Cause & Effect: Clean This Today to Save Major Money Tomorrow

Cause & Effect: Clean This Today to Save Major Money Tomorrow

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Taryn Williford
Jun 27, 2017
(Image credit: Adam Stewart)

If you pride yourself on keeping a tidy home, there's stuff around the house you want to do. Like buying an organizer for the junk drawer. That right there is like a drug to Monica Geller types. But no matter how much you enjoy cleaning up, there are still some chores that are, well, chores.

Cleaning the fridge coils is one of those things. Hidden somewhere on your refrigerator is a winding section of tubing called a condenser coil — it's there to exchange the heat from inside the fridge and send it out to the kitchen to keep the food and supplies inside cool and fresh. Over time, the coil collects dust and dirt (and pet hair—so much pet hair) from around the room, and the build up can make it hard for the coil to do its job.

If you don't clean your condenser coil regularly (around twice a year), you could be throwing away money ($5 to $10 a month) to power your inefficient fridge. And if you're a homeowner, you should know that dirty coils will lead to frequent and costly repairs, and ultimately a shorter life for your hardest working — and very expensive — kitchen appliance.

How to Clean Fridge Coils

First things first: Unplug your fridge, or cut off power to the breaker (your food should be fine inside as long as you don't open the fridge).

Next — because every refrigerator is different — you're going to want to locate the condenser coil on your specific model. Your fridge coil might be on the back of the fridge, behind a kick plate or grille on the front or back of the bottom, or maybe even behind a panel on top of the fridge. If you're not sure where the coil is located, a quick search online with your specific make and model should uncover a direct answer (and if you're lucky, a YouTube tutorial).

Once you've found the coil, you can gently vacuum around it with a small attachment on your vacuum hose, sucking up any dust and hair you see from the area. (But while you're in there, take care to not knock anything out of place or bend any of the lines.)

When you're done, just remember to plug in and power the fridge back up.

If your fridge coil is hidden, hard to get to, or you'd just rather outsource this chore, you can always call a pro to come clean the coil for you. It'll be much cheaper and easier than dealing with repairs down the line.

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