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?
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.