It goes without saying that the refrigerator is probably the most important major appliance in the home kitchen. It is often the most expensive appliance as well. As a homeowner, you naturally want to get the best performance from your fridge. The best way to extend its life and increase its overall efficiency is by periodically cleaning the condenser coils.
Located right at the base of the fridge or behind it, condenser coils are filled with a refrigerant that works to cool the air inside. These coils are exposed and vulnerable to grime and dust buildup. When coils are dirty, a fridge is forced to work even harder at keeping food cold. This results in higher energy costs and a reduced lifespan for such a costly appliance.
Luckily, cleaning your refrigerator’s condenser coils is a relatively simple task. Just heed these tips in mind to get started.
Locate the Unit’s Coils
Before you get started with the actual cleaning process, you’ll need to locate your refrigerator’s coils. These coils will either live right at the bottom of the refrigerator or in the back of it. Older models tend to have open coils that are present on the back of the refrigerator. Newer models tend to place coils at the bottom behind a toe space panel or at the back behind a rear access panel.
Gather Materials and Tools
Before you get started, make sure you have a few key materials and tools to get the job done right. Things you’ll need include:
- Dust mask
- Screwdriver (for removing the rear access panel)
- Coil condenser brush
- Vacuum with narrow nozzle attachment
Cleaning the Condenser Coils
No matter where the coils on your refrigerator are located, you’re going to follow the same basic process. The only major difference is that with coils in the back of the refrigerator will require you to move the fridge out from the wall. From there, you’re going to follow these simple tips:
- Unplug the unit
- Pull the refrigerator out from the wall if necessary
- Locate the condenser coils (the coils will look like tubes in a U-pattern)
- Put on a dust mask
- Use a flashlight to help you see the coils
- Vacuum any loose dust and debris along with the toe grill or backside of the fridge
- Brush away the dust with a coil condenser brush
- Work the brush back and forth gently twisting into corners and tight spots
- Keep the vacuum running as you brush and suck up any errant dust
- Replace the toe grill or move your refrigerator back into place
- Plug the unit back in
The entire process should only take around 10-15 minutes at most and is pretty straightforward. Something so simple can truly extend the life of your refrigerator and may help it to run more efficiently. That means your fridge will stay colder without having to work so hard!
How Often Should You Clean Condenser Coils?
In order to keep your refrigerator humming along as it should, you’ll want to clean the coils every six months to a year. You’ll want to clean them more often if you have shedding pets or if your fridge is located in a very dusty area. Going too long without cleaning your coils can cause dirt and grime to build up. Once that dirt has worked its way into your coils, it can be quite a task to remove it all completely. As a general rule of thumb, strive to clean every six months, waiting only a year if you do not have any pets or if dust is not an issue in your home.
Do All Refrigerators Require Condenser Cleaning?
Most refrigerators are going to require you to clean the condenser coils every six months to a year. That’s because a refrigerator’s air is forced across the coils by a fan to aid in the removal of heat being pulled from the refrigerator during the cooling process. The movement of air behind the refrigerator has a tendency to collect dust, pet hair, and other common debris. Dirty condenser coils make it impossible for the refrigerator to maintain an optimal temperature or to operate efficiently.
With that said, some newer models of refrigerator, specifically those from GE, have what is called a NeverClean condenser. These do not require regular cleaning or maintenance. With these models, coils are located in the compressor housing rather than in the back. This keeps them clean and functioning as they should while also allowing for air to flow more efficiently. Since the coils are completely encased, they will not require cleaning under normal conditions.
Call A Certified Technician Today
With that said, if you notice that your fridge is not operating as it should, feel free to call our licensed professionals to help today! We can diagnose, maintain, and repair any model of the refrigerator in your home. For speedy appliance repairs, including same-day appliance repairs, anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area, contact Fix Repair at (647) 812-5259.