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10 Common Refrigerator Repair Problems

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common refrigerator repair problems
Mar 2022

Refrigerators are essential appliances for every home to save time, stress, and money. Its management capacity is especially notable when it comes to keeping perishables fresh. However, they sometimes get faulty. Thus, you may need to know common refrigerator repair problems.

It’s never a good feeling to realize your refrigerator is faulty, and your foodstuff is liable to spoil. Similarly, the sudden discovery that there’s no cold water to quench your thirst can be disheartening.

Refrigerators are susceptible to different faults, and some faults may be milder than others. For the milder faults, you may be able to fix them yourself. Meanwhile, intricate faults may need the expertise of a refrigerator repair technician.

Here, we’ll take you through 10 refrigerator problems. Also, we’ll highlight how to diagnose a refrigerator problem. In addition, we’ll explain quick fixes for mild issues your refrigerator may develop.

So, let’s go!

1. Frost Accumulation in Ice Dispenser

This problem is a viral issue with most refrigerators. Fortunately, you can DIY if your refrigerator needs this repair.

Your ice dispenser must be able to open and close for ice to drop from it. Also, the opening and closing door is known as a damper door. Usually, damper doors have a material on their edges that makes ice shoots airtight. Thus, there tends to be a malfunction once the damper lining material suffers a dent or gets dirty.

The dent in the damper door lining usually causes a loose closure. The looseness further lets damp air into the freezer compartment. Therefore, the frozen version of the let-in air turns to frost. Resultantly, cooling and airflow problems arise.

Check for loose parts of your damper door edges if you experience frost buildup in your refrigerator. Usually, the cause of frost accumulation is a dirty damper door lining. So, you only need to clean up in such instances. You may, however, require the services of a refrigerator repair technician if the damper lining is broken.

2. Refrigerator is Freezing instead of Only Cooling

This heading is also one of the most common refrigerator repair problems.

This problem arises when you realize your food is being frozen instead of just cooling. The thermostat is usually the problem here because it controls the refrigerator temperature.

The thermostat is in control of the evaporator motor and compressor. So, the refrigerator may run more intensely than usual if the thermostat is malfunctioning. The resultant intensity causes the fridge to get too cold and causes food to freeze.

Firstly, rotate the thermostat knob from highest to lowest. Then go from highest to lowest. Particularly listen for a click as you turn in both directions. Your thermostat is likely in good condition if you hear a click. So just reset it to your chosen temperature.

But you may need to test the thermostat with a multimeter if you don’t hear a click. The multimeter usually checks the thermostat for continuity. Thus, you may need to hire a technician if your thermostat doesn’t show continuity. Or replace the thermostat if you can. 

3. Incessant Refrigerator Cycling

A constantly recycling refrigerator means your energy consumption is intensifying. Likewise, your bill is also accumulating fast, except you’re using solar energy.

Several things cause refrigerators to recycle incessantly. One significant cause is dirt buildup around condenser coils. So, firstly, unplug your fridge before you carry out any cleaning endeavour.

Furthermore, you’ll find the condenser coils just behind at the bottom of your fridge. A grill usually shields its compartment. Loosen or unstrap the grill from the back to access the condenser coils. Afterwards, you can use a cloth or small vacuum cleaner to remove the debris accumulation on the coils.

Once done, put back the grill and reconnect the refrigerator to power. This option will most times work. However, there’s still a chance that this DIY refrigerator repair fix doesn’t work for you. Therefore, you may have to replace a defective part with the help of a refrigerator technician.

4. Water Leakage

This refrigerator issue is one of the top common refrigerator repair problems. It is particularly problematic due to its potential to cause domestic accidents. For example, anyone can slip if the water leaks onto the floor and they don’t know. It can be more terrible with children running around in such a vicinity.

This problem may also prove dicy to solve because it may have more than one cause. However, the most common causes have quick fixes too.

One major cause of water leakage onto the bare floor is defrosting drain blockage. Refrigerators/freezers usually have their defrost drains directly over the freezer slant from behind the freezer. As a result, it is easy for food particles and other dirt to drop into the drainage and clog it.

The clog of filth inevitably leads to ice buildup and water leakage. Fortunately, you can quickly fix this by declogging the hole with reasonably hot water. In addition, you can use a long flexible tool like pipe cleaners to support the declogging process.

Sometimes, the clogging may be too solid for the above fix to dissolve. Therefore, you may have to resort to manual declogging. Manual declogging simply involves removing solid clog through the tail of the drain hose.

After declogging, cleanse the drainage hose using soap and hot water before re-installation.

Another reason for water leakage from your refrigerator onto the floor is ice clogs. The ice clogs can cause the ice maker to malfunction and lead to water leakage. Thus, you’ll need first to turn off the refrigerator and find the shut-off valve.

The shut-off valve is usually behind your refrigerator, under the sink, or in your refrigerator basement. Once found, ensure closure of the valve and carry out inspection of supply lines. A break or tear means you may need to change the plastic supply lines.

Lastly, simply call a technician if you cannot find a way around these fixes. Fortunately, you can still preserve your foods even with water line damage. Only your ice/water dispenser won’t work.

Related Article: What to Do If Your Refrigerator Won’t Turn On

water leakage

5. Ice Sheet on Freezer Floor

Ice sheets are usually signs of a cloggy defrost drain. It may also cause water to drop into the fridge sometimes. Luckily, you can easily fix this issue. This problem has one of the easiest solutions to common refrigerator problems.

Simply transfer your foodstuff from the refrigerator in the meantime. Afterwards, unplug the refrigerator and let it defrost.

You can take more intricate measures to get rid of ice sheets. Do this by first removing the rear wall of the freezer part. Afterwards, inspect for food particles clogging the hole beneath the evaporator coils. Finally, consider getting refrigerator repair services if the problem persists. 

6. Refrigerator not Coming On 

Another common refrigerator repair problem is the fridge refusing to come on. There may be several reasons why a refrigerator may not come on. But a common cause of refrigerator failure is a faulty capacitor.

Usually, the thermostat signals the ignition capacitor to stimulate the compressor. This stimulation is what triggers refrigeration cycles in fridges. However, a faulty capacitor means there’s no trigger for refrigeration and sometimes ignition.

In addition, a faulty thermostat can also lead to a non-functional refrigerator. This malfunction is because the thermostat is the beginning of the ignition process of the refrigerator. You’ll most likely need a fridge technician to help fix this problem.

7. Malfunctioning Water Dispenser

Three factors can make your refrigerator’s water dispenser stop working.

Firstly, it could be your frozen water tube in the door. To be sure, simply remove the tube from the base of the door and blow air into it. The inability of air to pass through it freely means the tube is frozen. Just fix it by melting the tube freeze.

This problem will hardly happen again once you set your freezer temperature adequately. Zero to ten degrees should do. Anything lower will freeze up your water line.

Similarly, a faulty water valve can cause a malfunctioning water dispenser. This inlet valve is the passage for water supply into the dispenser. Thus, a valve with a dent will cause the water valve to remain shut. Meanwhile, don’t jump to conclusions that the water valve is bad. So, check the equation of the water pressure to the water valve if it’s averagely at 20 psi.

8. Overflowing Ice Maker

Sometimes, it’s not that your refrigerator stopped working. It may be that the icemaker is just overflowing. Don’t fret. It is one of the most common refrigerator repair problems. It may also have different causes.

However, the water inlet valve is the primary cause of an overflowing ice maker. The water valve will hardly fully close even when power is off. This half closure is because the water pressure is below the requirement.

The above will cause water leakage in the icemaker and cause an overflow in the ice maker. Set the water pressure to a minimum of 20 psi to solve this issue.

Ultimately, check water pressure appropriateness if it is set to 20psi and you still experience ice maker overflow. It may be that your water valve is defective. So you may need to replace it.  

9. Refrigerator not Getting Cold 

Another of the most common refrigerator repair problems is the refrigerator not cooling. In this case, your fridge becomes less and less cold. This issue usually leads to your food getting spoiled quickly.

But you can easily fix this yourself sometimes. First, check if the aluminum walls of your freezer or refrigerator are cold. If it’s cold, listen for the evaporator motor sound. If the evaporator motor is barely sounding, that’s probably the problem.

The compressor is the next place to check if the evaporator motor is working. The compressor is made up of coils that usually emit heat. So check if there’s no dirt choking the coils. If there is, simply clean the coils.

Please make sure you put off the refrigerator when trying to clean the coil area. Also, get a technician to fix the problem if it persists after trying DIY refrigerator repair options.  

not getting cold

10. Loud Noise From Refrigerator

Noise emission from refrigerators is quite peculiar among the common refrigerator repair problems. You’ll most likely know when your refrigerator is sounding odd.

Firstly, you need to locate from where the sound is coming. For example, is it from the bottom, the inside, or the back of the refrigerator?

You may discover a loose drain pan is the cause of the unpleasant sound from the refrigerator. To fix this, simply fasten the pan to its place with its straps or bolts. Tranquility should return afterwards.

Meanwhile, you can also discover the noise in the form of scraping or tapping sounds. Again, it may be a defective defrost timer. Next, inspect for undue frost accumulation in the freezer corners. If you find frost, that’s a sign of a malfunctioning timer.

Furthermore, monitor how long the loud tapping or scraping sound lasts. The timer needs replacement if the noise lasts up to an hour or takes days. Reach out to a refrigerator repair technician for further help.

Also, you may need to check the condenser fans if the sound is from behind. However, please note that some refrigerators aren’t built with condenser fans. Thus, you needn’t worry about this DIY repair option if yours is one of such peculiar cases.

Nonetheless, you’ll find the condenser fans just behind the access panel(outside the fridge). You can clean with a soft cloth or brush. You may need a professional refrigerator repair technician to check your fridge if the noise persists after this.

Related Article:  How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Whirlpool Refrigerator?


Refrigerators are ease appliances that every home should have. However, they’re subject to damage and accidents too. Such common refrigerator repair problems are the focus of this article.

Alongside, you don’t have to be lost when your refrigerator develops a fault. This assertion is evident in the highlighting of refrigerator problem causes. 

In addition, we gave answers to questions like – how to fix my refrigerator? You’ll find such answers in the solutions to common refrigerator problems above. 

There are, however, times when your refrigerator defies all DIY refrigerator repair options at your disposal. Don’t fret. Simply reach out to Prime Appliance Repair and we’ll have our professional refrigerator repair technicians come to attend to you. 

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