- The Fantastic Team
- 9min read
- Published: July 29, 2020
- Views: 787
Common Refrigerator Problems and Their Solutions
Dealing with a faulty kitchen appliance is never fun. That said, do you want to know a cool fact?
Some machines break a lot faster than others, and one of them happens to be your refrigerator.
You see, refrigerators typically have a shorter life span – after about 7-8 years they will start developing certain problems, and as soon as a decade passes – you’ll have to get a replacement one.
But what kind of problems can you expect? Well, in this article we are going to cover:
- the most common refrigerator issues;
- what causes refrigerator problems;
- which of the appliance’s issues you can fix and how.
Table of Contents
The refrigerator is leaking water
Are you regularly slipping on a mysteriously appearing puddle of water next to your refrigerator? The bad news is that this is never a good sign. The good news is that a leaking refrigerator is an issue that can easily be resolved. Here are the two most common reasons for a refrigerator leaking water and how to resolve:
Clogged defrost drain
This is the most common reason behind a leaking refrigerator. Basically, what happens is that nasty debris and food bits get stuck in the drain hose, which leads to a clog. Over time, ice starts to build up and you end up with a huge water puddle.
How to fix it: The first thing that you can do is to clear up the drain from the inside of the fridge, using only hot water. If this doesn’t work, get a pipe cleaner and try to push out the nasty buildup. As a last resort, you can also try to manually remove the debris by pulling the appliance out and cleaning the rubber check valve located on the back service panel. Remove the debris with soap and warm water and install the valve back.
Clogged/frozen water supply
A clogged or frozen water supply can also be the reason for a leaking fridge. Again, this is a very common refrigerator problem and you don’t have much control over it in terms of prevention.
How to fix it:
First, you have to unplug the appliance from the power socket. Then, you need to find the shut-off valve – it will be most likely installed underneath your kitchen sink. Make sure that the valve is completely closed and inspect the plastic supply line for clogs or leaks. In case of a tear, you’ll have to replace the water supply line. If everything seems OK, but you are still experiencing leaking, you are dealing with an ice blocage. In this scenario, what you need to do is leave the refrigerator unplugged so the ice can melt.
The refrigerator is not cooling
If you notice that your fridge doesn’t seem cool enough and that your food is spoiling faster – don’t worry – there are several reasons for a fridge not cooling and most issues are easy to fix:
Lack of power supply
We don’t need to explain this one – you tripped on the refrigerator’s power supply cord and unplugged it from the electrical socket. The end result is warm low-fat strawberry yoghurt.
How to fix it: Just plug-in back the appliance to the socket – duh.
Changed temperature setting
Check your temperature control thermostat. Maybe you’ve bumped it accidentally while reaching for something, or someone decided that warm soda is a nice thing.
How to fix it: Set the thermostat to the right temperature setting.
Blocked condenser fan
If you have a refrigerator model with a condenser fan, there is a chance that something is blocking the part like dust, nasty buildup, pet hair etc. An issue like this will affect both the refrigerator and freezer.
How to fix it: Unplug the refrigerator from the power supply and pull it out. Locate the condenser fan. Clean the element with a brush or kitchen towel and spin it to see if it’s moving. If everything seems OK, plug the refrigerator back in and check if the fan is working properly. In case the part has decided to give up on you, you’ll have to call a professional handyman to replace it.
The freezer is not cooling
Two words: gloopy ice cream. Here is why your freezer is not cooling your favourite dessert:
Defrost system problems
The purpose of an automatic defrost system is to frost off the evaporator coils every 8 hours and to keep the evaporator’s air paths clear. When this part breaks, ice starts to form around the evaporator and back freezer compartment wall, resulting in your freezer not cooling properly.
How to fix it: Fixing a faulty refrigerator system is not an easy task. Your best bet is to call a technician to fix it for you.
Broken temperature sensor
A temperature sensor, also called a thermistor, is used to detect the temperature in the air inside your refrigerator. If this part becomes faulty, your appliance will have trouble maintaining the right temperature in both the fridge and freezer, not cooling evenly inside, and defrosting.
How to fix it: The only solution is to get the part replaced.
Evaporator fan not running
If you’ve heard your refrigerator make weird chirping and squeaking sounds prior to your freezer stopping to work, then “congratulations” – you are dealing with either an ice-clogged or broken evaporator fan.
How to fix it: All you have to do is take out all of the food from the fridge, unplug the appliance, and wait for it to completely defrost. If you are experiencing the same issues after defrosting your fringe, the evaporator is most likely damaged and in need of a replacement.
There is ice buildup and frost on the food
There is nothing like finding half of your food deeply frozen in the refrigerator. That said, there is only one culprit behind this issue and it happens to be:
A faulty thermostat control
The temperature control thermostat controls the compressor and evaporator fan motor of the appliance. When the element isn’t working correctly, the refrigerator runs longer than required, which results in a frozen shelf of food.
How to fix it: Locate the temperature control thermostat and start rotating it. If you hear a click, it means that the part is working. If you don’t, get a multi-meter and test the thermostat for continuity on different temperature settings. In a situation in which the part doesn’t show any signs of continuity, you’ll have to replace it.
The ice maker isn’t working
Experiencing issues with your refrigerator’s ice maker isn’t fun, especially when you want to refresh yourself with a cool drink on a hot summer’s day. That said, here are the three most likely reasons behind a faulty ice maker:
This type of blockage is most commonly caused by stuck ice. Another reason can be a kinked waterline. Nevertheless, both issues are easily resolved.
How to fix it: First thing’s first – stop the water supply by turning the shut-off valve. To melt the accumulated ice, you’ll need to turn off the refrigerator’s power for at least two hours. If you want to speed up the melting process, you can use a blow dryer or apply hot water – whatever you find most convenient.
Badly positioned shut-off arm
Most fridge models have a shut-off arm installed to prevent the ice bucket from overflowing. Sometimes this part gets stuck in the off position and your ice maker stops working.
How to fix it: Locate the shut-off arm and try to reposition it. If the part is frozen, unmount the ice storage bin and remove the frost. You can do this manually or by melting the ice with some hot water. Keep a towel handy to soak up the excess water.
Tripped ice bucket sensor
Modern refrigerators have a special sensor that detects the ice bucket. As time passes, ice can build up between the bin and the appliance’s wall, pushing the bucket out of its place, which trips the above-mentioned sensor. When this happens, your refrigerator indicates that the bin is missing and stops producing ice.
How to fix it: Again, the solution to this problem involves a lot of melting and soaking up excess water. First, take out the ice bin and let it defrost for a few hours. You can speed up the process by giving it a hot bath. Then, make sure to remove all of the accumulated ice from the sensor. It’s best to do this manually. Finally, soak up any excess moisture with a clean towel and place the bin back inside.
Loud noises and continuous running
A noisy refrigerator is not a good thing. Not only do you have to constantly listen to an annoying buzzing sound, but you’ll also get a fatter energy bill at the end of the month. With that in mind, there are two reasons for this type of issue:
Dirty condenser coils
Over time, dust and dirt particles start to gather inside the condenser coils of the refrigerator, forcing it to “work harder” to keep a specific temperature. Dirty condenser coils can also lead to a malfunctioning freezer.
How to fix it: Start with unplugging the appliance from the power supply. Find the condenser coils -usually, they are located on the bottom of the refrigerator. Remove the grill that’s protecting the coils by opening the snaps. Once you have access to the parts, remove the accumulated buildup with the help of a vacuum cleaner or a brush. Once all of the dirt is gone, snap-on back the grill.
If you set the refrigerator on a lower temperature, the appliance will, again, start working harder, which will result in a lot of noise, higher bills, freezing, and spoiled food.
How to fix it: Easy – just fix the temperature. We recommend setting the appliance to 3-5 °C and waiting for a few hours to see if the refrigerator is working normally again. If you are still experiencing issues, it’s best to call a professional technician to check the appliance.
- ALWAYS turn off the appliance before doing any maintenance work.
- If you are planning to defrost your refrigerator, make sure to lay a couple of towels underneath it to absorb excess moisture.
- If you need a part replaced, your best bet is to get a professional to do it instead.
Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
- Last update: November 24, 2020
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