Refrigeration Gaskets Buying Guide

Refrigeration Door Seal & Gasket Buying Guide

Extend the life of your refrigeration unit (such as refrigerators, freezers, walk-ins, cold drawers, merchandisers, and undercounter refrigerators) when you become more knowledgeable about door seals and gaskets.

Sometimes referred to as door seals or gaskets, other times as that suction-thing-around-the-inside-of-the-door-of-my-refrigerator, if your refrigeration doors aren’t sealing right, this is the place to find out everything you need to know to get a tight seal.

What is a Door Gasket?

A door gasket is the lining that goes around your refrigeration equipment doors to keep air flow accurate. With cold equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, and walk-ins, the gasket is rubber and lines the entire door to keep cold air in and outside air out.

Their basic function is to create a tight seal when the equipment door is closed.

When Should You Replace Door Gaskets?

If you’re using duct tape to hold the door closed, odds are, it’s time to replace the door gasket. Other signs it may be time to change the gasket, include:

  • When frost starts to build up on the shelves and food in the freezer or walk-in.
  • The latch of the walk-in won’t latch because the gasket is too worn out.
  • You can feel cold air coming out of the refrigeration unit.
  • Temperatures are fluctuating in the equipment.
  • Cracks are starting to appear in the lining.
  • The gasket is starting to separate from the equipment.
  • The gasket material is starting to harden.
  • The gasket is always compressed.

Why Should You Replace Door Gaskets?

Refrigeration units are some of the priciest and most important pieces of equipment in the kitchen. If you’re not having it run at peak performance, it’s going to cost you money down the road. Bad gaskets cause a number of problems:

  • When equipment can’t maintain temperature, it has to work harder to keep up, which causes more wear than called for.
  • Because the equipment is running more, your energy bill goes up.
  • Fluctuations in temperatures are a food safety risk and can create quite the battlefield for bacteria growth. Guess what the health inspector and your customers would think of this?

How Do You Replace Refrigeration Door Gaskets?

All you need is a tape measure, a bowl of hot water, a rubber mallet, and some elbow grease to get started with replacing your door gaskets (if you’re installing a push-in gasket, you may need vinyl cement too). Follow these simple steps to get started with replacing the door gaskets on your refrigeration equipment.

  1. For measuring your gaskets, you have 2 options:
    • Give our team a call at 888-388-6372 or Live Chat with us, and with the make, model and serial number of the refrigeration unit on hand, we can match you with the right gasket. This is the best way to identify the correct gasket for your unit.
    • If you’d rather measure for the gasket yourself, start by using a measuring tape to get the right length and width of the gasket. For all gaskets, measure from outside corner to outside corner, on the gasket itself and not the door; take the length measurement, then the width measurement. Both measurements should be to the closest eighth of an inch. It’s best to measure twice to ensure your measurements are correct.
      Creative Solution: To help hold the measuring tape in place and get an accurate measurement, use magnets to hold the tape in place.
  2. While you’re writing down your measurements, go ahead take note of the manufacturer’s name and the equipment’s model and serial number.
  3. Now you need to find out what style of gasket you have on your equipment. There are 3 main types of gaskets: push-in style, screw-in style, and snap-in style. Pull a corner of your in-place gasket out and take note of what style you have. Remember to put the gasket back in place as you wait for your new gasket to arrive. For screw-in gaskets you’ll see the screws and will already know the type; no need to pull a corner.

    NOTE: There are a couple of other gasket types, but they are very rare. Those types include sponge gaskets and sweep gaskets. If you have these types of gaskets, you should give our team a call so that they can help you with a new replacement.

    Push-In Gasket

    A push-in gasket has a knobbed dart for pushing in the gasket.

    Screw-In Gasket

    A screw-in gasket has a strip for the gasket retainer in the gasket.

    Snap-In Gasket

    A snap-in gasket has an arrow shaped dart for snapping in the gasket.

  4. Finally, take note whether the gasket is magnetic or not. Most new refrigeration units use magnetic gaskets, but to test if yours is magnetic, close the door and if you see a slight pull when you slowly open it, odds are it’s magnetic. Compression gaskets (non-magnetic) typically need to be pushed into place to create the seal.

    Magnetic Gasket

    Compression Gasket

  5. With all of your gasket information gathered, you can now find the right replacement gasket - start your search by filtering by brand, mount type, or seal type.
  6. When the gasket arrives, they’re usually twisted. To get rid of the kinks, put the gasket in a large bowl of hot water and let it set for at least 30 minutes. The bends should straighten out and make the gasket easier to work with during installation. You can also use a hair dryer or heat gun instead of the hot water, but be cautious not to heat the gasket material up to the point of melting.
  7. Depending on the style of door gasket you need to install, you’ll follow one of the following instructions:

    Push-In Gasket

    To remove the old gasket, grab a corner of it and pull it out around the entire door. It should easily come out.

    Clean out any food or debris from the gasket channel before mounting the new gasket.

    You can first try putting the new gasket into place just to see how it will fit, but for the best seal, we’d recommend using vinyl cement. Brush vinyl cement, into the channel where the new gasket will be placed. Then push the new gasket into place.

    When you shut the door, take note of how the hinge side of the gasket meets with the equipment. If it appears to be rolling out of place, push the gasket into place and tape the door closed for a bit. This should help the gasket seat itself.

    NOTE: Magnetic seals can take up to 3 days before they form a proper seal.

    Creative Solution: If you can’t get the gasket to roll into place, use a hair dryer to get it set, just make sure to not heat the material too much or you’ll risk melting it.

    Screw-In Gasket

    As you remove the old screw-in gasket, you should be working to install the new one. Unscrew the top screws and slide out the old gasket. If retainer strips are in place, make sure to keep track of them. Slide in the new gasket and secure the screws. Continue doing this for each side of the equipment door until the new gasket is in place and the old gasket is removed.

    NOTE: Magnetic seals can take up to 3 days before they form a proper seal.

    Snap-In Gasket

    Similar to push-in gaskets, to remove a snap-in gasket, just grab a corner and start pulling until the old gasket is removed.

    To install the new gasket, start by snapping the dart into a corner first. Then, use a rubber mallet tap the top of the gasket into place first. You’ll want to see the darted strip snapping into place. Continue doing this all the way around the rest of the refrigeration equipment door. If you have an issue with the gasket rolling when the door is closed, take a look at the creative solution under the push-in gasket installation instructions.

    NOTE: Magnetic seals can take up to 3 days before they form a proper seal.

Why Does the Door Gasket Arrive Twisted?

The gasket is twisted because they are folded to save you on shipping costs. The good news is that these twists are easy to work out. Simply fill a big bowl or large tub with hot water and soak the gasket for at least 30 minutes. This should help straighten out the gasket and make it easier to work with.

If the hot water isn’t working to get the twists out, go ahead and bring the water up to a gentle boil, turn off the heat, and re-soak the gasket for another 30 minutes. You don’t want to heat the gasket too much, or you risk melting it - there’s a fine line between heating it to get the twists out and melting it entirely; i.e. don’t boil the gasket.

How Can You Prolong the Life of Your Gaskets?

Wiping between the gasket grooves should be in your staff’s daily cleaning routine. Keeping the gaskets clean of food and dirt helps prolong the gasket’s life. It also keeps unwanted grime from getting in contact with the food in the refrigeration unit.

Creative Solution: Make the health inspector happy, keep those gaskets clean and stay ahead of the game.

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