Placing your refrigerator in a warm location such as near a sunny window, radiator, furnace register, clothes dryer or cooking range will make the appliance run more and use more electricity. This increased use will cause the compressor to wear out faster. Replacement compressors are quite expensive. It may be cheaper to replace the refrigerator than to fix it.
Allowing the dust and dirt to accumulate on the condenser and the coils will also make the compressor work harder and possibly overheat. Vacuuming them once or twice a year will keep them clean and make the compressor run more efficiently.
When cleaning your refrigerator, placing the shelves and other plastic parts in very hot water can cause them to crack or melt. Using abrasive detergents and scouring pads to clean plastic parts will scratch them.
Using an electric defroster on the plastic walls of the freezer can damage the walls and ruin the refrigerator.
Scraping the frost off the freezer walls with an ice pick, screwdriver or other sharp object can poke a hole through a wall and into a refrigerant line. Once a line is punctured, the refrigerator will need to be replaced.
Food left inside an unpowered refrigerator will rot and decay over time. The mold and other toxins that grow inside the appliance can make it unsafe for future use.
Storing a refrigerator on its side or back can ruin the cooling system inside, since this appliance is made to stand upright. Placing a refrigerator on its back can also damage the condenser coils.