While it isnโ€™t uncommon for homeowners to clean out their refrigerators, and even go a step further to polish the outside doors and handles, there is one grossly overlooked component of any refrigerator and that is the condenser coils

Routine refrigerator maintenance is essential if you want to cut down on costly repairs and extend the life of this important home appliance. This is especially the case with Sub-Zero refrigerators. Manufacturers and refrigerator repair technicians suggest cleaning your refrigerator condenser coils at least once a year. But if you have pets, it is recommended that you clean them every 6 months. 

If you are one of the many people that donโ€™t know where your Sub-Zero refrigeratorโ€™s condenser coils are, much less know how to clean them, then this guide is for you. 

What Are Condenser Coils and What Do They Do?


In common refrigerator brands, the condenser coils are located on either the back of the refrigerator or on the bottom of the unit. This all depends on the brand of course. However, Sub-Zero refrigerators are in a class all their own. On Sub-Zero refrigerators the condenser coils are located on the top of the unit behind the large grille, and can be easily accessed by simply lifting the grille up to expose the condenser coils.

Simply put, your refrigeratorโ€™s compressor pumps coolant through the condenser coils to literally pull heat out of the interior of the refrigerator and cool the system. Without functional condenser coils, your refrigerator would be, well, hot inside. 

Because condenser coils are responsible for the actual cooling of your refrigerator, when they get dirty with dust or dander they are prevented from effectively cooling the unit. Making sure your Sub-Zeroโ€™s condenser coils are clean will help keep your unit running effortlessly for years to come. 

Signs That Your Refrigerator Condenser Coils Are Dirty & Need Cleaning 

If you have noticed your refrigerator isnโ€™t operating at full capacity, or the temperature is fluctuating and unusually warm, then it is likely due to dirty condenser coils. If you have seen a spike in your electricity bill and you hear your refrigeratorโ€™s compressor running non-stop, dirty condenser coils could be the culprit. 

Dirty refrigerator condenser coils can wind up costing you if they arenโ€™t properly cleaned and maintained. When dirt accumulates on the coils it prevents the compressor from cycling off and ultimately uses up more electricity to keep your Sub-Zero refrigerator cool. This can lead to expensive repairs and higher electricity bills. Dirt left to linger on the condenser coils for long periods of time could result in your compressor burning out and needing to be replaced. 

Conducting a visual inspection is the best way to see that your condenser coils are dirty and need to be cleaned. To access the condenser coils, look to the top of your Sub-Zero unit and lift up the protective grille. If you see dirt, dust, pet hair or debris caked on the coils, youโ€™ll need to clean them. 

Lastly, If you have never cleaned your condenser coils since purchasing your Sub-Zero refrigerator, and itโ€™s been over a year, chances are they need to be cleaned. Follow the simple 5-step cleaning instructions listed below to make sure you are properly cleaning and maintaining your Sub-Zero refrigerator. 

How to Clean Sub-Zero Refrigerator Condenser Coils

As previously mentioned, unlike your typical refrigerator, Sub-Zero units offer easier access to the condenser coils and are located at the top of the unit. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions to effectively clean your Sub-Zero condenser coils. 

Items that will come in handy to clean your condenser coilsโ€ฆ 

  • Step ladder
  • Screwdriver 
  • Vacuum cleaner with an appliance brush attachment 
  • A soft, damp cloth 

Step 1: Power off Your Refrigerator – Refer to your ownerโ€™s manual to see how to properly turn off your model of Sub-Zero refrigerator. You could opt to unplug it while you clean the condenser coils. 

Step 2: Remove the Protective Condenser Grille – For most Sub-Zero models the grille is found at the top of the unit and is easily accessible. While most grilles can be lifted straight up and removed, some Sub-Zero units may require that you unscrew the grille cover. Either way, safely use your step ladder to reach the grille, loosen it, tilt it towards you and lift the grille up to remove. 

Step 3: Clean off Debris, Dust & Dander – This is a pretty straightforward process. Remember to be extremely gentle when clearing dust from your condenser coils, while also being careful to not damage or disconnect other parts of the refrigerator. Condenser coils are delicate and can be bent if you apply too much pressure. Use your appliance brush to remove all dust and debris from the coils and compartment. When it is looking like youโ€™ve cleaned out all the dirt, you can get busy replacing the grille. 


Step 4: Replace And/Or Reattach the Condenser Grille – Before powering your Sub-Zero back on, make sure to replace and fasten the condenser grille properly. Slot the grille back into position. If you had to unscrew, now is the time to grab those loose screws and put them back in if necessary. The grille shouldnโ€™t have to be forced into position and should be easy to refasten. Now itโ€™s time to give it a test run. 

Step 5: Power up Your Refrigerator – Plug your refrigerator back on or power it on the same way you turned it off. Allow your Sub-Zero to run for at least a day before checking that the temperature has regulated and it is cooling effectively. If all seems to be working properly, then congratulations, you have successfully cleaned your condenser coils. 

Regular Sub-Zero Condenser Coil Maintenance

Protect your investment and extend the life of your Sub-Zero refrigerator by conducting routine maintenance and properly cleaning all working parts. Kitchens are high traffic areas and can kick up a lot of dust over the months. Sub-Zero recommends vacuuming out the condenser every 6-12 months depending on the environment of your home. Here are some resources to refer to so that you can ensure your Sub-Zero refrigerator is going strong for the next decade. 

Who to Call If Your Sub-Zero Refrigerator Isnโ€™t Working Properly 

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Express Electrical is abiding by all of the CDC recommendations so that we can continue to provide the high-quality service our clients are used to. We have stepped up our safeguards. All of our refrigerator repair technicians are fully outfitted in the appropriate preventative gear and are closely monitored for any symptoms of the coronavirus. Express Electrical will go above and beyond to ensure that your environment is left unaffected when we come to service your appliances

Even with all of the troubleshooting help available online, you still may need a certified Sub-Zero technician to come and inspect your unit. Not every problem is easily pinpointed as most parts are reliant on the other working to provide superior Sub-Zero cooling technology. When in doubt, call Wilshire Refrigeration. We have a team of licensed Sub-Zero repair technicians that can be at your home in an instant to find the existing problem and offer affordable solutions. 

Wilshire Refrigeration is the only factory certified service provider for Sub-Zero refrigerators and appliances in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. If you need to get your Sub-Zero serviced, weโ€™re the people to call. 800.427.3653