Your refrigerator is one of the largest, most-used appliances in your home. It requires only minimal maintenance, just simple cleaning of the condenser coils, which disperse heat. If the coils are covered with dust, gunk, or pet hair, they cannot diffuse the heat properly, and the unit will not run efficiently.

A bigger problem can result if the compressor burns out from continually running because of the grimy coating. Compressors are an expensive problem to fix, so consider taking the time to clean your refrigerator coils once a year.

Locate the refrigerator’s coil, a grid-like structure, or fan that will likely have a covering or grate protecting it. The coil is usually concealed behind the front toe-kick or in the back. Some newer models have internal coils, so if you do not see them in the front or back, this may be the case with your fridge.

If the coil is in the back, slide the refrigerator away from the wall, removing the plug from the electrical outlet if possible. You may also need to disconnect the line to the water dispenser or ice maker to allow enough room to work.

Gently vacuum and clean the coil. Using the brush or crevice attachment, carefully vacuum the dust and dirt wherever you see it. Be sure to vacuum and wipe down the sides and back of the refrigerator and the floor.

Once everything is dry, plug the refrigerator back in, and rearrange the power cord and supply lines, so they don’t get kinked or stuck under the refrigerator’s weight or behind it. Slide the refrigerator back into place. Be sure to replace the toe-kick panel if it was removed.