Home Improvement

Common Refrigerator Problems and Their Solutions

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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 probably have to get a replacement one.

But what kind of problems can you expect? Well, in this article, we are going to cover the following:

  • the most common refrigerator issues;
  • what causes refrigerator problems;
  • which of the appliance’s issues can be fixed.
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When it comes to the maintenance of your fridge, it is best to stick to general cleaning, defrosting and other safe tasks that do not involve wiring or replacing specific parts of the appliance. For the latter, you will have to be certified to do appliance repairs professionally, as required by Australian law. So, proceed with caution and do not take any chances if you lack the certification and knowledge to try a certain repair.

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. A leaking refrigerator can be fixed. Here are the common reasons for a refrigerator leaking water.

Clogged defrost drain

A clogged defrost drain is the most common reason behind a leaking refrigerator. What happens is that nasty debris and food bits get stuck in the drain hose, which leads to a clog. Over time, ice builds up, and you end up with a huge water puddle.

You can first clear up the drain inside the fridge using only hot water. If this doesn’t work, get a pipe cleaner and try to push out the nasty buildup.

Professional solution: A handyperson can do the above but also manually remove debris from the rubber check valve on the back service panel.

Clogged/frozen water supply

A clogged or frozen water supply can also be the reason for a leaking fridge. Again, this is a prevalent refrigerator problem, and you don’t have much control over it in terms of prevention.

Professional solution: First, they will unplug the appliance, close the shut-off valve, and inspect the plastic supply line for clogs or leaks. They’ll have to replace the water supply line in case of a tear. If everything seems OK, but the fridge is still leaking, there’s an ice blockage in the water supply. In this scenario, you need to 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 spoils faster – don’t worry – there are several reasons for a fridge not cooling, and most issues can quickly be resolved.

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.

Just plug-in back the appliance to the socket – duh.

Professional solution: If the power outlet doesn’t work – an electrician needs to inspect the socket and find the solution for your specific problem.

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.

Set the thermostat to the right temperature setting.

Professional solution: In case that doesn’t work as expected, a skilled technician can locate the problem and find the best solution for the issue.

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.

Professional solution: The handyman will unplug the refrigerator from the power supply and pull it out. They will clean the condenser fan and test it to see if it’s moving. If everything seems OK, they’ll plug the refrigerator back in and check if the fan is working properly now. In case the part has decided to give up on you, you’ll have to replace it.

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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.

Professional solution: Fixing a faulty refrigerator system is not an easy task. The technician will inspect the element and find a solution for the specific problem.

Broken temperature sensor

A temperature sensor, also called a thermistor, detects 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.

Professional solution: The only solution is to get the part replaced.

Evaporator fan is not running

Suppose you’ve heard your refrigerator make weird chirping and squeaking sounds before your freezer stops working, then “congratulations”. In that case, you are dealing with either an ice-clogged or broken evaporator fan.

All you have to do is take out the food from the fridge, unplug the appliance, and wait for it to defrost completely.

Professional solution: If after defrosting your fridge, you’re still experiencing the same issues, the evaporator is most likely damaged and needs a replacement.

We will take good care of your fridge or freezer! Get in touch and tell us all about your problem!

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 appliance’s compressor and evaporator fan motor. When the element isn’t working correctly, the refrigerator runs longer than required, resulting in a frozen food shelf.

Professional solution: The technician will perform several tests on the temperature control thermostat to see if the part is working. When the piece doesn’t show any signs of continuity, it needs to be replaced.

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:

Blocked waterline

This type of blockage is most commonly caused by stuck ice. Another reason can be a kinked waterline. Nevertheless, both issues are quickly resolved.

First things first – stop the water supply by turning the shut-off valve. You’ll need to turn off the refrigerator’s power for at least two hours to melt the accumulated ice. If you want to speed up the melting process, you can use a blow dryer or apply hot water – whatever you find most convenient.

Professional solution: If that doesn’t solve your problem, check our solutions for clogged defrost drain.

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.

Professional solution: A technician would locate and reposition the shut-off arm. If the part is frozen, they will unmount the ice storage bin and remove the frost. It can be done manually or by melting the ice with hot water. Keep a towel handy to soak up the excess water.

Tripped ice bucket sensor

Modern refrigerators have a 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 sensor mentioned above. When this happens, your refrigerator indicates that the bin is missing and stops producing ice.

Again, the solution to this problem involves a lot of melting and soaking up excess water. First, remove the ice bin and let it defrost for a few hours. You can speed up the process by giving it a hot bath.

Professional solution: A technician can remove all the accumulated ice from the sensor. Finally, remove any excess moisture with a clean towel and place the bin back inside.

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Loud noises and continuous running

A noisy refrigerator is not a good thing, just like a noisy boiler. Not only do you have to listen to an annoying buzzing sound constantly, 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 refrigerator’s condenser coils, forcing it to “work harder” to keep a specific temperature. Dirty condenser coils can also lead to a malfunctioning freezer.

Professional solution: The handyman will start by unplugging the appliance from the power supply. They will remove the grill protecting the condenser coils by opening the snaps. Once they access the parts, they will remove the accumulated buildup. Once the dirt is gone, they will put the grill back on.

Low-temperature setting

If you set the refrigerator at a lower temperature, the appliance will, again, start working harder, resulting in a lot of noise, higher bills, freezing, and spoiled food.

The solution is easy – just adjust 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.

Professional solution: If you are still experiencing issues, it’s best to call a professional technician to check the appliance.

Looking for a reliable fridge specialist in your area? We have qualified and experienced pros available!


  • Do not attempt performing any repairs if you don’t have the appropriate training and certificates.
  • Always turn off the appliance before doing any maintenance work, be it defrosting or other.
  • If you plan to defrost your refrigerator, lay a couple of towels underneath it to absorb excess moisture.
  • If you need a part replaced or repaired, your best bet is to get a professional to do it.

Disclaimer: We are a commercial home maintenance service provider. Our purpose with this blog is to provide valuable and accurate content for solely informational purposes. We strongly advise our readers to consider all the risks and health concerns before undertaking a DIY project. We also highly recommend you get fully informed about the laws and regulations regarding electrical, plumbing and other work in the different states of Australia.

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2 years ago

Very awesome tips

Musah Kofi Saidu
Musah Kofi Saidu
2 years ago

What are the causes of refrigerator not to cool properly.

6 months ago

my freezer doesn’t restart

The Fantastic Team
5 months ago
Reply to  Francis

It’s best to contact a local electrician. If you live in the areas we cover in Australia or the UK we can help.

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