Refrigerator Dangers - Part One Of Two

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

How many of us can live without a fridge?  I would guess none! We kind of like ours - we have one in the kitchen, and a second in the basement along with two upright freezers.  And they are all full!  We have over 100 cubic feet of refrigerated space in our house!  Oh, I forgot the small one in the Redskin Room (the Cuchihuasi, a Quechua word which means Hog House) for sodas.

A very important regular maintenance which you should undertake regards the refrigerator coils.  A fan runs often sending air over the coils.  This fan can draw in dust over time.

How often do you clean yours?  How often should you?

The rule of thumb for cleaning used to be once a year.  Has that changed?

Where are your coils?  In an older fridge, prior to 1990 or so depending on the model, they are accessed from behind.

On newer models they are underneath, and accessed from the front.  Some are on top.

NOT cleaning the coils dramatically affects efficiency and performance.  A very old fridge, which people used to put in the basement or garage when they got a new one, could cost $1.50 or more every day in electricity!  Very new fridges cost $25 - $50 per year!  SO IT IS BEST TO GET RID OF VERY OLD MODELS.  But, old or new, efficiency is affected by dirtiness, as with any compressor mechanism.

Replacing any old fridge is VERY GREEN.  It is "green" because it dramatically saves money and energy.  The best way to "go green," as they say, is to unfetter a free-market economy to innovate and improve consumer products to pursue profits.  If a company invents or improves any product such that end users will save big bucks from better efficiency, those end users will flock to that new product.  Profits result!  "GREEN" is the very essence of free-market economics.  Pure and simple.  But I digress!

What do you need to clean your coils?

A screwdriver, a vacuum cleaner with its attachments, and soapy water.

The steps:

1.  Pull out and unplug your fridge.  If you have a new model and the coils are on the bottom you may not have to pull it out.  The coils are behind the kick plate on the bottom front.

2.  Remove the cover plate.

3.  Take your vacuum and whichever attachment looks best, and clean the dusty coils.  The brush attachment for upholstery works well.

4.  If it has been a while since the last cleaning, you may need to use some soapy water.  Expect grease.

5.  Replace the cover plate, clap your hands, and say, "Done!"  You can raise your fist in triumph too...

How often should this be done?  If your coils are underneath and in front, just walking by kicks up dust, which gets sucked into the underside and over the coils.  So probably once a year.  If they are behind you have an older model and SHOULD REPLACE IT!  But if you can't you should also clean once a year!

My recommendation:  DO IT!  If you don't clean your coils you are literally playing with fire.  You are certainly playing with higher electric bills.  Your appliances account for about 12% of your monthly bills.  Why not have them operating efficiently?

The next post:  More Dangers!  You might be surprised...

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mike Leibel 11/10/2010 07:48 AM
  2. Jennifer Dulmaine 11/10/2010 09:46 PM
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
446,816
Gay E. Rosen
Houlihan Lawrence - Larchmont, NY
Honest, Hardworking and always Professional!

Jay - thanks for the great advice... we all need to hear it. Best, Gay

Nov 10, 2010 07:44 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You are quite welcome Gay.  We try...

Nov 10, 2010 07:52 AM #4
Ambassador
1,488,983
Michael Thornton
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297

Good morning Jay, this is actually on my to do list this week. Timely post... 

Nov 10, 2010 08:00 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Hola Miguel.  Good!  Tuned in, huh?  We must be.  You often post things on my mind too!

Nov 10, 2010 08:03 AM #6
Rainmaker
291,000
Fred Hernden
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Tampa Bay Area - Tampa, FL
Tampa Bay area Home Inspector

Good stuff Jay! I clean mine when I think about it, not like it's on a maintenace schedule or anything. I also have a undercounter wine cooler that is the same way... under the unit and you will definitely be surprised how much stuff collects there!

Nov 10, 2010 08:07 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Who has such a maintenance schedule Fred?!  This is one of those out of sight, out of mind items...

Nov 10, 2010 08:09 AM #8
Rainer
164,830
Mike Leibel
CIR Realty - Calgary, Chestermere, Balzac & Airdrie - Calgary, AB
Associate Broker

Great Blog Jay.  I am going to add this to my annual "to-do" list.

Nov 10, 2010 08:10 AM #9
Ambassador
1,082,363
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, great information----one of my least favorite jobs :)

Nov 10, 2010 10:19 AM #10
Ambassador
494,602
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

I thought that my fridge was broken once, and the repair guy cleaned the coils...  I never had that problem again!

Nov 10, 2010 12:08 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Mike.  Glad you enjoyed it enough to add it to your list!

Charlie - a home inspection inspired this.  The fridge was "warm," and looking under the front it wasn't hard to determine why.  They apparently never vacuumed in the kitchen and the fan sucked all that into the fridge!

Chris - and since...?  Have you cleaned it again?  Like Charlie says, it is his favorite job.  I think that's what he said...

Nov 10, 2010 12:30 PM #12
Rainmaker
632,950
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

It's been a while since I have done my main frig. The one in basement...I'll be looking at that one soon.

Nov 10, 2010 07:28 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, Doctor, open'er up and see how the patient is doing!

Nov 10, 2010 07:30 PM #14
Rainer
369,954
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

Having grown up in a house which required deeeeeeeep cleaning 4 times a year, I've been duly trained to do this, along with windows, curtains/drapes, carpets/rugs, washing machine and dryer -- the list goes on.  But let me tell you -- the things I have seen in some houses, uck!!!  Oh, yeah, you see them all the time -- never mind.  Had to lean on the button for this one . . .

Nov 10, 2010 08:31 PM #15
Rainer
73,993
Jennifer Dulmaine
Keller Williams Realty - Spencer, MA
Seth Campbell Realty Group

It is going on my list of things to do and past it along to others... sometimes we barely can do the cleaning that shows, but this one is so important. Thanks for sharing

Nov 10, 2010 09:47 PM #16
Rainmaker
341,953
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Advantage Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Jay, this is a great maintenance tip! Thanks for the reminder to clean the coils! Now I have more to do than watch football this weekend!  ;)

Nov 10, 2010 11:43 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Gilda, um Tish!  Actually, in the olden days, it was recommended that you clean your fridge coils 4 times a year!

Jen - sure, pass it along!  It is good info.

There you go Don.  Although, if the TV is in the front of the fridge and you unplug the fridge you are out of luck...

Nov 11, 2010 05:35 AM #18
Rainmaker
229,481
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Home Inspections

Good advice, Jay.  I only get to cleaning my fridge about once every two years, but hey, at least I do it.

Nov 11, 2010 05:37 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Mine is a year old this October Reubs...  Should I get around to it?

Nov 11, 2010 07:10 PM #20
Rainmaker
579,028
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Great info Jay.  Hopefully you don't mind if I ad a link to it to my Facebook page.  FYI-I saw your part 2 first actually and didn't see a link to this one there. It was great info as well!!! You might want to link them to each other.

Nov 12, 2010 01:19 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,231,301
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

DeeDee - thanks for the tip.  I will!  Glad you enjoyed them both and sure, put it on Facebook!

Nov 12, 2010 02:30 PM #22
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,231,301

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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