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How to Repair a Refrigerator

refrigerator troubles

Any household appliances are not eternal, and a household refrigerator is no exception. It can break down at any period of its operation, whether it be several months or ten years. One of the refrigerators‘ most common and unpleasant breakdowns is refrigerant freon leaks. In some cases, the repair can cost you a fortune. Refrigerants are very volatile and can evaporate from the system through the most microscopic opening. Therefore, searching for a leak is often a long and challenging process, even for professionals with special equipment.

There are different breakdowns with the same external malfunction. For example, the refrigerator works without turning off; foremost, check whether you just did not turn off the forced freezing mode. Or if there are sounds inside a sealed freon system, similar to gurgling? A specialist with the right equipment can accurately identify both leaks and other malfunctions.

Appliance repair is essential because if something breaks down in your house, you need a professional to fix it and, most importantly, recognize what the problem is. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of refrigerator repair and how to recognize the breakdown of your refrigerator.

Most common refrigerator troubleshootings

Typical malfunctions of refrigerators have long been known, diagnostics have been developed, and there are tables for troubleshooting. They are usually found in the instruction manual, in the troubleshooting section.

Here are some of the most common problems you might encounter with your refrigerator, along with tips on how to fix them:

  • the set temperature mode is not supported;
  • increased formation of ice or puddles of water appear;
  • the compressor works noisily, with knocking and rattling;
  • the compressor does not turn off, or it turns on and stops after a moment;
  • the  lighting doesn’t work or is constantly on;
  • the temperature does not change when the thermostat mode is switched over. 

Most often, the failure of the thermostat unit is diagnosed. It is connected with a manual temperature controller; using sensors, it determines the temperature in the chamber and gives a command to start and stop the compressor. Destruction of the sealing gum results in an increase in the temperature in the chamber. These easily removable causes in the kit lead to frequent malfunctions of other components due to increased load.

Diagnostics of the cooling system can reveal a lack of freon due to depressurization or its complete leak. In this case, the compressor does not pump cold, even if it is running without stopping. In this case, the motor itself can overheat and fail.

If the lamp in the chamber is constantly on, the door is skewed, the mains disconnect contact does not work. Here, problems will immediately be added: depressurization of the refrigerator due to a loose closing.

If the refrigerator has an electronic control circuit, an error will appear on the display; the malfunction has already been diagnosed. In other cases, only visual control can prevent costly repairs in time. Often there is no way to identify a complex breakdown on your own.

Each of these reasons, when diagnosed, can give several causes of malfunctions. Some of them are eliminated on their own; others require to be fixed by specialists.

refrigerator repair

Determination of refrigerator troubleshootings

First of all, you need to check the instructions, whether the refrigerator is installed correctly, to ensure timely cleaning of ice. 

The red light is on.Possible reasons:malfunction of the thermostat (it must be replaced);compressor breakdown (also usually subject to replacement, very rarely repair);leakage of freon (it is required to find the place of depressurization of the cooling circuit, repair the damage, and then fill in freon to the required volume).
The refrigerator does not freeze well or does not freeze at all.The main reasons for refrigerator repair at elevated temperatures in the chambers:malfunction of the thermal sensor (replacement is needed);the temperature settings are out of order due to voltage surges in the power supply (check the settings, reconfigure the refrigerator if necessary, and then plug it into the network through a voltage stabilizer);accidentally pressing the “Defrost” button (if the function has already been started, defrost the unit to the end, and then turn it on);the refrigerator is overloaded with food (do not load the chambers at once with a large amount of room    temperature food, divide the supplies into several parts and stack them in stages);refrigerant leakage (you need to find the leak, repair the damage and fill it with freon);loose fit of doors (make sure that the doors close well, and the seal fits snugly against the body, leaving no gaps);compressor breakdown (to be replaced);blockage of the cooling system (diagnostics are required to find the place of blockage and its elimination).The lack of cold can be caused by other factors as well.
The refrigerator does not turn on.The most common appliance repair reasons:the refrigerator is not plugged in (make sure the plug is firmly inserted);there is no voltage in the network, or it is too low to start the compressor (if possible, check the voltage – the norm for the refrigerator is 220 V);defective outlet (contact an electrician);damage to the plug or power cord of the refrigerator (they must be replaced);breakdown of the thermostat, relay, auto defrost buttons (to be replaced);compressor malfunction;malfunctions in the control unit (professional diagnostics are needed, and then repair or replacement of the unit with a new one).
The motor does not turn off.Normally, the compressor at the refrigerator should run continuously for 12–20 minutes. Then it rests for a few minutes and starts up again. When the refrigerator does not turn off at all, it is abnormal and leads to rapid wear of the compressor.The main reasons for refrigerator repair:a loose door or damage to the seal (make sure that the seal is intact and fits snugly around the entire perimeter to the surface of the case, leaving no gaps);the function of super freezing or supercooling is on (do not leave the refrigerator in this mode for a longer time than allowed by the instructions);increased room temperature or proximity of heating devices (provide the device with the necessary operating conditions they are indicated in the instructions);breakdown of a temperature sensor or thermostat (replacement is required);failure of the control module (it is reconfigured, reflashed or replaced with a new one);
The refrigerator hums a lot.The main reason for the appearance of unusual sounds is the incorrect installation of the unit. It must be level on a solid, solid foundation. A properly installed refrigerator does not wobble and does not vibrate when the motor is running. In this case, there will be no hum and crackling.Sometimes strange sounds occur when the refrigerator is seriously damaged. If the unit is installed correctly and the hum, crackling, and grinding noise continues, see any other symptoms. Perhaps the chamber temperature is high, or the compressor is running continuously. In any case, you should urgently contact the master.The refrigerator is freezing too much. Possible reasons:thermostat malfunction (to be replaced);the accidental setting of the thermostat to maximum (check the settings and set the regulator to the middle of the scale);freon leakage (careful diagnostics are required to find the leak, repair the damaged area and charge new refrigerant).
Freezing of ice on the inside of the chamber.The most common reasons:you haven’t defrosted the refrigerator for a long time;the cameras are overloaded with food;compressor malfunction;the light switch has broken;a loosely closed-door (perhaps it is simply prevented from closing containers with food, and sometimes the door sags or warps, in which case it needs to be adjusted);the door seal is damaged or lost its elasticity (replaced with a new one);clogging of the capillary tube (flushing and filling of high-quality freon are required);the chamber contains unpackaged food and uncovered containers with liquids. Moisture quickly evaporates from food and settles on the walls in the form of frost, so all supplies should be packed in bags or closed with tight lids.
The refrigerator is leaking, and a puddle forms under it.Common reasons:hot food was placed in the freezer or refrigerator;a clogged drain hole or tube in a refrigerator with a broken evaporator (you need to clean the drainage system);high humidity in the room. Ventilate the kitchen or use an extractor hood, and then try to create optimal working conditions for your refrigerator, which are described in its instructions.
Refrigerator evaporator malfunctionsAn evaporator is a device in which liquid freon turns into a gaseous state, taking heat from the chamber.Evaporator malfunctions can occur for several reasons:failure of the sensor after a short circuit or voltage surge;mechanical damage to pipes, depressurization of connections, accompanied by freon leakage;blockage in the capillary tube;corrosion.Evaporator repair work is carried out at the service center. Welding a thin aluminum sheet, you can find a gas leak in special conditions.A careful attitude to the device and adherence to the maintenance instructions will extend the period of trouble-free operation of the refrigerator.

Besides the listed malfunctions, there are more complex problems. For example, the refrigerator turns on after a minute or two. At the same time, the alarm for an open door beeps, although the door is closed. This is where very thorough diagnostics are needed for refrigerator troubleshooting. 

refrigerator repair

How to fix a refrigerator?

To repair your refrigerator and not completely break it, you need to know exactly which parts of the system can be repaired on your own and which are better left untouched. Four circuits can be distinguished in any refrigeration unit:

  • Refrigeration system. This includes the actual cooling circuit, including the coils. This is the least suitable part of the unit for self-repair. Masters strongly do not recommend carrying out independent repair work in the absence of knowledge and experience in this area. The act of interference can be very costly. Unskilled repairs most often end up with the need to purchase a new unit.
  • Thermoregulation system. This is where most breakdowns occur. Repair is most often possible, but experience carrying out such work is desirable. You need to understand that independent appliance repair will require spare parts, which are not always freely available. Most likely, they will have to be ordered in a specialized online store and wait for delivery for some time. For this reason, it may be better to call a refrigeration repairman.
  • Mechanical system. Includes seals, fastening of shelves, covers, suspension system of doors and compressor, and the like. The repair is usually simple and can be done by even the most inexperienced home craftsman. Usually, it consists in fixing the door, replacing the seal, and fixing the shelves. Special knowledge is not required here.
  • Electrical system. It is an electrical circuit that ensures the normal operation of the refrigeration unit. It includes wiring, start relay, motor-compressor, etc. The electrical circuit of the refrigeration unit, especially if it is old, is quite simple. If you have some knowledge in the field of electrics, if necessary, you can fix almost any breakdown. To work, you will need a tester, a soldering iron, and some knowledge in the field of electricity. In this system, you can fix almost any breakdown.

What to do when the refrigerator does not turn on and the light is on

 There is a light in the cell, the refrigerator clicks, sometimes the motor turns on for a second and then stops again.

  • The starting relay emits the clicks, the windings in the motor shorted out, a replacement will be required.
  • In the same way, a thermostat malfunction is diagnosed; it does not command to turn on the compressor with electromechanical control.
  • On models with electronic control types, this signal to check the air sensor needs to be replaced.
  • The electronics will not give a start command if the door is not closed tightly.

Even if there is no light, you need to ensure that the light bulb has not burned out during a power surge. Electronic control requires a stable mains voltage of at least 195 V.

refrigerator repair hums for some reason, but does not start, also requires diagnostics. Only the master can find the exact reason for the refusal from the supposed ones:

  • requires replacement of the protective relay-regulator;
  • undervoltage in the network;
  • the compressor is seized;
  • short circuit in the starting winding of the motor;
  • the starting capacitor or defrosting device is faulty.

If the engine hums and the compressor is running, and it is warm in the chambers, the breakdown should be searched for in the evaporator. The technician needs to know what preceded the emergency stop to diagnose correctly.

Our technicians from appliances repair atlas have a lot of experience in repairing household appliances and will help you with any problems.

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