Avoiding Appliance Repair: Refrigerators

You have a refrigerator. Maybe two. And while you can get through life without ever knowing how it works, aren’t you just a wee bit curious?

Whether you’re looking to install a water line for refrigerators or in need of appliance repair, check out the info and homeowner tips below.

How a Refrigerator Works

1. A compressor pumps refrigerant gas through the cooling system. It compresses (squeezes) the refrigerant, which becomes hot from the pressure.

2. The hot refrigerant gas flows to condenser coils. The coils are either on the back of the refrigerator (air-cooled natural-draft condensers) or on the bottom (fan-cooled forced-draft condensers).

3. As the refrigerant cools, it becomes a liquid. The liquid flows through a tiny expansion valve and becomes a cold, low-pressure vapor, which expands and evaporates as it moves.

4. The refrigerant flows into the evaporator coils, where it absorbs heat from the refrigerator and freezer compartments, keeping your food cold. Water condenses on the evaporator coils and drips into a pan below the refrigerator.

5. The refrigerant returns to the compressor to start the cycle again.

Getting the Most from Your Refrigerator
To keep your refrigerator running smoothly, follow these tips:

  • To allow air to circulate around the top and back, don’t store anything on top of the refrigerator and keep it a few inches from the wall.
  • Keep coils clean so heat transfers efficiently.
  • Empty the drip pan before it overflows.
  • Because the compressor is the most expensive part of a refrigerator, consider buying a new one if the compressor fails instead of repairing it.
  • Allow a refrigerator to decompress for at least 5 minutes after it’s been turned off. You risk damaging the compressor if you switch the unit back on immediately.

Need other help in the kitchen? Get connected with a service expert to fix that clogged kitchen sink or help with refrigerator water dispenser repair.

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9 Responses

  1. Shahroz Olfat says:

    Most Refrigrators also have settings for freezer and refrigrator part. I would set those settings to norm or average to get the most energy savings unless you have some really rare food that requires artic temperatures to keep your food fresh 🙂

  2. Adi says:

    Thanks for this post!
    This will save me a lot of money 🙂

  3. Chet says:

    Uh oh I’ve never emptied my drip pan in ~3 yrs, not even sure if my fridge has one!? I’ll have to look into this… ty!

  4. Barry Crouch says:

    It is important to perform routine maintenance on your refrigerator and other appliances. Simple maintenance can increase the lifespan of your appliances and save you money. Making sure that your coils are free from dust will help the refrigerator function properly.

  5. Chet says:

    I checked & it wasn’t full (phew), in fact there was only a bit of water in there, not worth emptying.

    @barry there was a TON of dust under there though!! I vacuumed it so thanks for the tip

  6. Stan says:

    I agree. One of the most important things you can do is make sure you perform routing maintenance like cleaning your refrigerator coils at least once a year.

  7. Mike Brassil says:

    if you find a repair service you like or not, if you can save a little money here and there it’s totally worth the extra effort. Did you know that there are some activities on maintenance that can be done in order to prevent the need for repairs.

  8. Appliance Parts Alabama says:

    Refrigerators, free-standing icemakers, even televisions need to breathe.

    These appliances make a lot of heat, and are designed to dissipate that heat, but that’s not possible without airflow.

  9. Couldn’t agree more! When I go out to a repair a refrigerator, ice maker or TV more often then not its built into the wall. Yes, its certainly aesthetically pleasing, but you’re just asking for a repair bill. Just a few inches out, and we’d be out of business!!

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