What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Refrigerator Water and Ice Dispenser

We bought our Whirlpool refrigerator model ED2FHEXSQ2 in early 2006.  It was bought specifically to fit the only spot available in the kitchen of our last house where there were both tight height and width restrictions. There are still a few models available that are shorter but many of them lack the features we wanted.  When I finally found a model that fit the space we had with the features I called the appliance place we deal with and had them order it in. It ended up being a wise purchase as it just fits in this kitchen.  New home builders have gone to a shorter cabinet over the refrigerator so the appliance manufacturers have responded by making refrigerators higher, wider and deeper.  While the new design size of the refrigerators fit well with new homes, fitting them into older homes can mean a major kitchen makeover to get them to fit but in some cases the space is too restricted that even a makeover won''t help get the newer fridges into the space.  This was the position we found ourselves in. 

water deposits on dispenser
I really like the refrigerator.  It has a lot of great features like extra lighting and glass cantilever shelving.  My husband's request as a refrigerator feature was an indoor water and ice dispenser.  There is a filter in the bottom of the refrigerator  that filters water to the fridge.  We had no problems at the old house that had a larger Culligan water filtration system under the sink.  We don't have the additional water filtration system here.

I started noticing that the drip tray (ridged portion) looked like it had adhesive residue on it.  Despite cleaning it got worse.  Then the guides developed brownish streaks (red arrows) that I thought was normal dirt but they wouldn't come off even with a Mr. Clean Magic eraser.  The streaks felt hard and crusty yet wouldn't flake off.  The other day I was doing a bit of blog hopping and came across a post about water deposits.  Well this was not new to me but for some reason it had not dawned on me that the problem with the water and ice dispenser was water deposits! 

soaking the dispenser guides
I removed the drip tray then set it in the sink and filled it with 5% acetic acid white vinegar.  I let it sit for 15 minutes then washed it.  All of the brownish markings were gone.  So I rigged up a coffee cup filled with vinegar propped up by two canning lid boxes to soak each of the guides as pictured.  I let each guide sit in the full strength vinegar for 15 minutes.  It was a rather low tech solution but it worked.  The guides were residue free with only the wipe of a dishcloth.  Now that I know what is causing the problem I can take the necessary steps to prevent and correct any future problems.  The left over vinegar did not go to waste either as I used it in the dishwasher to clean out any deposits. 

dispenser cleaned up
Pictured is the refrigerator water and ice dispenser after using the vinegar treatment.  I'm quite pleased with the way it cleaned up.  I routinely clean with a 1:1 vinegar to water solution so it will be as simple as spraying the dispenser when I do the counters. 

It might be time to consider installing an under sink or whole house water filtration system here as well.  I thought our area had soft water so water deposits have not been a huge issue but looking at the one shower head that needs replacing which we will do when we renovate the bathroom, water deposits may be a bit of a problem than I thought. 

Garden Gnome