How to Troubleshoot and Repair a Domestic Refrigerator

Your home refrigerator will likely work for several years without any problem. But, without regular maintenance your fridge may slowly develop problems such as leaks. Never cleaning the refrigerator may cause the machine to over work itself, severely limiting the life of the motor. Always follow the instructions in the refrigerator manual for regular maintenance to keep the refrigerator running smoothly. If you do run into problems however, proper troubleshooting and quick repair techniques will get the fridge running cool once again.

Refrigerators often have a long guarantee; use it.
  1. Check the outlet the refrigerator is plugged into with an outlet voltage reading tool to determine whether the outlet is running. If the light turns on the outlet has power. Check the fuse for the kitchen in the circuit breaker box if you do not have electricity. Plug a small electrical device into the outlet if you do not have a voltmeter and turn it on to test the outlet.

  2. Check the orientation of the fridge using a level to make sure the unit is sitting straight on the floor. A leaning fridge may leak or run inefficiently. Adjust the level of the fridge by inserting a screwdriver into the small hole at the base of the fridge, by the feet. Turn the screwdriver to adjust the height of the feet. Make small adjustments and then check the level to make sure the fridge is straight.

  3. Turn the thermostat on the inside of the fridge to its highest setting to ensure it is working. Clean the black coils on the back of the refrigerator using a vacuum cleaner if the refrigerator is not cooling properly.

  4. Open up the lower back panel of the fridge by first unplugging the unit, then removing the screws that hold the panel into place. Inspect the condenser fan for excessive dust build up and clean it if necessary. Plug the unit back in and turn up the thermostat once more. Inspect the fan to make sure it turns on. Call out a service professional for repair if it doesn't kick in.

  5. Remove the water inlet hose from the back of the fridge using a wrench if water is leaking from the unit. Inspect the hose for clogs and clean it out if necessary.

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