Simple Wiring Projects for Home Repairs: Electrical Tips and Ideas

How to Troubleshoot Common Problems With Your Home's Refrigerator

Even if you're not able to repair your home's refrigerator and freezer on your own, it's often good to troubleshoot some common problems before you call a repairperson so you know what to expect by way of repairs and their costs. You might also be able to address some simple problems and get your refrigerator running again quickly and easily. Note a few problems you might encounter and what they might mean for your home's refrigerator.

1. The freezer is cool but the refrigerator is not.

Cold air is delivered to the freezer compartment and then flows to the fresh food part of your refrigerator. If the freezer is cold enough but the fresh food compartment is not, chances are there is a blocked air duct. You can often find this duct on the back of the refrigerator, connected to the fan. If you cannot easily locate it to see if it's kinked or otherwise damaged, it's good to call a repairperson to have him or her find it and see if it needs repair.

2. There is a puddle under the refrigerator, and it gets bigger.

When there is water inside the refrigerator, this usually means a blocked drain, but when the puddle happens outside the refrigerator this is often the result of an icemaker springing a leak. The icemaker draws water through a line that delivers it to the unit that freezes and dispenses it. When this line is leaking, the water won't stop flowing to the bottom of the refrigerator. There is usually a shutoff valve under your sink that connects to the refrigerator that you can use to stop the water from collecting, and then you can check the line to the icemaker or call a repairperson to do this for you.

3. The refrigerator runs more often than it should but doesn't get colder.

If you adjust the inside thermostat of your refrigerator, then the motor will run more often to keep the unit cooler, but if you notice that the motor runs too often just to keep the inside unit at the same temperature, this often means a blocked condenser. These coils keep the refrigerator cooler, but they also attract dirt and dust, which in turn makes them work harder and more often. Clean the coils and the guard in front of them thoroughly and more often, and note if this returns the refrigerator to a normal cycle. If not, the condenser or motor may be wearing out and it's time to call for repairs.