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Door and door seals Door and door seals


  • Failure mode Seals can accumulate dirt and mould and splits can occur in the longer term. Hinges and mounts can also weaken.
  • Durability feature Anti-bacterial seal coating and removable seals will allow effective cleaning and replacement. Strong hinges and mounts will prevent door droop.
  • Cost

Good practices

  • Good practicesReplaceable door seal
  • Good practices Good seal fit
  • Good practices No thin sections
  • Good practices Reversible door
  • Good practices Strong hinges and mounts

Bad practices

  • Bad practicesMoulded in door seal
  • Bad practices Poor seal fit
  • Bad practices Thin seal sections
  • Bad practices Irreversible door
  • Bad practices Weak hinges and mounts

Key facts

  • Which? Consumer surveys indicate some of the most common faults relate to bad smells, mould and leaks. 
  • Around 1 in 3 of all fridges replaced in the UK each year failed to meet customer’s expectation for an 8 year product lifetime. 
  • Which? surveys show that the most common faults are build-up of ice, blocked drain and flooding in unit.

Icon key

  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost

Key failure modes

Early Life

  • Door seals can easily trap dirt and grow mould. Some seals are moulded in to the door structure and are not possible to remove and are difficult to clean in-situ.
  • Doors that cannot be reversed can lead to fridges being returned or disposed of when kitchen layouts change.

Later in lifetime

  • After repeated use the door hinge or attachment point can drop or crack and fail.
  • The door seal can also develop cracks which harbour dirt. Both factors can also prevent an effective seal, affecting the cooling performance and working the compressor harder.

Specification for improved performance

The specification below provides the recommended improvements needed to improve product durability. They are ranked from bronze to gold based on the effectiveness of the change in improving durability, with bronze being the minimum and gold being the maximum.

Replaceable seals; antibacterial coating; specified door loading; specified for 38,000 openings / slam-shuts

  • Radius at least 1mm on all door seal corners and edges including the bottom of the gap between the inner and outer part of the seal. This is to avoid stress concentrations and facilitate cleaning.
  • Anti-bacterial coating to be applied to the door seal material.
  • Easily removable and replaceable door seals (all doors, fridge and freezer).
  • Door, hinges and mounts designed to support at least 30kg of door load on the door shelves (evenly distributed) with the door open *.
  • Specified to last 38,000 openings / slam-shuts * (~ 7 years of use # )
  • Spare parts to be available for at least 5 years after the last machine was manufactured
  • Quality control procedures to be in place and documented for above characteristics

Reversible door; specified for 49,000 openings/slam-shuts

  • Reversible door, with appropriate fittings (hinges, handles etc.) to allow simple reversal by the user.
  • Specified to last 49,000 openings / slam-shuts (~9 years of use)

Specified for 60,000 openings/slam-shuts

  • Specified to last 60,000 openings / slam-shuts (~11 years of use)

Testing to demonstrate performance

Look for poor seal quality/fit and any weak aspects of the door assembly

Ask for clear evidence of meeting the requirements listed above to be provided e.g.:

  • technical specifications, drawings, photographs
  • test data (ideally from an independent test house), quality control data 

Door load test method: 10 units to be tested for the number of openings and closings, with 30kg loading evenly across the door shelves without damage or failure or significant deflection or sag (>2mm in any direction) to door, hinges or shelves in 100% of cases.

BS 6222 should inform the door hinge test. 

The door seal air tightness test should reflect the EN62552 Household Refrigerating Appliances standard.

# WRAP research suggests that consumers expect a lifetime of 8 years.

Cost implications

Improved reliability of components can reduce early returns and improve brand reputation which, in turn, can lower business costs and increase long-term sales.

To calculate overall cost savings for your business, use the WRAP cost/benefit analysis tool (currently in draft form and available on request).



Anti bacterial coated door seal

Antibacterial coatings are widely used and help reduce the occurrence of mould.

Basic door strength (testing for 27,000 openings)

A basic design to last at least 7 years, with the required testing.

Low cost

Replaceable door seal

Having a replaceable door seal could involve using a new door liner mould to produce the groove for the seal to fit into and a different seal profile to match it.

Stronger /longer lasting door hinges (38,000 openings)

To obtain 9 years’ life, a higher specification such as increased leaf thickness, larger fixing screws and improved bushes can be used.

Reversible door

Having a reversible door will add some extra drillings and extra metal plates and bushes.

High cost

Stronger/longer lasting door hinges (49,000 openings)

A higher specification still may be required to ensure that the door lasts for at least 11 years.