One of the most common causes of early death for modern fridges

One of the most common causes of early death for modern fridges is dust and pet hair. Vacuum your condenser at least every year (may need to unplug it first if there are any spinning fans, or if you need to remove the cover around back of the machine to clean in there). Check it 6 months after the first time you do it. If there are dust bunnies then you may need to vacuum every 3-6 months.

A fridge works by moving heat from inside the freezer/fridge to outside the machine. It gives off the heat to your house so that it can “steal” more from inside the machine.

The condenser is the “grill” looking black tubes under or behind the fridge (usually the size of a pencil and/or the “lead” in the pencil). The condenser is the part of the fridge that releases the heat into the room. If it cannot release that heat (like when it is covered in a blanket of dust) the heat stays in the system. I usually use the analogy that it’s like fetching water from a well (inside the fridge). Then you carry the water home from the well (outside the fridge –condenser) but only empty half the bucket before going back to the well for a second trip. This would take more trips to get the same amount of water. This excessive running (trips) makes the fridge less efficient and makes it runs longer and respond slower when trying to cool food you put in. This means the fridge will last less time in years and cost you more in electricity to get the same job done. If a fridge is made to last for 15 years running 1hr per day, how long will the same fridge last with a dirty condenser, running 3 hrs per day and running hotter than normal?

Remove the grill on the front near the floor. Are there black tubes there? If so, clean them using the method below. If not, check the back of the fridge. You may have to remove a cover near the bottom of the back if you do, make sure to turn off the power at the breaker box or unplug the machine.

The best tools for this are a flashlight, a long soft bristled bottlebrush and a vacuum. Insert the brush and rotate/roll it 90-180 degrees. Pull it out slowly and vacuum off the brush. Shine the flashlight to see where to clean and repeat. I keep the vacuum running nearby on the floor to suck up any dust that breaks loose into the air.