Condenser Coils - Where They are Located and How to Clean them

The Condenser Coils on your Refrigerator is where the Freon gets put under pressure, therefore causing them to get warm.  In order for your Refrigerator to run efficiently these coils need to be able to dissipateCleaning the Condenser Coilsthe heat.  If the coils are covered in Pet Hair or Dust, this will cause the sealed system to overheat. 

When the coils can't get rid of the heat created by the sealed system, the compressor will not be able to run.  When the compressor overheats and shuts off, your food stops getting cold.  This is why it is extremely important to keep up with regular cleaning of the coils. 

Too many times I've gone to a customers house for a repair that could have been avoided.  It is important for you to know where the coils are and how to clean them.

Where are they Located?

Side by Side Refrigerators

The location of the Condenser on your standard side x side are located near the compressor behind the refrigerator.   On the very back of your fridge there is an access panel at the bottom.  In order to get to them, you will have to remove the access panel.  The panels are usually made of cardboard or a piece of sheet metal.   If it's made of sheet metal, use extreme caution when taking the panel off.  It is very easy to wind up taking a trip to the emergency room to get stitches.  Also when you are back there you will have to keep your fingers clear of the fan that assists in keeping the heat off the compressor.  The fan also serves the purpose of evaporating the defrost water that has run in the pan near the compressor.

Another place the coils could be on your standard side x side are directly under the refrigerator.  To access this style of coils, it is easier to remove the grille on the front of the machine.  To take off the grilleremoving the front grille of your refrigeratorjust open both doors and you will have enough room to pull it off.  Some grilles are screwed on.  Just check to see,  most of them are clip on.  Once you get the grille off,  you will be able to see under the front of your unit.  Get a flashlight because it's dark under there.  You never know what you'll find under there.  Hopefully not too much pet hair or dust.

Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

These Refrigerator have the same type as the side by sides.  Most of the time they are located in the same place. Top Freezer Refrigerator Condenser Coils The locations of the coils are pretty much the same as a side by side inRear Condenser Coils on a Refrigeratormost cases.   Another area the coils may be are on the rear exterior wall of the refrigerator.  If they are on the back wall they are easy enough to find.  All you would need to do to clean those are pull the refrigerator out from the wall far enough so that you can get a vacuum attachment back there.  It would even be easier to just to use a clean damp rag and whip any dust off the coils on this style.  May sure when you push the refrigerator back after cleaning, you leave a couple inches of clearance from the wall to the coils.  This will ensure that they can dissipate the heat correctly.  Holes can be rubbed in the coils if they are touching the wall.  The vibration from the compressor is just enough that over time it can wear through.  Once that happens, no Freon.  No cool.

Note - A Long Skinny Dryer Lint Cleaning Brush Works the Best - see below


How to Clean the Condenser Coils

Cleaning the Coils on your Dusty Coils is the easy part after locating them.  The best thing to use for condensers that are under the fridge is a long dryer lint brush.  The opening to reach under the machine isn'tLint Brushesvery big, so it's not like you are going to get your broom under there or run the sweeper on them.  A combination of the lint brush and a vacuum cleaner hose attachment will get the job done rather well.

If you are cleaning the ones on the back side of the unit, a damp rag would be enough to handle that.  The ones under the refrigerator are the ones that get the dirtiest and require a little more work to clean.  Even if they say your model doesn't require cleaning these, clean them anyway.  They all get dusty and if you have pets, they get hairy too.  Keeping up on this will add years to the life of your refrigerator.  I don't know about you, but this is an appliance I wouldn't want to replace if I don't have too.

If you have any questions regarding the location of your coils or cleaning them, be sure to visit me at Google+ and send me a message.  Just include your model number and I'll send free help your way.