DIY (do-it-yourself) Projects

Published on July 22nd, 2014 | by Peter Young


How to Clean Your Refrigerators Condenser Coils Or Fan

Dirty coils

When it comes to making your home more energy efficient, cleaning your fridge’s condenser coils or fan might be one of the cheapest ways to accomplish just that. It’s a task that doesn’t require much in the way of technical equipment or know how, rather you just need to know where to look. By keeping your fridges condenser coils or fan clean, you could improve its energy efficiency by as much as 9kWh a month. While that may not seem like a lot, over the course of 10-15 years that could add up to as much as $500 or more.

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • Stiff Brush
  • Vacuum Cleaner with a Hose Attachment
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  • Dust Mask

Instructions: how to clean your fridge’s condenser coils or fan.

1. Unplug your fridge or turn the power off at the breaker. If you’re going to be working near any sort of an electric motor, it’s best to make sure that there is no power running to it while your working in or around it. After all, safety first! To get to the power cord you might have to pull the fridge away from the wall. Once you’ve found the plug, simply unplug it. If you elect to turn the power off at the breaker, simply open up the home’s breaker panel and find the switch that controls the power to fridge and flip it to the off position (it should be labeled).

2. Locate the fridges condenser coils or fan. Depending on the design of your fridge, its condenser coils or fan could be in one of two places. They will either be in the front or back of the fridge and will likely have some sort of grate or covering to help protect them from collecting dust and lint. Newfangled fridges may have internal coils. If you don’t find the coils in the rear or the bottom of your fridge, this may be the case for your fridge.

3. Remove the grate in front of the coils or fan. In some cases the protective grate simply snaps in and out of place. If this is true of your fridge, gently pull on the grate until it pops free. However, if your fridge’s protective grate is held in place by screws you’ll need to remove those first. After you’ve removed the screws with your screwdriver the grate should lift free. Time to strap on the dust mask, if you haven’t already.

4. Scrub the protective grate and GENTLY clean the coils and/or fan. By now, it should be very apparent just what needs to be scrubbed. So take your stiff brush and remove any dust or other debris as best you can. Be sure to remove as much as you can, since any left over dust or debris will prevent the condenser coil from working as efficiently as possible. However, be careful to do this gently so as not to dent or damage any coils in the process.

5. Clean up. Now that you’ve likely created a giant dust bunny on your floor, take your vacuum and run it both on and around the condenser coils or fan. Be sure to suck up any debris that has fallen down onto the floor during the cleaning process. Remember, the idea is to remove as much of the debris as possible. After you’ve gone over the area once, take your flashlight and give your coils or fan a thorough visual inspection. You may have to go back and re-scrub any areas that were particularly dirty.

6. Replace the protective grate and move the fridge back into place. At this point your condenser coils or fan should be cleaned up and ready to go. Simply put the protective grate back in place, plug in the fridge, and push it back into its appropriate place in the kitchen.

If you’re looking for more ways to save energy in your home, try implementing some of these energy conservation tips. Also, be sure to check out more of our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photo courtesy of Jim’s Projects.

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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