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Refrigerator Problems: How To Fix Common Issues

Distraught woman dealing with refirgerator problems.

Refrigerator Problems: How To Fix Common Issues

With refrigerator problems, there’s more at stake than just your appliance. Issues related to temperature or leakage can cause food spoilage and damage to your home.

Appliance repair costs add up quickly. In fact, the average refrigerator costs between $230 and $300 to repair. Naturally, replacements can be even more expensive, and not accounting for the price of kitchen repairs or replacing wasted groceries.

Get to the bottom of what’s wrong with your fridge with our guide to common refrigerator problems and how to fix them.

What are the most common refrigerator problems?

The most common refrigerator problems include:

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, these are the issues you’re most likely to encounter.

Did you know? If you have a home warranty with SHW, repairs for your refrigerator may be covered. Just submit a claim.

Don’t have a home warranty? It all starts with a free quote!

1. Your refrigerator has no power.

Before tinkering with any settings or parts on your fridge, take a moment to check for any obvious issues.

Step #1: Make sure the refrigerator is plugged in.

This could be an issue if you’ve just moved-in to a new home or done some recent cleaning. Move the appliance away from the wall and check the outlet to ensure it is plugged in securely. You should also check the power cord for damage. If the power cord is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

Step #2: Inspect circuit breakers in your home.

A tripped breaker could also cause power issues related to your refrigerator. Inspecting the circuit breakers in your home will quickly rule this out as an issue.

Step: #3: Check the lights inside your fridge.

If your refrigerator is cool but the interior lights are out, you may just need to replace the bulb. For most models, all you’ll need is a screwdriver and a new light bulb. Check your owner’s manual for the correct wattage.

2. Your refrigerator or freezer isn’t staying cool.

Temperature problems are one of the most common issues with refrigerators. There could be a few reasons for temperature fluctuations, and they are often simple to fix.

Step #1: Check temperature settings.

If you notice condensation or food going bad quickly, the first thing you should do is check your temperature settings. Your refrigerator should be set to 40° F or lower, while your freezer should be at 0° F (FDA).

Step #2: Leave space around your refrigerator.

Bad airflow also contributes to changing temperatures inside your refrigerator. Make sure you leave at least one-quarter inch of space on the sides of your fridge and at least one inch around the top and back. This will ensure enough space for airflow from external vents.

Step #3: Make sure the vents are clear.

Clear items away from internal vents to allow for proper circulation of cold air. We all want to keep our fridges packed, but blocking vents can lead to higher temperatures, which are no good for keeping foods fresh.

Here are some helpful cleaning tips for the inside of your refrigerator.

Step #4: Check the refrigerator door seal.

A broken or weak door seal contributes to temperature changes in your refrigerator. If you find your refrigerator doors aren’t closing properly, replacing the seal will solve this issue.

Step #5: Clean the condenser coils.

The condenser can be found at the back or near the bottom of your fridge, depending on the brand. If the coils get too dusty, they have trouble releasing heat. This leads to higher temperatures inside your fridge.

Be sure to unplug the power supply. Next, use a brush and vacuum to get rid of excess dust and debris.

Reminder: Home warranty coverage can help when it comes to repairs and parts replacements. We’ll send a professional to diagnose your issue quickly. Call 860-288-4791 to get started.

3. Water leaks from your refrigerator.

A leaky fridge is an issue no one wants to deal with. There are several parts to check if your refrigerator is leaking.

Step #1: Unclog the defrost drain.

The defrost drain is located in the rear panel of your freezer. This drain can become clogged or frozen.

  • In the case that it is clogged, clear away any debris that is blocking the drain.
  • If the defrost drain is frozen, flush it with warm water to melt away ice buildup.

Step #2: Check the water filter connection.

Most modern refrigerators are connected to water lines that supply filtered drinking water. Problems with the connection to the water line can cause leaking. Make sure that the line is connected properly and the seal or housing isn’t cracked. These parts can be replaced if they are broken.

Step #3: Replace the drain pan.

A cracked drip or drain pan may cause water to leak from the refrigerator onto your kitchen floor. The drain pan should be replaced if it is damaged. You can find the drain pan at the bottom of your fridge in most models.

Leaking water can also be a sign that your refrigerator is dying.

4. Ice builds up in your freezer.

If you notice ice building up in your freezer, some of the same solutions to a refrigerator not staying cool may help:

  • Check the temperature of your freezer.
  • Inspect freezer door seals.
  • Make sure vents are clear.

If these solutions aren’t working, there are more things you can try for a DIY fix.

Step #1: Defrost your freezer.

Removing your food from the freezer and turning it off to let ice melt can solve this kind of issue. Many manufacturers recommend a yearly defrost to prevent ice buildup from happening.

Step #2: Clean the ice maker damper door.

Your ice maker has a damper door that allows ice to fall down into a collection area. When this door gets dirty, debris causes it to not close properly, which in turn allows frost to build up. Cleaning the damper door can easily solve this issue.

Having trouble with your ice maker? Check out our ice maker troubleshooting guide.

5. Your refrigerator constantly cycles.

Your refrigerator should be turning on and off throughout the day; this means it is functioning normally. If you hear fans and motors constantly running, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Step #1: Readjust your temperature settings.

If there is constant noise from your fridge, the temperature may be set too low. This will cause components to work harder than necessary. Make sure you have your fridge and freezer set to correct temperatures.

Step #2: Clean the condenser coils.

As with a refrigerator that doesn’t stay cool, dirty condenser coils may cause constant cycling. Keep the condenser coils clean to avoid temperature issues and component problems.

Does a home warranty cover refrigerator problems?

Yes, a home warranty includes coverage on refrigerators as well as ice makers that are part of a refrigerator unit. A well-maintained refrigerator can last up to 20 years, and a home warranty will help you reach that milestone.

Refrigerator repairs can be expensive, but with a home warranty, they don’t have to be. Check out our plans and find the coverage that is right for your home. Get your free quote online or call us today at 860-288-4791.