Want to Avoid an Expensive Mistake? Clean Your Refrigerator Coils!
Cleaning your refrigerator’s coils is a dusty—but very important—task. The coils help the refrigerator stay cool; clean coils mean an energy-efficient fridge. We’ve had calls from customers whose fridge has stopped working because the coils haven’t been cleaned. Sometimes the fridge will start again once the coils have been cleaned... but sometimes the compressor has overheated and the fridge is dead. Don’t let this happen! Your refrigerator’s coils need to be cleaned at least once a year, but more often if you have pets or your home gets very dusty. We recommend taking a peek every three months, to avoid this very expensive mistake.
For this job you’ll need: • About 1/2 hour • A vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool • A bright flashlight • A coil brush • A 1/4-inch nut driver, 5/8-inch nut driver, or Phillips screwdriver
• You might consider wearing a face mask as well.
Start by pulling out the fridge and unplugging it. Clear off the top and sides of the fridge to prevent things from falling off. If you have wood floors, we highly recommend using a set of tracks to protect your floor.
Some newer refrigerators have what look like leveling feet in the front corners. These are brakes that prevent the fridge from rolling toward you when you open a door or drawer. Raise the brakes off the floor before moving the fridge.
Pull the fridge out a bit and take a look behind it. If your fridge has a water dispenser, pay attention to the water line so you don’t pull it tight. When you can reach the plug, unplug the fridge. Don’t skip this step! Now remove the screws holding the cover on in the back. The cover is usually cardboard or metal. If it’s metal, be careful of the sharp edges. Sometimes the water line goes through the cover. In this case, rotate the cover clockwise and place it to the side without disconnecting the water line. You should be able to see the coils now.
You don’t see them? Don't worry—you needed to unplug the fridge anyway! Your coils are in the front. Go to the front of the fridge and gently remove the long plastic grate across the bottom. Peek through the openings and you’ll see the coils.
Get your vacuum cleaner with the crevice tool. Start by removing the biggest chunks of debris. If you have pets or if you smoke in your house, you’ll be surprised how much dust, hair, and lint your coils can collect! Don’t get too rough with the crevice tool; forcing things could damage the fan or the tubing.
Next, bend your coil brush to fit the coils. Some coils are round, and you’ll want to reach all sides and underneath. Some coils are square, and a 90-degree bend in the brush allows you to get between the layers.
Begin brushing the coils, loosening all the debris you can find. You can also brush the fan blades, but be careful – they can be extremely sharp, even if they’re plastic.
Then clean up with the vacuum cleaner. Give the fan blades a tap to ensure they rotate freely. Replace the cover. The cover must be in place; it directs the airflow to ensure proper cooling of the coils. Now plug in the fridge. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t start up right away; many are programmed to wait about five minutes before restarting. Once it’s running, be sure the fan is blowing. Roll the fridge back, ensuring you don’t roll over the water line or the cord. Remember to set the brakes in front.
If you’d rather not tackle this job by yourself, call All City Appliance. We have the tools and experience to do the job quickly and efficiently, and we’re happy to help!