Appliance Maintenance 10: How to Clean Refrigerator Coils

man checking the refrigerator

Your very hardworking refrigerator is made up of many different components, including the coils. These components need to be cleaned and maintained to ensure that your refrigerator always operates at maximum efficiency.

To help make certain that your trusty fridge always runs cold without eating up too much electricity, cleaning the coils, those snake-like tubes you see on the back or along your fridge’s bottom portion, is a definite must. But why is cleaning the coils so crucial?

How Your Reliable Refrigerator Functions

To better understand the importance of cleaning the coils, you have to first understand how your ref functions. It all boils down to thermodynamics – when two things that have different temperatures are close to each other, the colder surface will warm up, while the hotter surface will cool down.

This heat transfer is the main principle of refrigeration in which the pump and motor pushes gas refrigerant though the coils where it’s cooled and turned into liquid, absorbing the heat from the freezer and refrigerator, to ultimately cool the inside.

In the event that the coils are fouled with dust and other debris, the refrigeration process won’t occur as expected and prevent your ref from cooling efficiently and properly. This will make your ref work harder than it really has to, leading to spoiled food, a significant spike in your electricity bill, and reduced service life of your trusty refrigerator.

So if you’re not exactly looking forward to replace your fridge, you need to learn how to properly clean the coils to help extend your fridge’s lifespan and keep your electricity bill low.

Cleaning the Refrigerator Coils

man deattaching the coils from refrigerator

In order to keep your ref running as it should, ideally, you should have it inspected and repaired accordingly by your local refrigerator repair specialist in Salt Lake City at least once yearly. You must also clean the coils at least every six months or so – every four months if you have pets that shed hair.

To do this very simple process, look to the tips below:

  • Unplug the power cord. Check the bottom part or back of your ref to see where the coils are. In older models, the coils are usually exposed and located at the back. In newer models, they’re located either at the back portion behind an access panel or at the bottom portion.
  • Once you have found and exposed the refrigerator coils, get out your vacuum cleaner and use the upholstery or crevice tool to get rid of large debris buildup below and above the coils. Since you’re already in place, vacuum the area behind your ref and the floor under as well.
  • Next, get a refrigerator coil brush or your good old duster to clean in between the coils and give another pass to the remaining dust, dirt, and hair buildup. Place the vacuum under your duster to collect any falling debris and your job is complete.

You can now plug your ref back in and look forward to having perfectly cooled food and a lower electricity bill. Remember to do this every six months or so and you’ll certainly notice the difference.