All About Your Evaporator Coil and Condenser Unit

So, you’re having troubles with your refrigerator.

This could be for a NUMBER of reasons.

If you suspect the problem lies with your evaporator coil, we have you covered.

This blog will outline everything you need to know about your refrigeration system’s evaporator coil and how to perform DIY fixes on it to ensure your refrigerator is back up and running.

What Is an Evaporator Coil?

First, what IS an evaporator coil?

It’s the part of your refrigerator, air conditioner or heat pump which suck up and absorb heat from inside of your house or in refrigeration cases, the inside of your fridge or freezer.

The majority of household refrigerators contain evaporators which are located on the back wall of the freezer.

These evaporators are made of coils (heat absorbers) and fans to send the cooler air into the food lockers or sections.

How do you define coil?

A coil is an electrical conductor (like a wire) that is shaped like a coil.

Evaporators are able to cool the air to freezing cold temperature, however by the time that air gets to your fresh food section, it will be ever so slightly warmer — which is why the food and beverages you store in your refrigerator don’t freeze over.

How the Condenser Unit and Evaporator Coil Work Together

The condenser and evaporator coils within a refrigerator create a heat exchange system. This is the basic role of a refrigerant. The evaporator coil contains the chilled refrigerant which the compressor puts into it.

While the air from the fan waves over the coil, the refrigerant takes the heat from your home’s or refrigerator’s air. The refrigerant warms and moves to the outer condenser coil.

Now, if your refrigerator is cold, but not cold enough your condenser coil or evaporator coil may need to be cleaned.

Time to call the cheapest condenser unit and evaporator coil cleaner there is: You!

How to Clean your Evaporator or Condenser Coil

cleaning your evaporator coils

Image via WikiHow

Cleaning your refrigeration coils needs to happen whenever your fridge’s productiveness starts to slow. They also need to be cleaned more often if you have hair shedding pets or a lot of dust in the house.

To clean your condenser coils, you’ll need to locate them first. Typically, they are either under the refrigerator and behind the base grill, near the back of the refrigerator or on top of the refrigerator.

NOTE: unplug your refrigerator from the wall outlet before performing maintenance or cleaning. Safety first!

Here are three common ways of cleaning your condenser coil, depending on its location on your refrigerator.

Process for Cleaning Coils Located on the Bottom of Your Refrigerator

  1. Unplug your refrigerator
  2. Remove the base grill
  3. Get a refrigerator coil brush and brush away dust, pet hair, dirt that may have landed on the coils
  4. Replace the grill
  5. Re-plug refrigerator into the wall

Process for Cleaning Coils Located at the Back of Your Refrigerator

  1. Unplug your refrigerator and pull it back from the wall
  2. Wipe away any dirt, dust, pet hair from the condenser coils using a coil brush
  3. Push back your refrigerator against the wall
  4. Re-plug your refrigerator into the outlet

Process for Cleaning Coils Located on Top of Your Refrigerator

  1. Disconnect the power located on the fuse box or the circuit breaker
  2. Lift the grill panel located at the top of your refrigerator. Make sure to wear long sleeve and work gloves as the condenser has sharp edges.
  3. Take a soft bristle brush and reach to the middle area of the refrigerator, a bit to the right. Remove dust from the condenser fins. Use a vacuum to completely remove dirt.
  4. Reconnect the power on the fuse box.

It’s also recommended to vacuum the fan after bushing down the coils.

If you can see the fan and if it’s easily assessible, a good vacuum will help move the air across your refrigerator’s condenser coil. Accumulated dust and dirt slows airflow, negatively affects the balance and contributes to premature compressor failure

Evaporator Coil and Condenser Unit: Conclusion

Since condenser coils are the most exposed mechanical part of your refrigerator, they tend to gunk up the quickest and therefore require the most maintenance.

If you keep your condenser coils clean and healthy, your evaporator coils will also reap the rewards. As mentioned at the beginning, these two parts work closely together. If one of these parts fail, the other will experience issues as well.

By knowing exactly where your condenser unit and coils are and how to clean your specific unit, depending on where the coils are located, you’ll be able to fix one of the most common refrigeration issues quickly and efficiently. Keep your daily life stress free and become an expert on your household appliances so you can get back to working on what’s most important!

Feature image via Free Ed

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