Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Cleaning - Refrigerator Coil Dust from hell

What else to do on a freezing cold, mid-winter Sunday but a manly clean up?

The wife had an urge to clean the heck outta the place and the safest thing to do in such situations is say "OK" and get cleaning.

This led me to decide on some properly manly cleaning and maintenance tasks - cleaning the basement work area, checking on the furnace and humidifier - easy basic surface cleaning and filter changes and working on the downstairs refrigerator.

The downstairs refrigerator cleaning came from watching Alton Brown's Good Eats - a manly cooking show if there ever was one. Where else is there a camera at the back of an oven and Alton explains how and why the food actually cooks on an atomic, chemical and biological level, complete with humorous depictions. And he cooks meat. Which is manly in and of itself.

Back to the refrigerator - on one show he mentioned that the refrigerator coils should be cleaned to ensure best possible functioning and efficiency. Indeed, the coils should be cleaned every 6-12 months. Doing so makes the fridges work more efficiently, prevent overheating the motor, etcetera, etcetera. Just a good maintenance chore to do every 6-12 months.

The fridge downstairs has not been cleaned the 5 years we've lived here, and after opening the kick plate it looks like it probably was not cleaned before then either.

Some fridges have dust bunnies, this fridge had an entire dust warren of bunnies in residence. The coils were barely visible under massive layers of dust that surrounded them and filled the spaces between them.

So cleaning I went. Mind you the website says turn the fridge off first - ha, real men leave the power on in times such as this.

Of course the hand vac we had was under powered and almost useless, indeed the dust laughed and began sucking dirt out of the vacuum, just to show it could. Dust Devil hand vac, my foot, it was more of a Dust pansy.

So I did it the hard way - damp paper towel and careful maneuvering by hand, then with a compressed air can that blew more dust out than the vac, in thick clouds that settled thickly enough to be seen and wiped up, and finally with a baby bottle brush that we don't use for bottles. The coils are now visible and much cleaner than before, even though some dust remains.

So task completed I went on and cleaned other stuff.

The upstairs fridge is a project for next week, and I'm not sure how many new cultures I'm going to meet when I open that kickplate.

Refrigerator coil cleaning - not for the faint of heart, but necessary and a properly manly cleaning task involving power tools, compressed air and danger of electric shock.

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