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How to Troubleshoot & Fix Common Refrigerator Problems

Ice crystals

Your Refrigerator Doesn’t Run & the Light Doesn’t Come on

  • Ensure that your refrigerator is plugged in tightly
  • Check your fuse box for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker
  • Check the outlet to see if it has current
  • Examine the power cord for any damage
  • If the refrigerator is plugged into an extension cord, unplug it
  • Check the voltage of the outlet; make sure it is appropriate for your refrigerator

Your Refrigerator Doesn’t Run, But the Light Works

  • Make sure the temperature is set properly
  • Test your temperature control
  • House the refrigerator in an area large enough to provide three inches of space between it and the walls to the right, left, and back; and one inch above it
  • Check the condenser coils; make sure they are clean
  • Test the evaporator fan
  • Unplug the refrigerator and wait two hours before plugging it back in. If it turns on, you may have a problem causing the compressor to overheat
  • Test the defrost timer
  • Test your compressor relay
  • Check your overload protector
  • Test your compressor motor

Your Refrigerator Light Doesn’t Work

  • Try replacing the bulb
  • Test the door switch

Your Refrigerator Won’t Cool to the Desired Temperature

  • Check your temperature setting
  • Make sure that there is an adequate space cushion around the refrigerator to facilitate airflow
  • Examine vents for any blockages
  • Test the temperature control
  • Clean dirt and ice from the condenser coils
  • Check the door seals for any breaches or cracks
  • Make sure the door switch works
  • Test the defrost heater
  • Check the defrost timer
  • Test the evaporator fan
  • Check for a clog in the drain tube
  • Check for refrigerant leaks

Your Refrigerator Is Running Too Cold & Icing up

  • Check your temperature setting
  • Test the temperature control

Your Refrigerator Makes Loud or Unusual Noises

  • On frost free refrigerators, hissing and popping sounds are normal
  • Make sure the refrigerator is sitting level
  • Check the drain pan
  • Inspect the condenser fan
  • Check the evaporator fan
  • Inspect the compressor mounts

Your Refrigerator Runs Continuously

  • Defrost the freezer
  • Clean dirt and ice from the condenser coils
  • Check the door seals for any breaches or cracks
  • Test the door switch
  • If you recently stocked the refrigerator, adjusted the temperature control, or are in a humid location, refrigerators can run for 24 hours or more before reaching the desired temperature

Your Refrigerator Stops & Starts Intermittently

  • Clean dirt and ice from the condenser coils
  • Check the voltage of the outlet; make sure it is appropriate for your refrigerator
  • Check the condenser fan
  • Inspect the compressor relay
  • Test the overload protector
  • Check the compressor motor

Your Freezer Won’t Defrost Automatically

  • Check your defrost timer
  • Examine the defrost heater
  • Test the defrost thermostat

Your Refrigerator Smells Bad

  • Remove any spoiled food
  • Clean the interior with a solution of hot water and baking soda
  • Clean the door seals
  • Remove the breaker strips and check for any wet insulation

Water Pools Inside Your Refrigerator

  • Examine the drain pan
  • Check the water supply hoses that serve the water inlet valve for any blockages

When You Should Contact an Appliance Repair Professional

While our troubleshooting guide can help you figure out what’s wrong with your fridge and the possible causes, it’s always best to get a professional opinion if you decide not to troubleshoot the issue yourself, or you’ve misdiagnosed the cause of the issue. At West Coast Chief Repair, we offer refrigerator repair services for homeowners and businesses across Los Angeles, and our technicians can help get your refrigerator working as good as new.