How to Clean Refrigerator Coils: 5 Simple Steps

Paradise Appliance
April 4, 2023
Refrigerator Repair

Refrigerator coils are an important part of a refrigerator’s cooling system. They’re typically located on the back or bottom of the appliance and are responsible for dissipating heat that’s generated by the compressor and other components that generate heat during operation.

There are two types of refrigerator coils: condenser coils and evaporator coils. Condenser coils are located on the outside of the refrigerator and are responsible for releasing heat from the refrigerant, which cools and condenses back into a liquid state. Evaporator coils are located inside the freezer and are responsible for absorbing heat from the air, which cools the inside of the appliance.

Over time, refrigerator coils become covered in dust, dirt, and other debris, which can impede their ability to dissipate heat effectively. This causes the compressor to work harder and run longer, which increases energy consumption and leads to premature wear and tear on the appliance.

To ensure proper cooling and energy efficiency, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain your refrigerator coils. This is usually quite a straightforward process that can be done by most people at home. 

How to clean your refrigerator coils 

Cleaning your refrigerator coils helps your refrigerator run more efficiently, keeping your food safe and reducing your power bill. Here are five steps to clean your refrigerator coils:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator: Before starting, unplug the refrigerator to ensure your safety. Remove any food that can perish quickly and put it in a cooler bag with ice to keep it cool. 
  2. Locate the coils: Depending on the model, the coils may be on the back or bottom of the refrigerator. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on where to find your refrigerator’s coils. 
  3. Remove debris: Use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove any dust or debris that’s accumulated on the coils. Be careful not to damage the coils as they can be delicate. 
  4. Clean the surrounding area: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the area around the coils to remove any additional dust or debris. Ensure that no harsh chemical residues that can damage the refrigerator are left on the surface. 
  5. Plug the refrigerator back in: Once the coils and surrounding area are clean, plug the refrigerator back in and ensure it’s working properly.

How often should you clean your refrigerator coils 

Refrigerator coils should be cleaned at least twice a year, or more often if you have pets that shed or if you live in a dusty environment. It’s important to keep the coils clean to ensure proper cooling and energy efficiency, and to prevent the compressor from working harder than necessary. A buildup of dust and debris on the coils can impede their ability to dissipate heat, which can lead to increased energy consumption and premature wear and tear on the appliance. Regular cleaning of the refrigerator coils can extend the lifespan of your refrigerator and save you money on your energy bills.

Do all refrigerators have coils? 

Most refrigerators have coils, but the type and location of the coils varies depending on the model and make of the refrigerator.

Older refrigerators typically have exposed coils at the back or underneath the unit. These coils are typically black and made of metal. Newer refrigerators often have concealed coils, which are also at the back or bottom of the unit but are covered by a panel.

Some newer models of refrigerators have a “no-coil” design, where the coils are located inside the walls of the refrigerator or in the compressor. This design eliminates the need for cleaning the coils, but can make repairs more difficult and expensive.

In general, it’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific information on the location and maintenance of your particular refrigerator model’s coils. If you’re unable to find the coils, it’s best to ask a professional for help. They can find the coils and clean them to maintain your refrigerator’s efficiency. 

How to properly look after your refrigerator 

Properly looking after your refactor ensures that your refrigerator runs efficiently, keeps your food fresh and safe, and has a longer lifespan. Here are some tips on how to properly look after your refrigerator:

  1. Keep it clean: Regularly clean the interior of the refrigerator with a mild detergent and warm water. Wipe down spills immediately to prevent odors and stains. Also, keep the exterior of the refrigerator clean to maintain its appearance.
  2. Maintain proper temperature: Ensure that your refrigerator is set at the proper temperature to keep your food fresh and prevent bacterial growth. Certain types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning grow quickly at temperatures between 40-140°F (4-60°C). By maintaining the recommended temperature range of 35-38°F (1-3°C), you can keep your food safe and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
  1. Don’t overload it: Avoid overloading your refrigerator as this can restrict air flow and prevent proper cooling. Allow for adequate space between items for proper ventilation.
  2. Organize your food: Organize your food to make sure that items that spoil easily are kept in the right place. Keep raw meat separate from other foods and store it on the lower shelves to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Check the door seals: Ensure that the door seals are clean and tight. Loose or dirty door seals can cause the refrigerator to work harder than necessary, which can increase energy consumption. If they appear dirty, they can be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove the debris. 

Clean the coils: Regularly clean the refrigerator coils to prevent dust and debris buildup, which can impede their ability to dissipate heat and increase energy consumption.


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