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.

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

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