is an original replacement part from the maker of your unit. Otherwise, it'll likely have to be a universal refrigerator/freezer seal.
  2. Hex Head Wrench - This will likely be a 1/4" size hex head but you may need a screwdriver or "Allen" wrench depending on your refrigerator.
  3. Rag - This is a good time to clean under the gasket where it has likely never been cleaned.
  4. Vaseline - Or other petroleum jelly type product (optional).

Step-by-Step Refrigerator Gasket Replacement

Now that you have your new gasket, let's get started with our replacement. I suggest you open up your new gasket and lay it on the floor in a warm area so that it "relaxes". This will just make for easier installation as it's likely somewhat misshapen from being in packaging. If need be, you can even use a blow dryer to help relax the material. I don't think this will be necessary but it is possible. Don't get it too hot, just warm enough to help it relax.

Step 1: Loosen Gasket Screws

The screws that hold the gasket in place are visible after lifting up on the gasket.
The screws that hold the gasket in place are visible after lifting up on the gasket.

Lift the front edge of the gasket at one corner to expose the screws that you'll need to loosen. The key word here is loosen. We are not going to remove the screws entirely.

Loosen the screws working from one corner across and down. As you loosen the screws, you will be able to start pulling the gasket off of the door. Work your way around in this fashion until the gasket is completely off.

Step 2: Loosely Install New Gasket

Install the new gasket loosely for now, so that we can make minor adjustments later.
Install the new gasket loosely for now, so that we can make minor adjustments later.

Begin to install the gasket in reverse of how the old one was removed. As you install the new gasket, just slightly tighten down the screws as you go.

Step 3: Test and Adjust as Needed

If there is a very minor gap on the door side of the gasket, this is more acceptable than where the gasket seals up against the cabinet itself. That seal must be flush all around the door.
If there is a very minor gap on the door side of the gasket, this is more acceptable than where the gasket seals up against the cabinet itself. That seal must be flush all around the door.

Now that the new gasket is essentially in place, shut the door and inspect the gasket on all sides to ensure that it is properly seated. We don't want any wrinkles in our new gasket. You can make minor adjustments by pulling the gasket gently one way or the other as needed.

Step 4: Tighten All Screws

Now that the refrigerator (or freezer's) gasket it positioned correctly, finish securing it by tightening all the screws.
Now that the refrigerator (or freezer's) gasket it positioned correctly, finish securing it by tightening all the screws.

Finally, now that your gasket is seated properly and you are happy with your inspection, tighten down the screws one last time to complete the replacement. Be careful not to move the gasket while you are doing this, you don't want to knock it out of adjustment.

Also, do not over tighten the screws. You should just snug them down firmly as opposed to breaking out the drill to really wrench them down.

Step 5 (Optional): Apply Light Coating of Petroleum Jelly

A slight smear of Vaseline on your refrigerator gasket at the jamb might make it a bit easier to open the doors.
A slight smear of Vaseline on your refrigerator gasket at the jamb might make it a bit easier to open the doors.

You may need to smear a light coating of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) along the gasket at the jamb to ease the opening of the door if your seal is amazingly tight. You should notice a little more effort is required but you shouldn't have to brace yourself for leverage to open it either.

That's it. We're done and likely within a half an hour of the time we started. That wasn't so bad, was it? Now we can just reap the benefits of our improved refrigerator.

What are the benefits of a new gasket? I thought you'd never ask.

Which Do You Prefer?

Of the below choices, which would you prefer?

See results

A Good Time to Clean

This is also a great time to clean out and wipe down your refrigerator. It might just help to eliminate smells in your refrigerator that you didn't even realize you had. Once you have your refrigerator clean, you'll be amazed how fresh it smells. Plus you reduce the chances of food kept inside absorbing some of those unpleasant smells (yes, food does that).

The Benefits of Installing a New Refrigerator/Freezer Gasket

I know that the cost of the gasket is not outrageous but can still be hard to swallow. Perhaps this will make you feel better.

A refrigerator runs in order to maintain the interior temperature of the cabinets. This is also when the refrigerator costs you money, when it's running. With that in mind, a leak makes it difficult to for the appliance to maintain it's temperature and therefore it runs more often. Are you feeling better yet? It won't be too terribly long before that new gasket pays for itself.

That's not the only benefit though. Rising and falling temperatures inside the refrigerator are not good for your food. Now that your's is properly sealed, you should expect your food to stay fresher longer due to having a consistent temperature to "chill" in.

Last but not least, how about the fact that you just cleaned an area of your fridge that has likely never been touched? If your gasket was bad, it's likely that this area was quite dirty and even moldy as well. I don't know about you but I prefer my food to be as far from mold as possible.

All this and there were no service charges, no special tools to buy and no sweat. You should feel good about having done this yourself and perhaps saved the cost of buying a new refrigerator when the one you had just needed a little love.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • Shouldnt step 1 be turn off your fridge so you are not cooling your kitchen while you replace the gasket?

    The project doesn’t take too long so it’s not really necessary. Also then your unit will just run twice as long to reach the desired temp when you are done so energy-wise it won’t make much of a difference. Your food will just get warmer while you do the work which again doesn’t take all that long.

  • We have a refrigerator in the garage, and in the winter months, we cannot keep anything in the freezer because it will not keep things frozen. Could it be that we need a new seal?

    It could be. Perhaps the cold temperatures in the garage are causing it to contract, thus leak, and in the summer it maybe expands, so it is ok.

  • Marvel sxs freezer building icebergs adjacent to freezer door gasket. paper test slides very easily. This is a new sxs which has had several doors changed out & this the worst so far. Is this repairable?

    Sounds like a design flaw then and I would be asking the manufacturer to resolve the issue or replace the unit if this is new. You shouldn't have that on a new unit.

© 2012 Dan Reed

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Reed 

      2 years ago

      Your welcome Rosalie and yes you can!

    • profile image

      Rosalie McKenzie 

      2 years ago

      Thank you, Dan! Ordered my gasket and am ready! I can do this.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Dude, this is such a fantastic DIY guide! Heck, I didn't even know what a gasket was (embarrassing confession of the day), but after reading your Hub and looking at the helpful photos, I really feel like I could do this on my own. I can't wait to get home and do that low-tech paper check!

    • Cre8tor profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Reed 

      7 years ago

      I'm sorry I didn't get this written for you sooner but am glad that you may not have to do the same again. Thanks for reading.

    • Tammy Brown profile image

      Tammy Brown 

      7 years ago

      I'm surprised at how easy this is. I once gave away a freezer because the gasket became loose and I didn't know how to fix it. I will save this article to use the next time it happens.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)