How to Replace a Refrigerator Door Gasket

In this article we will discuss how to replace a refrigerator door gasket. If you know the technique it is not as hard as you may think. If this is the first time you are replacing a refrigerator door gasket, there is no doubt in my mind it before it's all done you were going to wind up with the refrigerator door not sealing. And that's because refrigerator door panels tend to flex especially when they are taken apart. When that happens, they are no longer square and flat. Imagine a large piece of thin metal laying on a table and three corners of that metal were laying flat but one corner is curled up. That is exactly what happens when you disassemble a refrigerator door and the panel flexes. If you're lucky you have a solid foam door because they don’t flex as much.

The most important thing you should do before you decide to replace a refrigerator door gasket is confirm that the door gasket is actually defective. Just because a refrigerator door gasket has a gap between the gasket or seal and the refrigerator does not mean it’s defective. The magnetic pull of the typical refrigerator door gasket is very slight. If the bottom of the door is sealed properly and the top left corner is sticking out not sealing for example, the gasket is most likely not the problem. The door is probably flexed out of square. We'll talk about how to take care of that in just a minute.

If your gasket is torn or damaged then you need a new refrigerator door gasket. Make sure that you use the complete refrigerator model number to order the replacement gasket from your appliance parts retailer. Gaskets look alike and there are subtle differences in them so you must use the exact refrigerator model number when you make the purchase of a new refrigerator door seal.

Photo of a refrigerator door gasket

When you receive the gasket before you take the old one off the fridge, make absolutely certain that you received the correct one. Most likely it's going to be a twisted mess in the box. This is common and easily taken care of. Take the refrigerator door gasket out of the box and hold it up against the old gasket on the refrigerator door and verify that it is the correct size and color.

Once you confirm that you received the correct gasket, you could start to prepare the gasket for installation. There are several ways to go about this but what you need to do is warm up the gasket so it is pliable and willing to let go of the wrinkles that were accumulated during shipping. If it's warm outside you can put the gasket in the sun and usually that's all that's necessary. Most of the time you wind up putting the gasket in a bathtub full of warm water. You can let it soak there while you remove the old gasket from the door. I have heard of servicemen who put the gasket in a clothes dryer for a time to make the gasket more pliable but I myself have never done that and never would.

With the refrigerator turned off, open the door that needs a new gasket and peel the inner part of the gasket back. There you will find a bunch of screws or 1/4 hex head screws that need to be loosened up. It is not necessary to remove the refrigerator door from the refrigerator. Using a screwdriver or nut driver go all the way around and loosen up the screws. When that is finished, you can peel the old gasket out from behind the liner which is held in place with a lip molded in the liner. Do not use a razor knife to cut the old gasket off just in case you have a problem with the replacement gasket. You could always put the old one back on.

Now that you have the old gasket off you can now retrieve your now flexible and pliable gasket. Start with the top left-hand corner and slide the gasket behind the liner into the molded lip. Now work your way all the way around all four sides before you start to tighten any screws. Once the gasket is completely on all four sides of the liner, you can start to snug up the screws. I always start with the top left, then move to the bottom right. Then I move over to the the bottom left and then the top right. I keep doing that all the way around to snug up the screws but not tighten them. Remember this is a plastic liner and too much pressure on it will cause it to crack. Besides that you need to be able to flex the door once you get all the screws snugged up and they can not be too tight or the door panel will not flex.

Now that all the screws are snug you can close the refrigerator door and take a look at the gap at the top and the bottom on the opposite side of the hinges. If you see a gap at the bottom for example, you will need to flex the refrigerator door panel. The easiest way to do this is to put the heel of your foot on the floor and place the ball of your foot on the panel. Now grab the top part of the panel with your hand and pull it out using your foot to hold the bottom in place. This will not take much pressure.

After you make these type of adjustments and are sure that the door is square, you can go back and finish tightening up the screws all the way around the gasket. Once all the screws are tight, you can use a hair dryer to smooth out the leftover wrinkles. Well there you have it, now you know how to install a refrigerator door gasket.