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How to Diagnose a Broken Refrigerator

Residential kitchen, focus on refrigerator.

A broken refrigerator can be extremely inconvenient and leave you puzzled. Some issues can be easily fixed by troubleshooting them yourself. However, if at-home troubleshooting methods aren’t doing the trick, North Town Home Services provides reliable refrigerator repair services in Chicagoland. Our knowledgeable team can help you determine if repair or replacement is the right solution.

In the meantime, we’ve created this refrigerator troubleshooting guide to give you a quick solution while you wait for a professional opinion. We’ve broken this guide down by issue so you can easily troubleshoot the specific issue you’re experiencing.

If your refrigerator isn’t running and the light isn’t working …

  • Make sure the refrigerator is plugged in
  • Check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker
  • Test the power outlet for current
  • Inspect the electrical cord for damage
  • Plug the refrigerator directly into an outlet instead of using an extension cord
  • Check the outlet voltage

If your refrigerator doesn’t run but the light works …

  • Check the temperature setting
  • Make sure there is a 3-inch space outside of the refrigerator between the walls and the back and sides and a 1-inch gap above to allow sufficient airflow
  • Clean the condenser coils
  • Unplug the refrigerator, wait two hours, and plug it in again
  • Test the temperature control, evaporator fan, defrost timer, compressor relay, overload protector, and compressor motor

If your refrigerator light doesn’t work …

  • Replace the bulb
  • Test the door switch

If your refrigerator or freezer isn’t cold enough …

  • Check the temperature setting
  • Ensure that there is enough room for airflow in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Check for airflow restrictions in vents
  • Test the temperature control
  • Check the condenser coils
  • Check the door seals
  • Test the door switch
  • Test the defrost heater
  • Test the evaporator fan
  • Check for a clogged drain tube
  • Check for refrigerant leak

If your refrigerator or freezer is too cold …

  • Check the temperature setting
  • Test the temperature control

If your refrigerator is noisy or makes strange sounds …

  • Check that the refrigerator is level
  • Check the drain pain
  • Check the condenser fan
  • Check the evaporator fan
  • Inspect the compressor mounts

If your refrigerator runs continuously …

  • Defrost the freezer
  • Clean the condenser coils
  • Check the door seals
  • Test the door switch

If your refrigerator starts and stops frequently …

  • Clean the condenser coils
  • Clean the outlet voltage
  • Test the condenser fan
  • Test the compressor relay
  • Test the overload protector
  • Test the compressor motor

If your freezer doesn’t defrost automatically …

  • Test the defrost timer
  • Test the defrost heater
  • Test the defrost thermostat

If your refrigerator has an unpleasant odor …

  • Remove spoiled food
  • Clean the interior with hot water and baking soda
  • Clean the door seals
  • Remove breaker strips and check for wet insulation

If there’s water on the floor outside the refrigerator …

  • Check the drain pan
  • If you have an ice-maker, check the water supply hose going into and coming out of the water inlet valve

If there’s water inside the refrigerator …

  • Clean the drain tube
  • If you have an ice-maker, check the refrigerator and ice-maker for level

If you’re still experiencing issues after following the appropriate steps for your problem, seek out the professional help of the team at North Town Home Services. You can contact us to set up an appointment for a refrigerator repair service in Chicago today.

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