Time: 30 minutes
More than 70% of refrigerator service calls could be eliminated with routine maintenance. The best way to avoid a breakdown is to clean your condenser coils and fan twice a year. Save yourself from spoiled food or unexpected repairs by giving your refrigerator a little TLC this weekend.
What’s in it for you?
- Fewer repairs
- Longer machine life
- Improved machine efficiency
- Food poisoning prevention
What do you need?
- Coil cleaning brush
Clean Condenser Coils
Condenser coils cool and condense the refrigerant running through your fridge and can’t release heat efficiently when they’re covered in dust. This forces your compressor to work overtime, increasing energy usage and the likelihood of a breakdown.
- Unplug your fridge.
- Roll the fridge away from the wall. Make sure to protect your flooring before moving the unit.
- Locate the fridge coils, usually found behind the base grille underneath the fridge, or behind the fridge. Consider yourself pardoned if your fridge coils are unexposed.
- Clean the coils using a coil cleaning brush or vacuum to remove dirt and debris.
Clean Condenser Fan
If your condenser coils are located underneath the fridge, also clean the condenser fan and the area around it. This fan is used to circulate air across the coils to help keep them cool. Skip this step if your coils are behind the fridge, or are unexposed.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the lower back cover.
- Locate the condenser fan. Most refrigerators have a parts diagram on the back or folded up under the front grille. The location of the fan depends on your fridge, but it will always be next to the compressor.
- Clean the condenser fan using a coil cleaning brush or vacuum to remove dirt and debris.
Remove Debris from Drain Hole
Your fridge constantly produces condensation. The drain hole allows this liquid to flow down and out of the fridge into the drip pan, where it evaporates. If you notice any water pooling at the bottom of your fridge, your drain hole could be obstructed. Skip this step if you don’t see any water accumulation.
- Find the drip opening in your fridge. This is typically located at the bottom of the unit. You may need to remove the bottom crisper drawers for better access.
- Gently insert a plumbing snake into the drain hole. Slowly push it back and forth to loosen any clogs.
- Clean the hole. Pour 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the hole, followed by 2 cups of warm water (a turkey baster works well).
- Watch out for spills as you move on to the next step, cleaning your drip tray.
Clean Drip Tray
Your drip tray collects condensation from the refrigerator and freezer defrost drain, allowing it to evaporate outside of the machine.
- Pull the tray out carefully; it may be full of water.
- Clean the tray using a gentle cloth or sponge and a vinegar/water solution.
- Dry the tray and place it back under the fridge.
- Plug your fridge and roll it back to place. It should be kept a few inches away from the wall for improved air circulation.
Clean & Inspect Door Seal
A tight seal maintains fridge temperature without overworking the motor, saving you from food poisoning, and saving your fridge from breakdowns.
- Inspect the gasket (rubber door seal) for tears or deformities, which can allow cold air to escape.
- Clean the gasket with warm water and a sponge, and dry it completely. Detergent can damage the gasket and should be avoided.
- Keep it clean. If the door is closed on a sticky substance that dries to the gasket, it can glue the gasket to the frame and tear the next time the door is opened.
- Close the door on a dollar bill and try to pull it out. If you can easily remove the dollar, your gasket likely needs to be replaced.
Change Water Filter
If your refrigerator has a water dispenser or icemaker, the filter should be changed twice a year. No one wants to drink moldy bacteria water.
- Replace the old filter. Consult your owner’s manual to determine the type of filter you need, and how to remove the old filter.
- Run a couple of gallons of water through the filter to remove any carbon residue.
If your refrigerator and freezer do not come equipped with a built-in thermometer, you should check the temperature every three months to make sure it is working properly.
- Refrigerator - Put a thermometer in a glass of water, place it in the middle of the fridge, and wait for 5 to 8 hours. If the temperature is not 38°F - 40°F, adjust the refrigerator temperature control and check the unit again in another 5 to 8 hours.
- Freezer - Place a thermometer between two frozen food packages and wait for 5 to 8 hours. If the temperature is not 0°F - 2°F, adjust the freezer temperature control and check the unit again in another 5 to 8 hours.
Find a problem? Call us at 844-99-SUPER and we’ll send a Pro ASAP.