Refrigerator Repair Tips

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The typical household refrigerator lasts longer than a computer, television or even a stove or range. These sturdy and reliable behemoths--one of man's greatest inventions--are surprisingly durable. When repair is necessary, often it's something many homeowners can accomplish without calling in a pro.

  1. No Lights and No Service

    • If you see no light and hear no sounds when you open the refrigerator door, check to see that the appliance hasn't become unplugged. If the refrigerator still isn't working after plugging it back in, go to your home's electrical panel and check to see if the circuit breaker for the appliance has tripped or a fuse has blown. If so, set the circuit breaker back to "On" or change the fuse. Also, check the electrical cord to the refrigerator for any defects.

    Light On but Refrigerator Not Running

    • The repair job will be more complicated if the light is working but the refrigerator is not running. Clean the condenser coils located on the rear or underneath the refrigerator. If the appliance is still malfunctioning, it's time to call in a pro because the problem may be a faulty compressor relay, defrost timer, compressor or temperature control--all fixes a layman should leave to an expert.

    Unsealed Gasket

    • The refrigerator door must seal tightly to the unit to keep the contents cold enough to prevent spoilage. The strip of rubber lining on the door that comes into contact with the unit is called the gasket seal; if the seal does not remain tight you're at risk for food poisoning. Make a habit of regularly checking the tightness of the gasket's suction seal between the door and unit. A good way to test if the gasket is tight is to insert a dollar bill between the door and refrigerator and shut the door. Now, try to pull out the dollar bill. If it feels at all loose or if it comes out easily, it's a sign of a weakened gasket. Replace the gasket seal if it is weakened or coming loose.

    Refrigerator Constantly Runs

    • A refrigerator that runs without stopping could mean frost has built up, so you'll need to defrost the unit. An unsealed gasket also causes a refrigerator to operate constantly, so replace the gasket. If neither of these steps prompts the refrigerator to run normally again, clean off the condenser coils before calling in a specialist.

    Noisy Refrigerator

    • Refrigerators make noise when they operate and it's a sound most people get used to hearing. So when the appliance starts making unfamiliar or loud noises, you know something's wrong. Before opening the door and trying to locate the noise, give the refrigerator a little shake. Units that are not level begin to vibrate noisily so you'll need to level the appliance by adjusting the feet. A rattling noise is most likely a drain pan that has shifted; you need only to reposition the pan. If the noise grows louder, the cause is likely related to either a damaged condenser fan or a damaged evaporator fan. Time to call in a professional.


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