Today's fridge
March 19, 2020 5:04 AM   Subscribe

I had to pull out the fridge for another reason and thought it might be a good time to clean the coils and drip pan. It's a GE side by side refrigerator/freezer that came with the house that I recently moved into. I couldn't find any official information about how to clean the the coils, which I thought was an essential monthly task for energy efficiency and lifespan of the appliance. Likewise about the drip pan, to avoid stink.

I unscrewed a panel in the back and found only a small amount of dog hair around the condenser and about a 1/4 inch of water in a tiny drip area. Does the Refrigerator of Today not require this maintenance? What has changed in fridge design?
posted by SandiBeech to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about your fridge, but until recently I had a 2009-ish model that had a removable grille on the front, below the doors. It was secured with spring clips and could be pulled off without tools, allowing me to reach into the coils and dig out clods of pet hair with a special brush.

The fridge that replaced it only has a grille on the back, and I haven't yet felt compelled to investigate what's accessible through it.
posted by jon1270 at 5:52 AM on March 19, 2020

I have never ever cleaned any of these things, been living independently for 20+ years.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:53 AM on March 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would find the actual model number so you can look for the manual on the GE website because it should tell you what needs to be done.
posted by soelo at 6:45 AM on March 19, 2020

Drip pans with a significant amount of water (I have a GE side by side that is like 10 years old) usually mean there is a back up. You can look up online how to clean it.

Mine has a cardboard panel at the bottom that I occasionally remove and vacuum the inside parts of dust and pet hair, more like every 6 months.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:25 AM on March 19, 2020

Response by poster: Yes, I have looked at the manuals, the paper consumer one and the one showing the electric diagrams that was taped under the fridge. They don't have anything online for my specific model, but I've checked the info for similar models.

What I am curious about is if there has been a change in fridge design that means they do not need this maintenance anymore.
posted by SandiBeech at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2020

I have never had to clean a drip pan, the heat from the compressor and coils evaporates the water completely on the daily.

Coil cleaning can’t hurt. Our fridge has a fan that draws air in from a small front grate just above floor level. It also sucks in dust and pet hair. When we had a long hair cat it would get pretty clogged up front.

If you have an older/smaller fridge without fan forced air flow over the coils you might be able to get away with never cleaning.

If you have a lot of airborne dust, hair, and grease like from a stovetop or fryer near the fridge, probably need to clean. The oil droplets will form a glue like layer and then dust will stick to it.
posted by sol at 10:05 AM on March 19, 2020

Most appliances have evolved to require less maintenance. The flip side of this is that less maintenance is possible by the end user, so problems that do come up are more likely to require replacement or professional assistance. Think how cars have changed.
posted by Lady Li at 1:47 PM on March 19, 2020

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