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Common Refrigerator and Freezer Problems: Repair or Replace?

Common Refrigerator and Freezer Problems: Repair or Replace?

By Our Friends at Sears Home Services



Is your fridge or freezer on the fritz? We can help you figure out when it's okay to do it yourself, call for a repair person or replace it altogether.

Your fridge is the workhorse of the kitchen, running 24/7, 365 days a year. You might be on vacation or sleeping, but it’s still working. So if something goes wrong with your fridge or freezer, it can be alarming and inconvenient, to say the least. Here's a guide on what to do when faced with common fridge problems.

French Door Fridge

DIY - Repairs You Can Do

1. Strange Noises

Refrigerators under a heavy load, in a warm location or just loaded with warm groceries may have elevated sound levels. Noises generally do not affect the operation of the refrigerator.

2. Door Seal Torn

That strip that seals your fridge door is known as a gasket – and after a while it wears out, either tearing or wrinkling. Buy a replacement using the model number to make sure you get the right size. Then, peel the old gasket back, remove screws if necessary and pull it away from the fridge door. Soak the new one in hot water to soften it and then install the part, starting at the corners.

Open Fridge Door

3. Light Bulb Out

Make sure you don't purchase a refrigerator bulb that exceeds the wattage recommended by the owner's manual. If the bulb is incorrect, it can overheat the interior or cause damage to the plastic inner liner. If your appliance uses an LED bulb, you'll need a repairman to replace it. Either way, only purchase bulbs specifically for appliances, and unplug the refrigerator before changing the bulb.

4. Leak

Unplug your refrigerator overnight, as this will allow a potentially frozen drain to thaw. Make sure the refrigerator is mostly level but has a slight tilt to the back for proper drainage. Clear blockages with hot water and a turkey baster. If the drain looks fine and the fridge still leaks, call for service.

5. No Ice

Use a thermometer to make sure the compartment with the icemaker is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's not, adjust the temp settings and controls to factory-recommended settings and see if that does the trick. If the refrigerator has a water dispenser, see if it works. The problem could be a clogged water filter or a damaged water supply. No water means no – and that it's probably a job for the pros.

Call the Repairman

Fridge Water Dispenser

6. Frost Buildup

When you see a thick coat of frost on the back wall of the freezer, it's actually related to a defrosting problem caused by a heater, fuse, switch or sensor. In fact, not cooling is something that usually accompanies this issue. Call the technician to see what's going on.

7. No Water in the Dispenser

This can also mean no ice and a possible water valve issue. First, check that the house supply line behind the refrigerator is turned on all the way and that the filter isn't clogged. If that doesn't clear things up, call in a technician.

Replace Your Appliance

8. Energy Suck

If your refrigerator is over 10 years old, you'd probably be better off replacing it, instead of spending money on the energy it needs to run. Maybe it's time to get that French door model you've been drooling over.

9. Compressor Not Running

The compressor is the heart of the refrigerator; it compresses refrigerant and is the thing that hums. In many cases, a compressor is covered by an additional extended warranty. If not, it could be time to get a new fridge, since replacing a compressor can be costly.

Buying a New Fridge