January 3, 2022

How to fix a fridge door seal

Introduction image for replacing a refrigerator door gasket repair guide.
Introduction image for replacing a refrigerator door gasket repair guide.

The refrigeration door seal (also called a gasket) keeps cold air inside and warm air outside the fridge. Each door on the refrigerator has a gasket seal. The freezer gasket seals the freezer door and the refrigerator door gasket seals the refrigerator door. French door refrigerators have 2 refrigerator gaskets—one gasket on each door.

How do you know if your refrigerator door seal is bad?

Your fridge compressor works harder to keep the refrigerator at the right temperature when warm air leaks through a bad door gasket. The sides of the refrigerator may feel hot and you’ll likely hear the compressor running constantly to maintain cooling.

You’ll also see excessive frost inside the freezer when a refrigerator door or freezer door gasket is bad. When a freezer door gasket leaks, the frost often appears thickest near the leak in the door gasket. When the refrigerator door allows warm air to leak into the refrigerator compartment, you’ll see frost appearing around the return air vent from the fridge or throughout the freezer compartment.

Check the door seals when you see frost appearing or when the refrigerator compressor is running constantly. If you see no apparent damage or loose spots in the door gasket, try this test to find the door gasket leak:

  1. Find a dollar bill (or any denomination of bill) that’s fairly new to use for checking the door gasket seals.

  2. Open the refrigerator compartment door and position the bill on the refrigerator cabinet where the door will close on the bill and you can pull the bill out after you close the refrigerator door on the bill.

  3. Close the refrigerator door and try to pull the bill out with the door still closed.

  4. Repeat the test in 6-inch intervals around the entire refrigerator door(s) and freezer door to check for a loose spot or leak in the door gaskets.

You should feel slight resistance when pulling the bill out of the door.

If you encounter no resistance as all when pulling the bill out of a section in the door gasket, then the gasket isn’t sealing properly in that area.

How do you fix the seal on a refrigerator door?

You can sometimes fix a door seal leak by adjusting the door hinge to tighten the seal. Loosen the screws in the door hinge. Press and hold the door against the cabinet while tightening the door hinge screws. Check door opening/closing and the door seal to see if you corrected the problem. Adjust the door hinge if needed to the door opens and closes properly while the door gasket properly seals the door. Spread a thin coat of petroleum jelly over the sealing surface of the door gasket to keep it sealing properly.

If you’re unable to fix the door seal by adjusting the hinge or the door seal is damaged, you’ll need to replace the door seal. This is a basic appliance repair that you may be able to complete yourself.

Here’s a description of the general repair procedure for replacing a refrigerator door gasket.

  1. Remove creases from the replacement door gasket by soaking it in warm water or warming it using a hair dryer on the low heat setting.

  2. Unplug the refrigerator to disconnect electrical power.

  3. Open the door and remove the old gasket.

  4. Starting on the hinge side, work the new gasket into the side of the door at the top corner. Continue installing the door gasket around the entire door.

  5. Check the gasket to make sure it seals properly and adjust the door as gasket if necessary.

  6. Plug the refrigerator back in to restore power.

For more specific help on replacing the door seal on your exact type of refrigerator, follow the steps shown in our repair guide/video for your type of fridge.

How much does it cost to replace a refrigerator door seal?

If you replace the refrigerator door seal yourself, your only cost will be the price of the replacement part—around $50 to $100 for many door seals.

If you need to have a service technician replace the refrigerator door seal, you’ll likely pay between $180 and $300 for the repair.

When your refrigerator door seal is simple to replace, then completing the repair yourself is definitely the way to go.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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