Home Maintenance 101: Cleaning Refrigerator Coils

One of the least glamorous parts of being a homeowner that nobody ever tells you about is the incessant maintenance. While it does nothing to improve the value, appearance or usefulness of your home, it’s necessary to keep everything operating in tip-top condition.

Things like cleaning out the gutters countless times a season after your neighbors’ trees repeatedly fill them with needles, cones and leaves.

Things like cleaning the dead bugs, dirt and mildew out of window tracks.

And things like cleaning the dog hair and dust out of your refrigerator coils – a task that needs to be done more often than it actually gets accomplished thanks to our constantly shedding fur-ball, Bella.

It takes about 15 minutes, and will prolong the life of your fridge, meaning money saved in the long run.

First, pull your fridge away from the wall. Vacuum up the mess that’s inevitability been hiding under there.

Then, identify where your coils are – if they’re on the back, it will be obvious by the radiator-like tubing affixed to the back of the fridge. If the back is smooth, they’re underneath (most newer models are this way).

To access under-the-fridge coils, take off the access panel by removing the screws. Once open, vacuum up all of the dust bunnies on the fan housing, around the compressor and on the back of the panel.

Then, screw it back on, push the refrigerator back into place and look at the base of the fridge – there’s likely a grille that is either screwed on, or snaps into place using clips. If you see screws, remove them, if not, just tug on the grille and it will pop off.

Wash that off in the sink.

And assess the damage.

Gah! Using a flat vacuum extension, suck up all of the hair and dust from under the fridge. It’s probably only been six months since I last cleaned the coils, and I still filled two vacuum canisters with this lovely mix of hair, dust and who knows what:

At this point, you just snap the grille back into place, reward yourself with a beer, and the job is done.

One Comment

  1. Mommy said:

    Dang, reminds me mine is way overdue! 3 cats makes for mega fur balls. Do you have one of those long pointy brushes that is specifically made for this task? They work great! But you have to remember to use them regularly…Bah!

    January 23, 2011

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