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8 Common Refrigerator Problems | Refrigerator Troubleshooting & Repair

It is heartbreaking to see the food going bad and the ice cream melting away in the freezer when the refrigerator stops working because of unexpected problems. The cause of the breakdown can be varied or even complicated, but not all of them require professional detection from repairmen. Instead, you can troubleshoot the bugs first before summoning a technician, which will help you save the inspection fee. Have no idea what to start with? Read this article and you will find the answer.  


Problem #1 The Refrigerator is leaking water


A couple of different causes can cause leaking. Some of them can be fixed quickly and easily.


Cause One: The De-Frost Drain Is Blocked.

Remove the back panel of the fridge, you will see the de-frost drain right under the evaporator. If it is clogged by food debris or ice buildup, clear the blockages. The ice can be thawed by warm water and the debris can be removed with a long, slender prod.



Cause Two: Water Supply Line is Clogged or Broken

If the water supply line is broken or torn, you need to replace it with a new one. If it is clogged, which is usually caused by ice blocks, cut off the electricity supply of the refrigerator until the ice has melted away.



Problem #2: The Freezer’s Temperature Is Not Cold Enough


Cause one: you forget to adjust the thermostat

We know it happens! Check out your thermostat right now, and you might find out that you did have forgot to adjust the thermostat. Commonly, you might fail to recall to turn the temperature back to the proper settings after a temporary alteration. As we have reminded you this time, don’t let it slip your mind next time!


Cause two: the door isn’t closed properly. 

The not completely closed refrigerator door can cause cold air to escape and let the hot air get inside. Make sure the door has been fully closed whenever you open the refrigerator. If the gaskets have been broken or torn, they can lead to the cold air to get away as well. It is essential to replace them with the new one in time.


Cause three: the cold air cannot circulate. 

Firstly, check the vents in the fresh food and freezer compartments. The vents are the only way that cold air enters the fridge. If they are blocked by food, scrapes or ice buildup, the cold air will no longer be able to access the fridge interior. Therefore, keeping food organized in the fridge helps keep the airflow running smoothly.


Next, check the evaporator fan, which is responsible for blowing cold air into your fridge. Once there is a hiccup happening in the evaporator fan, the cold air will get into the fresh food compartment slowly, thus resulting in a warmer temperature in the fridge. The fan sits behind the freezer wall. Lean closely and listen carefully, if the fan is not humming, it might have met with some problems. In some situations, it could have got frozen by ice.


Fixing or replacing the evaporator fan motor is better to be operated by a professional technician. The detailed process can be seen below:


  • Unplug the refrigerator
  • locate the fan and remove the mounting clip, fan blade, and wire harness
  • Install the new motor into the wire harness and put the motor into the housing
  • Insert the fan blades completely and reapply the mounting clip
  • Reattach the evaporator panel and put back the shelving



Cause 4: Air Damper doesn’t work

Air damper affects the travelling of cold air. If there is a bug, it can hinder the cold air from flowing into the fresh food compartment. This unit is normally located between the fresh food compartment and the freezer. 


Repairing this part is complicated. Let a professional repairman do you a favour!

  • Unplug the refrigerator
  • Remove damper cover
  • Take off the thermostat sensor and motor
  • Unscrew and unplug the freezer compartment
  • Release the rear duct panel
  • Release the tabs holding the air damper in place
  • Remove the old air damper
  • Reinstall all the components you removed in the process


Problem #3: The refrigerator starts and cycles frequently


A refrigerator runs too much is never a good sign. On one hand, it might take a big bite out of your wallet, for the high electricity payments. On the other hand, it can produce annoying noises that can hover all day long. What makes your refrigerator run non-stop? There are several common causes.


Cause one: unstable voltage

Refrigerators work at a voltage between 187V and 240V. With a voltage beyond the range, the refrigerator can stop or start frequently due to the protection mechanism. Considering it involves electricity problems, call a professional people for help.


Cause two: The fridge temperature is set too low

With the freezer temperature set too low, the refrigerator has to work hard to maintain a cold environment. Launching refrigeration repeatedly is similar to keeping the fire high; you have to keep adding fuel. There is another thing to notice, that an extremely cold environment is not good for storing food, adversely, it can spoil the food.


Cause three: Dust builds up on the condenser coils 

Heavy dust on the condenser coils is one of the common reasons why your refrigerator runs frequently. The condenser coils are located at the bottom of the fridge. Before accessing the coils, cut off the refrigerator power, and remove the grille by unscrewing its snaps. Use a vacuum cleaner, a brush, or a wipe cloth to clear the dust and debris.


Cause four: Condenser fan motor or thermostat sensor 

Thermostat contacts that are not connected properly can cause abnormal actions of the compressor. Try to clear the dust to see whether the contacts can be connected. If the problem lies on the condenser fan motor, go for a repairman for help. If you want to check the problem in advance, the following steps may help:


  • Disconnect your refrigerator from the power supply
  • Remove the rear access panel
  • Locate the condenser fan motor, which is usually found near the compressor at the bottom rear of the refrigerator
  • Visually inspect the condenser fan motor for any signs of wear or damage


Problem #4 Ice maker is not working


In summer, we just want more ice cubes! It would be a disaster if the ice maker does not work. When it stops working, what is happening to the ice maker?


Cause 1: Water supply line is clogged or broken

As mentioned above, all you need to do is to clear the blockage and replace the broken line.


Cause 2: The shut-off arm is at the wrong position

The ice maker has a shut-off arm to stop the flow of ice cubes. After receiving signs that the ice cube basket has been full, the arm will move to stop the exit of ice cubes, and at the same time, the ice maker will stop making more ice cubes. When the ice cubes stop coming out, check it out whether it is the arm gets stuck at the ice cube exit. If the ice buildup has frozen the arm, use warm water to remove the ice.


Cause 3: Sensors trips

Some fridges have sensors for detecting the position of the ice bin. When the ice bin is removed or pushed out of the alignment, the sensors would think you don’t need ice cubes, and thus instruct the ice maker to stop making ice. Sometimes, ice buildup around the ice bin can push it out of the place. When the ice maker stops working, have a check on the position of your ice bin. Also, remember to clear the ice buildup regularly.


Cause 4: Refrigerator water filter stops the water flow

Refrigerators with ice makers usually come with built-in water filters. If the refrigerator water filter is not changed in time, it can gather impurities and particles from water, such as debris, metals and dust day by day, until one day ending up with a thick build-up in the filter. As a result, slower water flow or a clogged state would appear, and thus causing the lack of water supply to the ice maker. Another factor that causes the shortage of ice cubes is the broken water outlet valves on the water filter. The only way to solve these problems is to change the filters.


Problem #5 Too Much Ice Buildup in Freezer


If ice buildup grows wildly in your freezer, you can take several simple steps to remove the ice.


Cause one: The freezer door opens too long

If you take away food from the freezer compartment, and turn your back to it without shutting the door for a long time, it gives way to the ice buildup forming in the fridge. The humid air could get into the freezer and become ice quickly. For power-saving purposes and in case of extra ice build-up, remember to shut the refrigerator door in time. When the ice build-up takes up too much room, simply unplug the refrigerator and let the ice melt away.


Cause two: Poor seal

A poor seal on the fridge door can result in unwanted frost. The best solution is to replace it. You can purchase gaskets directly from your refrigerator makers.


How to replace the gaskets:

  • To begin with, unplug the refrigerator.
  • Remove the old gasket on the edge of the fridge door by loosening their screws and jimmying the gasket.
  • Insert the new gasket into place
  • Reinstall the screws firmly
  • Power up the refrigerator


Problem #6 Refrigerator is making strange noises


The refrigerator makes an abnormal noise like a protest, and the noise has lasted for a while. At this time, you should give it a thorough examination. Most of the noise problems can be attributed to the condenser fan and the evaporator fan. The condenser fan is responsible for cooling the condenser coil of your unit while the evaporator drives air through the evaporator coil in the freezer. Once caught by problems, either of them can make your refrigerator noisy. Before checking these fans, be sure to unplug the refrigerator.


Problem #7 The refrigerator isn’t working


When the refrigerator is totally out of work, it could be the problems with the electronic control board, which can be damaged by a power surge, worn-out relays, and open circuits. At this stage, you need a professional.


Problem #8 Refrigerator water dispenser fails to produce water


Cause one: the water tub is frozen

A frozen water tub can block fresh water from flowing through the dispenser. To let it thaw, disconnect the refrigerator for some time.


Cause two: defective water inlet valve

The defective water inlet valve could close the way that water supply flows to the dispenser. When it is broken, let a repair technician help.


Cause three: low water pressure

Low water pressure can never push the water through the inlet valve for the dispenser, and of course, there will no drinking water coming out. This problem should be left to a technician.


Cause four: the water filter has been clogged

Over time, the water filter in your refrigerator will collect the debris and contaminants, and end up with buildup clogging the outlet valve. So first and foremost, change the filter regularly.


In terms of choosing the best fridge water filters, Clatterans offers reliable and durable water filtration systems. You can easily find water purifiers compatible with your brand-name refrigerators such as GE, Samsung, Frigidaire, LG, Kenmore, etc. What’s more, through subscription, you will receive a new filter replacement every six months so that you and your family will not drink unhealthy water because of overdue filters. Your ice maker will work more smoothly as well.


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