It's important to clean the refrigerator coils once or twice per year. The refrigerator will run less, use less electricity, operate more efficiently, and last longer.
The refrigerator has a compressor that forces refrigerant through coils in the freezer and on the refrigerator's exterior. Evaporator coils in the freezer remove heat from inside. This heat is emitted into the room through the exterior condenser coils.
The coils look like thin tubes, sometimes with connecting fins like a radiator on your car. Some coils are mounted at the rear of the refrigerator. Other are located below the refrigerator, where a fan moves air across the coil. When you stand next to the refrigerator in the winter and feel a warm breeze at your feet, it means the condenser coil and fan are working.
If the exterior condenser coils become dirty, they are less efficient at transferring heat into the air around the refrigerator.
To clean the coils, carefully vacuum them. Remove stubborn dust with a soft brush. You can even buy a coil cleaning brush at a hardware store.
If your refrigerator has coils and a fan below the refrigerator, you will need to remove some access panels to reach the coils. I suggest you follow the specific instructions for your refrigerator and unplug the unit before you attempt to clean the coils.
Cleaning is simple. You will be amazed at how much lint and dust has collected on the coils. If you have pets, you need to clean the coil more often.
Source: SoCal Inspections