Refrigerators have two sets of coils. Evaporator coils are located near the cooled space and absorb heat, and condenser coils are outside of the cooled space and release heat. Condenser coils are normally exposed to ambient air (although a grille may cover them) and can, therefore, collect dust, pet hair and other debris. When the coils get dirty, they should be cleaned off. Why? Your refrigerator will run more efficiently if the coils are able to transfer their heat to the air without that blanket of dust that keeps the heat in the coils. A refrigerator that runs efficiently uses less energy to keep your food cold so your energy costs are lower. The refrigerator motor will last longer if it is not working so hard.
Here’s how to clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils.
Locate Your Refrigerator’s Condenser Coils
You’ll first have to locate your refrigerator’s condenser coils. They might be concealed by a cover.
Older refrigerator’s coils are usually on the back of the refrigerator and exposed. Newer models frequently have coils on the underside of the refrigerator, which may be accessed through either the toe panel (the panel on the bottom front) or an access panel on the back.
For help locating the coils on your particular model, check your refrigerator’s owner’s manual.
Clean Your Refrigerator’s Condenser Coils
After locating the coils, here is how to clean them.
- Unplug your refrigerator.
- Remove any grille covering the coils.
You may need a screwdriver to remove a grill or access panel, or you might be able to simply slide any cover off.
Of course, you don’t have to worry about this if the coils are exposed on the back.
- Use a refrigerator brush to wipe off the coils.
Refrigerator brushes are available at most home centers for under $15. If you don’t want to purchase a specialized tool, a bristle paintbrush will also work. Just wipe off all the coils with whatever brush you choose to use.
- Use a vacuum to suck up any hair, dust or debris left on the coils, as well as anything that fell to the floor.
Shop vacs work well for this, but you can also use a standard vacuum with a hose attachment.
- Put any grille or access panel you removed back.
- Plug in your refrigerator.
Clean Condenser Coils as Necessary
How frequently you should clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils will depend on where the coils are and how dusty the room is where your refrigerator is located. Check your refrigerator’s coils periodically and clean them as needed to help your refrigerator do its job more efficiently.
You might also like:
- How to Clean and Disinfect Your Humidifier
- How to Change Your Range Hood Filter
- How To Clean Your Dryer Vent
Download our Home Maintenance Schedule to keep up on this and other home maintenance tasks.