Maintain Your Pipes and Your Business

How To Check And Clean A Refrigerator's Evaporator Coils

by Sheila Vasquez

Is your refrigerator not maintaining a constant cold temperature? Is the fan having problems defrosting? If so, you could have a malfunctioning evaporator. You might be tempted to immediately call an appliance specialist to come and diagnose your problem. However, you might want to try cleaning the evaporator yourself to see if it fixes the problem. Often, you can do the job on your own and save a lot of money. This article explains how to locate and clean a traditional refrigerator evaporator.

Locating the Evaporator Coils

First, you need to locate the evaporator coils. The coils are usually at the very back of the refrigerator behind an access panel. Often, this panel will be inside the freezer part of the unit. Before you remove the access panel, you obviously need to unplug the refrigerator. The access panel is easily removed by just taking out a couple of screws.

The evaporator coils are metal and look almost like a grill. The small space between each coil can get clogged, especially if the refrigerator fan is not working. In most cases, the fan will stop working because of frost buildup. Ultimately, this frost buildup is a result of the evaporator not doing its job. It is a cyclical process, and both components depend on each other for normal operation.

Cleaning the Coils

Actually cleaning out the coils is a little bit tricky, mainly because they are a little bit awkward to reach. The key is to use some sort of small stick or dusting device to clean in between each coin. Also, wipe down the entire coil with a wet rag. If you notice any cracks or dents in the coils, you might want to consider having them serviced by a professional.

If a professional suggests that you replace your coils, it might be worth it. On the other hand, if you have an extremely old unit, it might be more practical just buy a brand new refrigerator. While this is a big investment, new refrigerators are much more energy-efficient, so you will gain back some of the money spent. Also, you will not need to invest in an evaporator coil for an old, inefficient refrigerator.   

Cleaning the evaporator coils is about all you can personally do. If the cleaning does not affect the efficiency of the unit and your fan starts to frost over immediately, you might need to see if the problem lies somewhere else. Contact a company like J & M Appliance for more info.