Hi! I’m Blair Gilbert, a.k.a.

MR. HARDWARE

As a third-generation hardware store owner, licensed builder, and finish carpenter, my mission is to help you “do it right the first time!”  On this site, I share expert home and yard DIY advice in over 250 articles and videos. Feel free to dive in!

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  • Why isn’t the refrigerator getting as cold? (8/12/2019) by Blair Gilbert

    Refrigerator condenser coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils clog with dirt, lint and dust, they cannot effectively release heat. Then your compressor works harder, more often and longer, using more energy and shortening its life.

    And the refrigerator keeps colder when the condenser coil fins are clean to dissipate the heat, similar to a radiator of a car. Cleaning the coils more often is necessary due to pets that shed or the area dusty, like in a garage. Clean the condenser coil two times a year.

    Service calls would drop by more than half by simply cleaning the coils because the compressor works less. And cleaning can save up to $10 a month when the refrigerator runs efficiently.

    The newer models may have the condenser coils in an encased compressor housing that does not require cleaning or maintenance.

    The condenser coils are located either under the refrigerator, on the back, or maybe on the top.

    Your primary tools are a vacuum, long thin extension attachment, and brush. A refrigerator coil brush is best because it’s bendable to fit in tight areas. The brush will clean your air conditioner coils, too.

    Unplug the refrigerator before you start just to be sure.

    Condenser coils on the bottom:

    1. Remove base grille. If your coils are located on the back, move the fridge out for access.

    2. Use a vacuum and coil brush to remove the dust and dirt from the coils.

    3. Sweep the floor around the area.

    It’s the same procedure for coils on the back of the refrigerator except you have to back it away from the wall. Be careful of running over the cord or tubing.


    For condenser coils on top of the refrigerator:

    1. Open the grille panel at the top of the refrigerator. The condenser is usually on the right at the back of the machine compartment just behind the compressor.

    2. Use the brush to the right through the center area of the machine compartment to reach the condenser fins.

    3. Use a vacuum hose to remove soil.

    There is a condenser fan that circulates air across the coils to cool them. Your fan may be in a different area, but it’s always next to the compressor. For bottom coils, it can be accessed and cleaned by unscrewing the lower back cover.

    Refrigerators with coils on the back don’t have a fan.

    Also, try wiping out the drip pan that collects water from the defrost cycle that evaporated.

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