At Home with Lisa: Keep your refrigerator running efficiently

For my whole entire life, the top of the refrigerator has been an easy storage spot for items I may not have room for in my cupboards. Cereal boxes, small appliances, lunch bags, whatever I may need to store, generally goes on top of my refrigerator. This is especially true in my old house, which doesn’t have a lot of storage, counter or cupboard space.

But I recently learned that storing items on top of your refrigerator can force it to work harder, if it’s in a tight space or not well-ventilated to allow heat from its internal fan or convection to escape. This week, I cleaned off the top of my fridge and figured it was also time to vacuum its coils.

Like anything else with your appliances, if your refrigerator coils are dirty, the entire appliance must work harder. I learned this on Avista’s website. Regular cleaning can improve my refrigerator’s efficiency by 15% or more.

And let’s face it, they are out of sight, so they are also out of mind. My coils are on the bottom of my refrigerator, but older models have them on the back.

I have a kick plate at the bottom of my fridge which I can pull off. I used the crevice tool on my vacuum to get to the dust and cat hair that collects underneath. You can also use a brush to get into the tight spaces.

They say you should do this about once every three months. Now that it’s spring cleaning season, you can add this easy chore to your list.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Read more easy home energy saving tips.

Read more


  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Electric
  3. Energy Saving