Refrigerator Panel missing over Compressor

I just got a refrigerator from a estate sale. It's much newer than my old one and should be more energy efficient, as well as having a useful sized freezer.
It works fine, but there was a gray cardboard panel over the compressor on the rear of the fridge. It was halfway off the fridge when I bought it, and by the time I got it in my house, that panel had completely fallen off, and is pretty well shreaded and torn.
The panel had holes in it for air circulation of the small fan by the drip pan, and it also had insulation where the compressor motor sits.
Anyhow, it's too well ruined and some pieces are even missing, so it's beyond repair.
Like I said the fridge works fine without that panel. I'm wondering if there is any reason to be concerned about not having it? The only thing I thought could be a problem was if I had small pets (like an indoor cat), that could be hurt by the fan, or ruin the fan itself. But I dont have indoor pets. If I did have indoor pets, I could use the screws from the old panel, and put some hardware cloth over the opening, but since I dont have indoor pets, there dont seem to be a need.
Actually it almost looks like that panel was originally damaged by some sort of animal, (maybe mice), because there were two wires that were abraded by possibly chewing, and had bare spots of exposed copper. I taped those up with electrical tape.
That sure is a lousy design, using molded cardboard, which obviously will get damaged easily. I'm assuming the part with the insulation over the compressor was to prevent fire if that cardboard touched the hot compressor unit, even though I dont think the compressor should get that hot.
Thanks!
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Could the cardboard have been to direct the air flow over the compressor or maybe to blow air over the water that drains when the self-defrosting action puts water into a pan under the refrigerator?
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On Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:51:09 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net"

The holes in the cardboard were by the drain pan, and the fan right in front of it, behind that panel. The insulation was by the compressor. I think that fan is blowing at everything, and seems like it would be less restricted without that panel. But I dont really know????
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On Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 10:51:14 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

That would be my main concern, that part of it's function could have been to channel airflow where it's needed. Without knowing or seeing the design, who knows.....
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On 2/1/2015 7:49 AM, trader_4 wrote:

draw a couple pictures of why. Might be out on the web some where. =========================http://www.pjsappliances.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id "&ItemidY By the way, that back panel (cardboard or metal) at the bottom of your fridge back is important for more than keeping fingers away from the fan and electrical components. It serves to direct the air flow across the condenser to ensure heat removal. =========================
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On 1/31/2015 18:34, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

More likely the insulation was intended to reduce noise. The only other purpose of the cardboard cover is to keep cats away from the compressor and condensate pan.
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On 1/31/2015 9:34 PM, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

directing air flow. It is imporatant, and should be replaced.
Even an old cardboard box cut to shape and duct taped on will be helpful.
No, it is not "running fine" now. There is not enough air flow over the condenser, compressor, and drip pan.
BTW, now is a good time to pull out that plastic drip pan and scrub it. Wash your hands after, the drip pans breed microbes. Snap off the panel from under the fridge, and pull the pan out the front.
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Well, one thing is for sure, the manufacturer didn't spend the time and money to put the cardboard in the compressor area unless it had a positive function. Can you replicate (more or less) what was there and put it back?
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On 02/02/2015 9:24 AM, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

+1
All newer that I've seen use something similar as the fan guard; that's basically all they are. I'd also suggest either the wire screen OP mentioned before or a replacement fabricated from the remaining pieces to roughly match...
The more solid panels do serve a small noise dampening function secondarily I'd expect that the screen wouldn't.
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On Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 7:39:56 PM UTC-7, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Hi, what is the best way to clean behind cardboard?
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