Clean the coils on your fridge monthly to save energy and extend the life of the appliance. “Clean the coils by brushing them off or by using the brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner. If the coils are behind a grill, remove the latter and use a brush made just for this purpose.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press]


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  1. markrubi says:

    common sense goes a long way. Clean out your dryers lint screen every load and switch to the flex metal type vent hoses to help avoid fires. If lint catches fire in the plastic type.. well you know it’s just fuel for the fire. It’s also good to open the dryer up and get the lint out of the areas not easily accessed once in awhile. Blow the dust off your computers power supply, cpu etc… Clean the bugs out of your cars radiator coils (engine, tranny, a/c)

  2. rouftop says:

    Love the eggshell walking on that last answer:

    “It’s terribly unfortunately that in this land of milk and honey so many Americans are denied health insurance or the means to protect their medical health without financially affecting the rest of us.”

    What other country is there that doesn’t share the cost of health care with “the rest” of their citizens?

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    Monthly?!?!? Crap!

    [Pulls out fridge]

    Um… there are no coils just a metal panel, and now my cutting board fell back there and I can’t reach it…

  4. DeleteThisAccount says:

    @Mercurypdx: They are UNDER your fridge… mostly older models have them on back.

  5. swalve says:

    Cleaning the coils on any refrigeration-type devices is very important to efficiency. Good tip.

    Though I’m not sure dust in a computer makes it less energy efficient.

  6. MercuryPDX says:
  7. MercuryPDX says:

    P.S. Two dogs worth of pet hair under there…

  8. DeleteThisAccount says:

    I clean mine out every other week when I vacuum the sofas… Hardwood floors throughout really lets the dust accumulate on those coils…

  9. mantari says:


    I went from 1.1KWH/day to .7KWH/day by cleaning the coils. When the refrigerator cycles on, it makes it run for a shorter period of time (to achieve the same amount of cooling).

    Savings: 146KWH/year @ $0.09/KWH = $13.14.

    LOL. Oh well, at least it almost makes it worth the effort to do the cleaning. The payback might be better if you’re paying out the nose for electricity.

  10. thebigbluecheez says:

    When we installed a new commercial sized refrigerator in my mom’s remodeled kitchen, it simply would NOT get below 40 degrees (F). I downloaded the manual and cleaning the coils was the first thing it recommended in that case. I did, and the fridge was down to 34(F) within the hour.

    So you’re not just saving on electricity, you could be keeping your fridge from malfunctioning.

    Very good hint, consumerist!

  11. derobert says:

    @swalve: It only minimally affects the efficiency (variable speed fans will run faster). The actual reason is to make the machine run cooler (=last longer) and prevent the fans from clogging with dust, lent, etc.

  12. Protector says:

    …and I’m going to get to those coils on the bottom of my fridge how?

  13. MercuryPDX says:

    @Protector: Check the link in my comment.

    Bonus: We can get away with every 6 months. :)

  14. homerjay says:

    I keep forgetting to do this when I clean. Could you guys maybe send me an email every month to remind me? :)

  15. luminus says:

    I live in chattanooga and totally glossed over this article in the paper over the weekend. Because i thought, who’s really gonna do that? Sounds awful.

    But now that it is on the consumerist, I promise to do it about 3 times a year.

  16. bohemian says:

    When we moved into our current house the fridge that came with it wouldn’t get cold enough. We cleaned the coils underneath it and ta-da it started keeping things cold enough. The people who lived here before us had pets, we pulled out enough felt to make a blanket.

    Home Despot sells a long skinny brush on a handle specifically for cleaning the coils under the fridge. It was the best $6 I spent last year. It looks like a giant bottle brush.

  17. @bohemian: Those brushes are also good for a periodic cleaning of the dryer’s lint trap “casing.” Since some lint inevitably escapes the trap and gets into the place where the lint trap lives.

    (My last dryer I did this a LOT; my new dryer hardly any lint escapes, so I do it maybe twice a year.)

  18. MsClear says:

    How do I get to the coils if they are underneath the fridge?

  19. DeleteThisAccount says:

    @MsClear: There is usually a snap-off panel at the bottom front of the fridge. If you have a Whirlpool or Kitchenaid side by side, your water filter is usually down there. Once you take that off, you’ll see the coils snaked around in there. Also be sure to avoid the condensation drip pan unless you have a wet/dry vacuum.

  20. MercuryPDX says:
  21. jrdnjstn78 says:

    Yeah if it where so easy! The place that I live in, they way they put in the refridgerator is mind boggling! I have an island, which my stove is paced on top of that and it’s right in front of the fridge. I have about 2 feet of clearance. The fridge is placed in a cubby kind of hole. The fridge is about to go out anyday and I doubt I can even take it out of that clearance with the island in the way. I thought about taking off the doors but I still doubt it’ll get out. Some people just don’t think when they are building things.

    My fridge is about as old as the Ten Commandments and I’m dying to replace it!

  22. superborty says:

    I’m all for saving money and helping the environment….. BUT……, not about to lift up the fridge for the $5.00 in savings!!????