How to Clean Commercial Refrigerator Condenser Coils

commercial cleaning staff standing behind truck

Most business owners are not likely to think about their commercial refrigerator coils until there’s a problem with the appliance. But, refrigerator coils are an integral part of any commercial refrigerator, whether a reach-in refrigerator for food service or a pharmacy refrigerator. They are responsible for dissipating heat from the appliance as the refrigerant passes through it. 

If you’re having trouble keeping your commercial freezer or refrigerator at a consistent temperature, it could be because the refrigerator coils are dirty. To help you get through the process as easy as possible, we’ve prepared this short guide on how to clean commercial refrigerator condenser coils. 

When Should Commercial Refrigerator Coils Be Cleaned?

Most commercial refrigerator manufacturers recommend cleaning refrigerator coils at least annually. 

If the refrigerator is in an especially dusty or greasy location, you’ll need to clean refrigerator coils more often. The main reason to keep refrigerator coils clean is that the refrigerator cools more efficiently and consistently. If the refrigerator coils are dirty, it can affect the functioning of the compressor, which is the part responsible for distributing refrigerant through the appliance.

When the refrigerator’s internal temperature rises, the condenser adds more refrigerant, bringing the temperature back down. Dirty refrigerator coils can cause the compressor to activate more often, which means the part wears out faster. Compressors are often the most expensive part of the commercial refrigerator to fix, so it’s important to clean refrigerator coils.

How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

Before going about cleaning a refrigerator’s condenser coils, you need to locate them because that will affect your approach. 

If the coils are at the back of the refrigerator, then you may be able to use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to clean condenser coils. However, condenser coils located underneath or in another hard-to-reach place, may require a specialized refrigerator coil brush or a coil cleaning kit to reach them. You may need to remove a protective grill attached to the back of the refrigerator or a rear panel placed over the coils to clean refrigerator coils.

Before you start to clean refrigerator coils and before you start removing protective grills and panels, be sure to unplug the refrigerator first and move it away from the wall. Since coil cleaning may take a while, especially if you never have or if it’s been a long time, move the contents of the refrigerator to another cold place for storage. The refrigerator condenser coils are connected to the electrical components of the fridge, so it can be dangerous to try to clean the condenser coils if the appliance is plugged in.

The grease and grime may have accumulated so much that simply vacuuming or wiping off the refrigerator condenser coils isn’t sufficient. You may use commercial degreasing cleaner on the fridge coils, but always be sure it’s unplugged first, and spray the cleaner on your coil cleaning brush, not directly onto the refrigerator’s condenser coils themselves.

What Happens if the Condenser Coils Aren’t Cleaned Regularly?

A clean refrigerator condenser runs more efficiently than a dirty one. And, the dirt and grime from the dirty condenser coils can get into other parts of the refrigerator, like the compressor, causing unnecessary wear and tear on the parts. Clean refrigerator coils a key for the appliance to operate optimally. 

The coils are responsible for helping the refrigerator to stay cool, so if they aren’t functioning properly, the refrigerator will have to work harder to maintain the proper temperature. This can cause the refrigerator to use more energy, which can lead to higher electricity bills. In addition, the refrigerator will likely have a shorter lifespan if the coils aren’t kept clean. 

Final Thoughts

Refrigerator coils are usually out of sight, so it’s easy to forget them, but if you have dirty condenser coils, the compressor in your commercial appliance will have to work overtime and will need appliance repair more often. Clean fridge coils help your fridge run more efficiently, extending the life of your fridge. However, like all appliances, your refrigerator will eventually wear out. When it’s time to replace or upgrade your commercial reach-in refrigerator, contact HABCO for industry-leading commercial refrigeration equipment.

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