Troubleshooting Refrigerator Condenser Coils

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15
What You'll Need
Vacuum cleaner
Liquid soap

The refrigerator condenser coils are the black coils found usually at the back of the refrigerator. The refrigerator condenser coils can also be found at the top or at the bottom of the unit depending on the model. These coils are very important in the cooling process because they allow the highly pressurized and heated refrigerants to get cooled. This is the reason why the refrigerator condenser coils are usually warm. Sometimes, the refrigerator loses its efficiency due to dirty condenser coils. Read on for more information.

Common Issues Caused By Dirty Condenser Coils

A fridge in a kitchen.

When the coils at the back, the top or the bottom of the fridge get dirty, they cause several issues. One example is that the appliance does not cool off properly. This is because the compressor is not working efficiently due to the dirt that is covering the coils. Since the compressor causes the refrigerants to heat up, they need to cool down as well. If the refrigerator condenser coils are dirty, then the refrigerant running through the coils cannot lose heat easily. The dirt acts as an insulator and does not allow the heat to dissipate.

Another issue is that the compressor does not stop its cycle, and is thus constantly on. Constant compressor activity eats up a lot of energy, thus adding to the electric bills. Sometimes, the compressor may still turn off, but it easily turns on again. This uncharacteristically quick transition of cycles is an indication that there is something wrong with the condenser coils.

When the unit does not run, this may be blamed on dirty condenser coils, unless there is an issue with the circuit or other parts of the fridge. Dirty condenser coils cause the compressor to overheat. Overheating causes the compressor to stop working, and therefore, the entire refrigeration process stops as well. The solution to these problems is to clean the dust and grime that is sticking to the condenser coils.

Cleaning the Condenser Coils

A man works on a fridge.

The condenser coils can be cleaned easily with a vacuum and a duster. Simply stroke the duster at the coils to remove the dust. In order not to allow the dust to stick back to the coils, use a vacuum cleaner to suck it up. The duster can easily remove the dust from the coils but may not easily remove grime that is sticking to them.

To remove grime, wipe the coils with a rag soaked in soapy water. But do this only when the fridge is unplugged. The damp rag will easily remove the grime that is stubbornly sticking on the coils. If not, use a coil brush. Since a rag may not be sufficient enough to remove grime from hard to reach areas, the brush can be used for further cleaning. Afterward, wipe the coils with a clean dry cloth. Before plugging the unit back, allow the coils to dry completely.

Cleaning the coils should be done at least once a year for maintenance. If there are pets inside the house, then every 6 months is a better option.