Troubleshooting Common Refrigerator Problems

This article will help you diagnose and solve some common problems with refrigerators. It also offers tips on preventative maintence.

It can be stressful to have your refrigerator malfunction. However, it may not be necessary to call in a repair person to fix it. Many refrigerator problems can be repaired by you quite easily.

Preventative Maintence:

The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 15 years. It will preserve the life of the refrigerator and keep energy costs lower if you clean the condenser coils regularly and keep the drain tube unclogged. Floor level condenser coils are found beneath the front of the fridge. You need to remove the protective cover first. Vacuum the dust and dirt that has collected there twice a year. You should also check the back side of the refrigerator. Many types of refrigerators have condensor coils here. Use a vacuum or stiff brush to clean the coils and if they are greasy, wash with warm soapy water.

Now you must locate the drain tube opening. It may be in the floor of the fridge under one of the drawers. It may possibly be found at the top of the back wall. To clean the drain tube use a turkey baster and force a solution of 1/2 gallon hot water mixed with 1/2 cup bleach through the opening. The water will go into the drainpan which is located under the refrigerator behind the front grille. Empty the drain pan after cleaning the drain tube.



Fixing 6 Common Problems:

1) Refrigerator doesn't run at all and light doesn't work.

This indicates that there is no power going to the refrigerator. Check that it is plugged in firmly and if so, that the circuit breaker is not tripped or the fuse is not blown.

2)Refrigerator doesn't run but light works.

a) Make sure temperature control dial is on.

b) Clean condenser coils (see above)

3)Refrigerator not cold enough

The refrigerator temperature should be between 38 and 40 degress fahrenheit. To test, place a thermometer in a cup of water in the middle of the fridge. Check after 4-6 hours. If it is indeed too warm, adjust control. If temperature does not change after another 4-6 hours try the following:

a) Clean the condenser coils (see above)

b) Check door seal.

If rubber gasket is brittle or cracked, you will need to replace it. New ones can be obtained at a hardware or home improvement store. If gasket seems fine, check the seal it makes by closing a dollar bill into the door so that half of it remains inside the fridge. Slowly pull on bill. If you do not encounter resistance, the gasket has a faulty seal. Check the gasket in several places around the door. If the seal is bad you will need to replace the gasket.

c) Defrost the refrigerator. Place all perishables in picnic coolers with icepacks. If you have a bottom freezer refrigerator, remove freezer items as well and turn off the freezer. Leave refrigerator door (and freezer door if bottom freezer model) open overnight. In the morning, replace food items, turn temperature control(s) to a middle setting and recheck the temperature in 6 hours.

4) Refrigerator too cold.

Try setting the temperature control, located inside the fridge to a lower number.

5) Refrigerator runs constantly

a) Clean condenser coils (see above)

b)Check gasket (see above)

c)Defrost refrigerator (see above)

6) Water on floor around refrigerator

a) Check that drain pan is properly in place. Drain pan is located behind behind the front grille at the bottom of the frige.

b) Clean drain tube (see above)

These suggestions should solve most of your refrigerator problems. Remember, if the power goes outor the frige just isn't working your food will be at a safe temperature for a day to a day and a half if the door is kept closed. Be sure to dispose of any food if you are unsure if it is still safe. If in doubt, throw it out.

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