when was the last time you vacuumed your refrigerator?

NEVER, probably.

At least that was true for me until recently, when I cleaned the heat-exchange condenser coils, which are what cool your refrigerator by releasing heat. If the coils are covered in a blanket of dust, the refrigerator has to work harder. You’ll hear the motor kicking on often and for a long time.

Refrigerators are already the greatest electricity consumer in most households (about 15%), so it helps to make them as efficient as possible. The Consumer Energy Center says, “brushing or vacuuming the coils can improve efficiency by as much as 30 percent.”

I dare you to look at the coils on your fridge. (They’re likely underneath the fridge, so you don’t have to pull it out.)

Here’s what I found:

coils before

Gross, you can barely see the coils.

And here’s the result after vacuuming.

coils after

You can actually see the coils now. It still needs a scrubbing with a brush, but better than before.

These are the steps I took to address the dust bunny disaster on the refrigerator coils:

  • Find the coils. They are either behind or under the refrigerator. The ones on my fridge are underneath.
  • Unplug your fridge.
  • Take off the front grate, if it’s underneath. I washed the grate with soapy water. (See this video for how to.)
  • Vacuum. You may need a brusher, too.  (See this video for how to.)
  • Reinstall the cover. It’s easier to do with the fridge door open.  (See this video for how to.)
  • Plug in the fridge.

In this video, the speaker shows the kind of coils I have, and also explains that cleaning the coils might help address persistent allergies from mold/mildew.

How often? At least once an year. More often, especially if you have pets with hair.

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This entry was posted in cleaning, energy saving, everyday, food, health, kitchen, sustainability, sustainable, utilities. Bookmark the permalink.

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