Over the years, I’ve heard that a dozen times from a dozen appliance experts. Here’s why: The coils’ job is to dissipate the heat that’s removed from the fridge. But gradually, dust blankets the coils, so the fridge has to work harder to shed heat. That means higher electricity bills; I’ve heard estimates as high as $10 per month in wasted energy. Dirty coils also increase your odds of breakdowns.
So last weekend, I finally gave my 8-year-old fridge its first coil cleaning. It didn’t begin well; I couldn’t even find the coils at first. They weren’t under the fridge where I expected them to be, and they weren’t on the back either. So I pulled out the fridge and removed and unscrewed a cover plate. Bingo. From there on, it was a simple matter of sucking up dust with a vacuum. A bendable dryer vent brush ($6 at my local home center) grabbed the dust that the vacuum couldn’t reach. Overall, it was a 15-minute job with a huge payoff.
Manufacturers recommend cleaning coils twice a year. I can’t promise I’ll do that, but now that I know how quick and easy it is, I won’t wait another eight years either.
— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor
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