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Appliance RepairRefrigerator Repair Help

Refrigerator Repair Help

Warning! To avoid personal injury or death, always unplug the appliance or disconnect the power before attempting any repairs. Always turn off the gas at the source before repairing any gas appliance. Always wear safety glasses when using tools. Keep loose clothing and hair away from any moving parts. Safety is of major importance when performing any service or repair on any electrical appliance. Please, read our disclaimer before proceeding.
You can also get repair help based on your problem at our free Repair Forum.
It doesn’t run
  1. Check outlet
    Make sure the refrigerator is actually plugged in and that the outlet is functioning properly. If the outlet is working correctly, take it one step further and check the circuit breaker in your home.
  2. Check connections/wiring
    Check your connections to make sure there is no corrosion.
  3. Compressor
    If your compressor fails to operate this may be an indication that it is time to replace the defrost timer.
  4. Overload relay
    If your overload relay continues to shut off in spurts then the part is weak and requires replacement.
  5. Thermostat
    It is likely that you have a bad thermostat. Try resetting by turning it off, then on to reboot. If this fails replace the part.
It doesn’t cool
  1. Condenser coils
    Make sure you dust off the condenser coils to prevent dust build up and overheating due to it overworking. Simply unplug and use a long coil cleaning brush to get rid of debris.
  2. Check seals
    If your refrigerator door seal is broken, warm air is pushing its way inside the unit, thus causing it to not cool properly. Prevent this from happening by replacing your seal and keeping the cool air inside.
  3. Temperature controls
    Ensure that your thermostat is set correctly, usually 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Defective condenser fan
    When this fan is defective, cold air is prevented from flowing through the vents. It may require replacement.
  5. Compressor issues
    Check if there are clicking sounds coming from the compressor as it tries to start. If there is a clicking, it is one of only two options, either the start capacitor or a bad compressor. A start capacitor is fairly inexpensive whereas a sealed system repair on the compressor is very expensive and often not cost effective.
Too cold (freezing food)
  1. Check your freezer thermostat setting
    The freezer determines the coolness of the refrigerator. If this temperature is set too high or accidently moved, it could sometimes result in items on the top shelf of the refrigerator becoming frozen. Adjust the thermostat accordingly to see if this resolves the problem.
  2. Fan motor
    The circulating fan can be blowing the cold air through the freezer, then down through the fridge and eventually back up to the cooling unit. Replacing this part can fix this problem.
It makes excessive noise
  1. Internal compressor problem
    The compressor moves the coolant through the unit, and the fan moves the air. Both have spinning motors that need lubricant to remain in good working order. When these items begin to fail, if they don't shut down completely, you will hear the high-pitched noise of metal rubbing against metal. One solution is to level or balance the "adjustable feet" of your appliance to promote even distributions.
  2. Evaporator fan defective
    If your fan no longer operates correctly you must fix the loose fan to prevent the sound from occurring. Make sure you let it defrost and then repair/replace.
  3. Defrost water pan rattles
    If the pan rattles when it is replaced, this is an indication that it is being placed too close to the compressor. Solve this problem by repositioning the tray.
Water leaking inside it
  1. Check the lines to your dispenser
    If the lines to your dispenser are broken or damaged you will need to replace them.
  2. Damaged drain pan
    If your drain pan has holes or cracks it will also need to be replaced.
  3. Clogged drain
    If you experience any clogged drains, they must also be unclogged or replace. If you experience this at the ceiling of your unit it can be attributed to a clog in the freezer section. Remove the divider and let the insulation thaw out and dry.
Ice maker not functioning or producing ice cubes
  1. Check connections
    Check all hose connections to ensure that water is being transmitted through your appliance and there is no frost build up.
  2. Feeler arm
    Double check to make sure your feeler arm is not stuck or that ice cubes are not blocking the feeler arm's motion to produce more ice.
  3. Ice maker heater
    The heater may be stuck on. The heater comes on for 1-2 minutes to break cubes free from mold. If the heater stays on too long ,the ice maker will get hot and stop making ice. Carefully feel around the ice maker mold; if it is hot to the touch, the heater is on. This indicates that the ice maker is jammed, and it is better to replace ice maker than to try and repair it.
  4. Water inlet valve
    The water valve supplying the ice maker is a key component of the ice-making system. When the ice maker calls for ice, its switch closes an electrical circuit and energizes the solenoid-operated water valve. This allows water to flow through the valve and into the ice cube tray. The water is frozen into cubes, and the cubes are dumped into the ice bin. When this part is not operating correctly, a repair/replacement part may be needed.
Water dispenser doesn’t work
  1. Dispenser control board
    If the water dispenser is not functioning at all the most likely cause is going to be the dispenser control board. The dispenser control board governs the major portion of the systematic functions of the dispenser and is less likely to be the issue if only certain components are malfunctioning. If the dispenser control board is at fault, it will need to be replaced.
  2. Water inlet valve & low water pressure from house supply
    If the water dispenser on your refrigerator is not working properly, one of the first things to consider as an issue is the water pressure to your appliance. The water dispenser cannot properly function with a psi less than 20. If psi is appropriate, proceed to replace the water inlet valve to correct the issue. You may also be dealing with low household water pressure. This low flow can be examined by using a water pressure test gauge. Once the household water pressure is resolved, you can double check your refrigerator connection to ensure it is now flowing properly and that the water dispenser is functioning.
  3. Water tube in door is frozen
    If the water dispenser is not working on your refrigerator, the issue could be a frozen water supply tube located in the door. Although this may be a tricky problem to locate, the first thing to do is find a connection point in the tube. After this has been found, attempt to blow air through the tube. If the air flows freely through the tube, it is not frozen and this is not the issue. If it does not, the tube is frozen and needs to be removed to thaw out. As it thaws, attempt to ascertain why it froze and correct the positioning of the tubing to prevent the issue from occurring again in the future.
  4. Dispenser switch
    If the refrigerator water dispenser is not working properly you could be dealing with a defective dispenser switch. Activated by the dispenser actuator, the switches are responsible for numerous actions including ice cube disbursement, type of ice, and water controls. The switch can be tested using an ohm meter and should be replaced if it does not reveal continuity.
  5. Water filter
    If your water dispenser’s flow is running slow check to ensure that your water filter is not clogged. If after checking you determine that the filter is clogged, simply replace the filter. Filters should be replaced every six months to ensure clean drinking water.
  6. Door switch
    If the refrigerator water dispenser is not working, the functionality of the door switch can be inspected. This switch is responsible for turning on the light in the freezer and simultaneously turning off the water dispenser when the freezer door is opened. If this switch malfunctions, it will show no continuity on the ohm meter and will require replacement.
Ice dispenser doesn’t work
  1. Dispenser control board
    If the ice dispenser is not functioning at all the most likely cause is going to be the dispenser control board. The dispenser control board governs the major portion of the systematic functions of the dispenser and is less likely to be the issue if only certain components are malfunctioning. If the dispenser control board is at fault, it will need to be replaced.
  2. Water inlet valve & low water pressure from house supply
    If the ice dispenser on your refrigerator is not working properly, one of the first things to consider as an issue is the water pressure to your appliance. The ice dispenser cannot properly function with a psi less than 20. If psi is appropriate, proceed to replace the water inlet valve to correct the issue. You may also be dealing with low household water pressure. This low flow can be examined by using a water pressure test gauge. Once the household water pressure is resolved, you can double check your refrigerator connection to ensure it is now flowing properly and that the ice dispenser is functioning.
  3. Water tube in door is frozen
    If the ice dispenser is not working on your refrigerator, the issue could be a frozen water supply tube located in the door. Although this may be a tricky problem to locate, the first thing to do is find a connection point in the tube. After this has been found, attempt to blow air through the tube. If the air flows freely through the tube, it is not frozen and this is not the issue. If it does not, the tube is frozen and needs to be removed to thaw out. As it thaws, attempt to ascertain why it froze and correct the positioning of the tubing to prevent the issue from occurring again in the future.
  4. Dispenser switch
    If the refrigerator ice dispenser is not working properly you could be dealing with a defective dispenser switch. Activated by the dispenser actuator, the switches are responsible for numerous actions including ice cube disbursement, type of ice, and water controls. The switch can be tested using an ohm meter and should be replaced if it does not reveal continuity.
  5. Door switch
    If the refrigerator ice dispenser is not working, the functionality of the door switch can be inspected. This switch is responsible for turning on the light in the freezer and simultaneously turning off the ice dispenser when the freezer door is opened. If this switch malfunctions, it will show no continuity on the ohm meter and will require replacement.
It doesn’t defrost
  1. Defrost control board
    If the defrost function is not working on your refrigerator it could be an issue with the defrost control board. This control board oversees several internal conditions and regulates the activation of the defrost cycle. A faulty board can be the primary reason your refrigeration unit is not transitioning to the defrost cycle. Over time, the buildup of ice on the evaporator coil will prevent the refrigerator and freezer from maintaining proper internal temperature. It is advisable to first check the defrost heater and the defrost thermostat for continuity prior to replacing the defrost control board.
  2. Main control board
    A possible cause for a refrigerator not defrosting, especially on more modern units, is the main control board. The main control board acts as a “brain” for the unit controlling the defrost cycle, compressor, and run time, and essentially acts in place of the defrost timer. The control board can be tested using an ohm meter for functionality and will need to be replaced if bad.
  3. Defrost timer
    If the refrigerator is not defrosting the timer could be malfunctioning. Numerous times throughout the day the defrost timer should cycle the defrost heater on as a means to melt frost buildup on the evaporator coils in the freezer. If this timer does not cycle on, then it may be faulty and require replacement.
  4. Defrost heater assembly
    If your refrigerator is not defrosting accurately this could be an indication that your defrost heater assembly has failed. This could cause the frost to accrue on the evaporator coils, eventually blocking the airflow resulting in the unit not cooling properly. The defrost heater assembly can be monitored for continuity using an ohm meter and will need to replaced if there is none present.
  5. Defrost thermostat
    Another cause of your refrigerator not defrosting is a faulty defrost thermostat. A requirement for the defrost heater to activate to melt away frost on the evaporator coils is a functional defrost thermostat. The defrost thermostat senses the temperature of the evaporator coils and initiates the thawing process by activating the defrost heater. If the thermostat is faulty, it will not sense the lowering temperature of the coils and will not turn on the heater, resulting in an advanced frost build-up. The defrost thermostat can be checked for continuity by using an ohm meter; if there is no continuity the damaged part will need to be replaced.
  6. Defrost sensor with fuse
    Another possible cause of a refrigerator that does not defrost properly is a defrost sensor with a fuse. If the defrost sensor fails, the fuse acts as a one-time-only fail safe for the sensor -- if the sensor does not shut off the defrost heater, the fuse will blow when the set temperature is reached. This safety precaution is to keep excessive harm from your unit by the heater and is a one-time use, resulting in the replacement of the entire defrost sensor.
Defrost drain problems
  1. Clogged or freezing defrost drain
    If you are experiencing defrost drain issues, it is possibly due to a clogged or freezing drain that is blocking water flow to the bottom of the freezer. This will cause the defrost water to drain and drip down to the bottom of the freezer section. To correct this issue, thaw any ice or remove debris that could be causing the clogged drain or replace the drain heater.
  2. Drain heater
    If you are experiencing defrost drain problems, inspect the defrost drain heater. A dislocated or burnt out drain heater will result in the drain tube freezing over. Attempt to return the part to the designated position or replace the damaged part to correct the issue.
Freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm
  1. Evaporator coils are frosted over
    If your issue is that the freezer is cold but the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, the first step is to check the defrost system for problems. A key indicator in determining if perhaps you have a refrigeration defrost problem is visible frost on the evaporator coils. If your unit has frost you will need to check your defrost heater assembly, the defrost control, and the evaporator fan motor for a malfunction. Replace any erroneous parts as necessary.
  2. Damper
    If your issue is that the freezer is cold but the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, the damper door could be broken or jammed. The damper is a door that opens and closes to allow cool air to flow from the freezer into the refrigerator unit, and if it fails to operate correctly, not enough cold air will enter the refrigerator to keep it cold. The damper can be replaced if it is no longer operating properly.
  3. Thermistor
    If your issue is that the freezer is cold but the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, the thermistor connected to the control board might be defective. The thermistor is a sensor that examines the temperature inside the unit. If the part is defective, the refrigerator could not cool properly.
  4. Temperature control board
    If your issue is that the freezer is cold but the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, the temperature control board could be at fault. The temperature control board distributes voltage to the fan motors and compressor to keep them functioning. This board is very often misdiagnosed as the culpable cause and it is recommended to proceed with the troubleshooting process of elimination prior to replacing this part.
  5. Defrost thermostat
    Another issue that can cause your freezer to be cold while the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be is the defrost thermostat. In order for the defrost heater to activate to melt away any excessive frosting on the evaporator coils, the defrost thermostat must sense that the temperature is cold enough to activate the defrost heater. Without this continuous cycle, the frost will excessively build up on the coils and prevent proper air flow inside the unit. The defrost thermostat can be checked for continuity with an ohm meter; if it’s not present, the thermostat will need to be replaced.
  6. Main control board
    A possible cause for a freezer that’s cold but refrigerator that’s not as cold as it should be is the main control board. The main control board acts as a “brain” for the unit, controlling the defrost cycle, compressor, and run time. However, it is an uncommon cause for this issue. This board is very often misdiagnosed as the culpable cause and it is recommended to proceed with the troubleshooting process of elimination prior to replacing this part.
Ice maker overflows
  1. Water inlet valve & low water pressure from house supply
    If you have an ice maker that is overflowing, the first thing to check is the status of the water pressure to the water inlet valve. The water inlet valve requires a minimum pressure of 20 psi to shut off properly and can be checked using a water pressure test gauge. Pressure at a lower amount than this can cause the valve to not fully shut off once the power is disconnected, which results in the water inlet valve leaking water into the ice maker and causing it to overflow. If the pressure is above 20 psi and you are getting an overflow it is recommended to replace the water inlet valve.
  2. Ice maker assembly
    If you are experiencing an overflow of water from the ice maker and the water inlet valve and water pressure are functioning normally, the next step would be to replace the complete ice maker assembly. Although a less common cause of this issue, replacing the assembly will correct the leaking problem.
Light doesn’t work
  1. Light bulb
    If your refrigerator light does not power on, the first thing to replace would logically be the light bulb itself.
  2. Light assembly
    If your refrigerator light does not power on and you have replaced the bulb, this is an indication that the light assembly may have malfunctioned and will require replacement.
  3. Light switch
    If you notice that your refrigerator lights are not working, replace your refrigerator light bulb. If this does not correct the issue, proceed to check the power light switch.
  4. Door switch
    If your refrigerator light is not working and it is not the bulb itself or the power light switch, the next thing to check is the door switch. This can be checked for continuity with an ohm meter. If there is no continuity present, the door switch will need to be replaced.
  5. Light socket
    If your refrigerator light is not working after replacing the light bulb, check for a possible damaged light socket. If the socket is faulty, replace the part to get your refrigerator light to power on again.
  6. Light board
    If the refrigerator light is not working the light board could be defective. The LEDs on this board are not repairable, so the entire board will need to be replaced.
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