July 20, 2015

How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for cleaning the condenser coils in a refrigerator. The condenser coils at the bottom of the refrigerator collect dust during normal use. When dust coats the condenser coils, the coils can't release heat into the surrounding air, so the refrigerator has to work harder to stay cold. The result is decreased efficiency and poor cooling performance in the refrigerator. Clean the coils at least twice a year—more often if you have pets that shed.

This procedure works for many Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, Frigidaire, Electrolux, LG and Samsung refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Coil brush
Shop vacuum
Dust mask
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the electrical power

    Unplug the refrigerator or shut off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator.

  2. 02.

    Remove the toe grill

    To access the condenser coils, remove the bottom front toe grill. On many refrigerator models, you can pull the grill straight out and off of the refrigerator. Check your owner's manual for instructions for removing the front toe grill on your refrigerator. If the coils are under the refrigerator, remove the toe grill to access the coils.

    Tip: Some refrigerators have the coils on the back instead of below. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall to reach the coils on the back.
    Warning: This project can dislodge a lot of dust. Wear a dust mask to prevent lung irritation.
  3. 03.

    Clean the condenser coils

    Push a coil brush into the condenser coils under the refrigerator. The coil brush knocks the dust off of the condenser coils.  Vacuum the area to pick up the dust. After knocking the dust from the coils with a coil brush, vacuum the dust.

    Tip: After vacuuming the condenser coil area, move the refrigerator and vacuum the area.
  4. 04.

    Reinstall the toe grill

    Snap the bottom front toe grill onto the front of the refrigerator.

    The coils are either at the back of the refrigerator or under it.

    • If the coils are behind the refrigerator, slide the refrigerator far enough away from the wall that you can unplug it; you might want to set cardboard in front of it to protect wood or vinyl flooring. Then continue sliding it away from the wall until you can comfortably work behind it.

    • If the coils are under the refrigerator, remove the front toe grill. On many models, you can pull the grill toward you to remove it. Check your owner's manual for instructions for your refrigerator.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator door gasket

The door gasket seals the gap around the door to keep the cold air in and the warm air out. It’s easy to replace a worn or torn gasket.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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Troubleshooting a refrigerator not cooling video

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