Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

March 9, 2009

Keep Your Refrigerator Coils Clean

Category: Household,Save Electricity,Tips – Tom Harrison – 5:48 pm

trifectaI may have just had the tri-fecta of appliance repair.

Our fridge has been leaking water on the kitchen floor at seemingly times for several, um, a-hem, years now and after my wife nearly killed herself slipping on the water (and me with her subsequent “look”), it seemed like the appropriate waiting period for self-resolution/miracle had expired.

refrigerator-coils-before-cleaning-400So I pulled out the fridge from its nook and started poking around the back. What I found was huge masses of dust. I have one of those brushes on a long, bendy wire and vacuumed and brushed my way around until things were clear.

Then I started looking for the cause of the problem, which I surmised (after several years of looking for a pattern) was due to the automatic defroster, which heats up from time to time, melting the frost. What I didn’t know until later was that it drained out a little hole in the bottom of the freezer. But as I poked around, I realized why the ice maker had not worked since 1999, a year after we bought the fridge — it was a simple kink in the water feed hose. Un-kinked and securely duct-taped in place, I felt victorious already.

Then I Googled around for the model number of my fridge, and someone far more clever than I described the solution. I’ll be brief and say: it involved a turkey baster — the drain was clogged with frozen water. A quick flush with warm tap water clear things out, and my problem was solved. Bada bing!

refrigerator-coil-brush_fullBut why the tri-fecta, you ask — that’s only two problems solved. It occurred to me that the huge amounts of dust built up all over the place would significantly reduce the efficiency of the refrigerator. Cleaning the dust out is a messy job, but not all that hard to do. Here’s an article from eHow for details. although I would add that a brush such as one in the photo would be helpful — try the Fuller Brush company.

I am not sure how much energy I’ll save, but it’s most certainly “some”. And actually, if having the ice-maker working again means we open the freezer door less, then maybe I even get “some more”.

But I am happy with fixing three things in one shot. Normally, it’s more like I don’t fix the thing I was trying for, and break something else.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. While reading I keep thinking about mentioning cleaning you dryer vent for energy savings and there it was mentioned at the end. So thorough!

    Comment by Alyssa — March 10, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  2. Alyssa — credit where credit is due; my thoroughness is brought to you by a WordPress plugin called “Yet Another Related Posts” which, after scanning a new post looks for ones it thinks may be similar. It’s pretty good, n’est pas?

    Comment by Tom Harrison — March 10, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  3. Thanks a lot for helpful article! Many people never heard about coils cleaning )))

    Comment by Alexa — July 20, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

  4. cleaning really addresses a lot of concerns when it comes to our electronic appliances like refrigerators. thanks for sharing your experience. it will surely help in saving a lot of things!

    Comment by mackenzie madison — March 10, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

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