Power of Community - Pedernales Electric Cooperative

How to clean refrigerator coils

... and why it matters!

Your refrigerator is one of the largest, most-used appliances in your home. It requires only minimal maintenance — just simple cleaning of the condenser coils, which disperse heat.

If the coils are covered with dust, gunk or pet hair, they cannot diffuse the heat properly and will not run efficiently. A bigger problem can result if the compressor burns out from having to run constantly because of the grimy coating. This can be an expensive problem.

The bottom line? A minor investment in time once a year can save you cash down the line. Here's how you can clean your refrigerator coils.


Locate the refrigerator’s coil, a grid-like structure, or fan that will likely have a covering or grate protecting it. The coil is usually concealed behind the front toe kick or in the back. Some newer models have internal coils, so if you don’t find them in the front or back, this may be the case with your fridge.



If the coil is in the back, slide the refrigerator away from the wall, removing the plug from the electrical outlet as soon as you can easily reach it. You may also need to disconnect a line to the water dispenser or icemaker to allow enough room to work.

Dirty coils can hurt efficiency


Gently vacuum and clean the coil. Using the brush or crevice attachment, carefully vacuum the dust and dirt wherever you see it. If you have pulled the fridge out, vacuum and wipe down the sides and back of the fridge and the floor.

Vacuum and clean dirty coils


Once the floor is dry, plug in the refrigerator and rearrange the power cord and supply lines so they don’t get a kink or stuck under the weight of the refrigerator. Slide the refrigerator back into place. Be sure to replace the toe kick panel if this was removed.

Carefully plug in refrigerator after cleaning coils

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