One of the many indispensable inventions of the modern era is the refrigerator in your kitchen. It keeps your food fresh until you need it and lets you avoid going grocery shopping daily. If your fridge isn’t working correctly then you might find your life disrupted in some unpleasant ways, and you might also be putting your health at risk from contaminated food. Below are some tips on how to identify and deal with common issues with your refrigerator.
Note that before you tackle some of these tasks you may need to turn off the power to your fridge and disconnect it from the power socket. You may also need to remove the food from the fridge if it is going to get in the way or become a hazard.
Water leaking onto the floor of your kitchen is an obvious tripping hazard, so this issue should be dealt with quickly. There are a few different reasons why water might be leaking from your fridge. Fortunately, they are easy to deal with.
A blocked defrost drain is one of these reasons. The drain can often get blocked by a buildup of food debris or other gunk. If there is ice forming on the floor of the freezer then this is also a good indicator that the drain is not working.
You can find the top opening of the drain at the back of your freezer. If necessary, you may need to remove any panels that are obstructing it to get access. Once you’ve located the top of the drain and gained access to it, you’ll want to run some hot water down the drain tube to defrost any frozen material, and then clean the tube with a pipe cleaner or a similar tool. The resulting water and debris pushed through the tube should end up in a pan at the bottom of the refrigerator that is designed to accumulate water as part of the defrosting process. This pan can normally be removed for cleaning. You may want to locate this pan and give it a clean-out before you begin to avoid having it overflow.
If you have access to compressed air, then you may want to also try blowing some air into the drain tube. Try blowing it through from both ends and see what pops out. Sometimes bits of food packaging can end up lodged in the defrost-drain, so you may find a bit of paper or plastic that was clogging things up blown free.
If your refrigerator has an ice or cold-water dispenser then the water supply for this may also be the cause of the leaking water. Generally, water will leak here if the water supply line becomes damaged.
First, you’ll need to find the shut-off valve for the water supply line. Check the end of the line where it is connected to your household plumbing and turn off the shut-off valve when you find it. Inspect the line and see if there is any water leaking from it or any signs of obvious damage. Replace the line if needed. Also, check the line connectors to ensure that they are sealing the line correctly.
Freezer Not Cold
If the food in your freezer isn’t staying frozen then you’ll need to find out the reason why. Also, check if any of this food is going bad and throw it out as needed. Need to dispose of food gone bad? Read more…
First, check that the thermostat is correctly set. Get yourself a refrigerator thermometer and place it into the fridge on a middle tray. Check that the temperature stays around forty degrees Fahrenheit or five degrees Celsius. If it is higher than this then adjust the thermostat on the refrigerator to turn down the temperature.
If the problem persists then touch the back wall of the freezer and see if it is icy cold. If it’s cold, then listen for the freezer evaporator fan or place your hand over the evaporator fan vents and see if there is air flowing through them. If the fan isn’t working, then you’ll need to get it repaired or replaced.
If the fan is working, then the problem may lie with the refrigerator’s compressor system. The compressor pumps gas through condenser coils at the back of your fridge to get rid of the heat it collects, so check if these coils are covered in dust or other material that could be inhibiting this process. Also, check that the coils have unobstructed ventilation at the top and bottom of the fridge to allow the heat to escape via convection.
Cycling Occurring Too Frequently
This is also a problem that can be caused by dirty or obstructed condenser coils or an incorrectly set thermostat. Check both issues as described in the previous section.
If neither of these is the answer then the problem likely lies with the refrigerator’s motor, compressor, or temperature regulation systems. These are all problems for a professional so it’s best to call a repair person to deal with them. More on how to hire a reputable subcontractor is discussed HERE.
Fresh Food Area Is Getting Too Warm or Too Cold
The main part of your refrigerator is designed to keep food at a temperature of around forty degrees Fahrenheit or five degrees Celsius. This ensures that the food is cold enough to significantly delay spoiling but not cold enough to freeze the food. If the food is too warm or cold enough to freeze then your fridge likely has a problem with temperature regulation or airflow.
The first thing you should do is follow the directions discussed previously to check that the thermostat is set correctly. If that is correctly set and working properly then you’ll want to check the door seals to see if there are any gaps. Also, check for anything that might be stuck to the door seal which may be propping it open slightly.
If the main part of the fridge is getting too cold, then check that the freezer door is closing correctly. If there is anything stopping it from closing all the way, then the freezing cold air in that section will be escaping into the compartments below.
Also, check that the fan that blows air from the freezer into the main part of the refrigerator is working. If not, then you will need to get a technician to look at it.
Most of the food that you eat is stored in your fridge to keep it fresh and stop it from going bad. Because of this, it’s extremely important that your refrigerator is doing its job correctly. If it isn’t then you may end up throwing away food that has spoiled before its time or even consuming food that is unsafe to eat. If you encounter any of the issues discussed here or any other problems with your fridge it is best to deal with them as soon as possible.