cleaning a refrigerator with coils underneath?

Hi all,
started "spring cleaning" in my kitchen this AM. Am stuck on refrigerator. Every one I've owned has had the coils on the back where it was simple to just pull the fridge out, quick swipe with dust brush on vacuum, et voila. Well apparently this fridge has the coils *underneath...* how does one clean those without tipping the fridge on its side? Not enough room to get any vacuum attachments under there. Looks like the previous owners of the house never cleaned it either.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Underneath, or inside? My fridge has the coils in a round configuration around a fan which you can access by removing the back cover (lower 1/4) to clean. If truly underneath, I'd suggest a vacuum with crevice nozzle as close as you can get, and then poke back under with a toilet brush to dislodge dust.
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wrote:

Use this http://www.acehardware.com/sm-rubbermaid-and-reg-refrigerator-coil-brush-g156-12--pi-1279693.html and a vacuum cleaner. Unplug the fridge first. You'd be suprised at the scare when you hit that moving condenser fan with your brush. :-) Bubba
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Bubba wrote:

http://www.acehardware.com/sm-rubbermaid-and-reg-refrigerator-coil-brush-g156-12--pi-1279693.html
Thanks, figures there was a special tool. Are those typically found in the Big Boxes or will I need to order one? I figure between that and one of these:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item#0318802054
I should be good (already ordered the flex tool, as there's a lot of lint buildup in my dryer that it looks like that would be just the ticket for.)
I'm not enamored of the fridge design, not only is it a PITA to clean the coils, but you can't remove the drip tray for cleaning either. Would it be advisable to leave some Lysol or similar in the bottom of it? Looks like stuff has been growing in there a while. (probably about 20 years...)
nate
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wrote:

I dont think Id have ordered the flex tool. Just looks "silly" if you ask me. Seems its only for a certain sweeper too?? You'll find the brush in most hardware stores and big box stores. If the drip pan is rubber or plastic Id just put a small amount of bleach premixed in water and pour it in there. Not too strong though. Bubba
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Bubba wrote:

for $15 I'll give it a try, and that is the kind of vacuum that I have. I have some low bookshelves etc. as well that the regular floor tool won't fit under, if it works it'll save me some work. Have to keep an eye out for one of those brushes.
nate
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Bubba sent you a link to Ace Hardware. I've also seen refrigerator condensor brushes at Home Depot. Go to major appliances, and ask. Abotu seven bucks. About two feet long, with a wooden handle.
You will need three hands. 1) Brush, 2) vacuum cleaner hose, 3) flashlight.
As a repair guy, I have made a lot of money with a condensor brush. Brought a lot of refrigerators back to life, that way.
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Persoanlly, I think the easiest and best way to clean them is to blow them out with compressed air if you have a compressor, although it can be little messy for the surrounding area. Bubba-- remember the good old days when we would just hit them with some 22, or even 12? Larry
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2009 16:53:29 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Lp1331 1p1331) wrote:

hehe. Shhhhhhh. Remember the gallons and gallons of R-11 flush that you cleaned just about everything with? Ahhh, the good ol days. Bubba
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Yep, that's when R-12 was thirty bucks a jug.
You can do that under a refrig, if you want. The brush and vacuum cleaner hose is much better, most of the dust goes right into the vac.
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wrote:

My coils are near the floor also. You can purchase a brush made specifically for this (HD or Lowes). But still, be gentle with the coils. I use both this brush and the brush attachment to a vacuum and get 80% of it. It needs cleaning about twice a year, maybe more than that if you have furry pets. Obviously(!), not a good idea to tip/move the fridge, unless absolutely necessary. And don't even think about using compressed air.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

leaf blower... LOL! get a skinny tube for your vac. Even a piece of 1/2" pvc adapted to your hose with UAT (universal adapting tape) will do the job.
steve
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I've had good success rolling up a piece of heavy card stock into a funnel then taping it together and then taping it to my vacuum hose. works pretty well.
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Like Bubba said, get a "condenser brush". Besides the hardware store and Home Depot/Lowe's, appliance parts stores will have them. Even places that mostly do small appliances (like vacuum cleaners) usually have them. Also like he said, unplug the refrigerator first - there is a fan that blows air over the condenser coils and the blade usually doesn't have any kind of a shroud or guard around it.
The grill on the front of the refrigerator at the bottom usually unclips (by pulling straight forwards) or unscrews so you can get at the coils from the front. If it has screws, put the screws up on the kitchen counter or in your pocket when you get them out, so you don't kick them under the refrigerator, or suck them up with the vacuum.
If it's really crudded up and you're having trouble getting at it from the front, there is often a panel on the rear you can take off to get more access. You'll have to pull the refrigerator out away from the wall to do this. The panel is maybe a foot (30 cm) tall and not quite the width of the refrigerator. Sometimes it just clips on and sometimes there are some screws around the edge (often 1/4" or 5/16" hex head) that you have to take out first - again, stow the screws somewhere safe. From the back you can probably also see and reach the condenser fan blade; you might clean it off with a rag or the brush if there is lots of dust built up on the blades.
As for the drip pan not coming out - you might get a strong light and inspect it closely. Often these are taped down to the frame at the bottom of the refrigerator with a couple of pieces of tape when the fridge is shipped from the factory. If it's never been cleaned, these pieces of tape might still be there (maybe hiding under a dust bunny).
When you get it all put back together and plug it back in, don't freak out if it seems like it's running for a very long or very short amount of time. Let it run and check on it again in 24 hours. If it hasn't settled down by then, or if you notice some other problem (like your food isn't staying cold), then investigate further.
Matt Roberds
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snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net wrote in wrote:

The manuals normally tell you how. Besides I can't believe you don't knot how to do it. Amazing!
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Lisa BB. wrote:

It's a 20 year old fridge that came with the house. Besides I can't believe that you know how to do EVERYTHING.
Yes, I probably could have figured something out myself, but the 1st or 2nd reply led me to a "special tool" that I didn't know existed, so there's a reason I post.
sheesh.
nate
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{in sarcastic voice...} Lisa....
What, you expect *GUYS* to keep and read manuals????
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snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net wrote in wrote:

Wal-Mart has them. Also,use a cardboard tube from Xmas wrapping paper on your ShopVac hose;the tube can squish down a bit to slip under the fridge.
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Jim Yanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

That's a great idea, thanks guys. I couldn't find a "condenser brush" but I did find a dryer vent brush and took another swipe at it, got a lot more spoo out. I really do need to get vacuum all the way to the back though because I can see more dust that the brush won't knock loose. I did finally find the receipt/manual for the fridge and it was purchased by the POs in 1988... amazing it's lasted this long with the dust hares that accumulated under it. Wonder if my electric bill will go down now? (I can dream)
nate
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That's a great tip!
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