Good experience Lifestyle

DIY Refrigerator Fixes 2024

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Picture this: You find a pool of water under the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, or perhaps you’ve noticed an unsettling hum that has grown louder over the past few weeks.

These inconveniences might signal significant issues that can risk spoiling your food if not addressed.

Despite these concerning symptoms, you don’t have to rush for professional help. You can address many refrigerator problems with the appropriate tools and troubleshooting knowledge.

So, how do you DIY these refrigerator fixes?

Let’s first discuss the most common refrigerator issues you might encounter.

Frequent Refrigerator Issues

Inadequate cooling

One of the most frequent refrigerator problems is inadequate cooling. Some causes of this issue include:

  • Faulty thermostat or temperature sensor – It may not signal your refrigerator’s cooling system to function correctly.
  • Airflow obstructions and blocked air vents – There could be items blocking the vents within the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
  • Malfunctioning compressor or condenser fan – Faulty compressors can cause temperature fluctuations. Meanwhile, a faulty condenser fan may not spin, causing cooling problems.

Frost buildup

Excessive frost accumulation in the freezer can hamper proper cooling, performance, and available storage space. This issue is caused by the following:

  • Damaged gaskets or gaps in the seals – These damages can allow heat to enter the freezer, resulting in frost formation.
  • Faulty defrost system – Defective defrost components, such as the heater, thermostat, and timer, can cause frost accumulation by disrupting the defrost cycle.
  • Fluctuating temperatures – Manufacturers recommend setting the freezer temperature at zero degrees Fahrenheit. You may see a quick frost buildup if it fluctuates or is constantly warmer than the recommendation.

Leaks or puddles

The causes of water leaks or puddles include:

  • Clogged defrost drain – Defrost drain clogs like debris and ice blockages can cause water to overflow and leak.
  • Faulty dispenser or water inlet valve – These internal components may wear and tear, accumulate debris or mineral deposits, receive insufficient power, or have cracks and damage.

Malfunctioning ice maker

If you have an ice maker and encounter issues with it, the potential causes include:

  • Frozen water supply line – The ice maker’s supply line may be frozen or blocked by debris.
  • Faulty water inlet valve or solenoid – Corrosion, rusting, dirt buildup, power failure, irregular pressure, or an incorrect amount of current or voltage can cause this issue.

Other causes could be jammed ice cubes and a broken ice maker assembly.

Steps for DIY-ing Refrigerator Fixes

Basic knowledge of refrigerator troubleshooting practices can help you identify and resolve minor issues. These steps are as follows:

Check the outlet and power supply

Before opening or dismantling anything, check the outlet and power supply. Ensure your power cord is plugged in without loose connections.

If your refrigerator is still not receiving power, check the circuit breaker. If it is blown or tripped, reset the breaker and restart your refrigerator.

Restarting works if the problem is only from the power supply. Allow your refrigerator a few minutes to completely reset, delete errors, and return to default settings.

If your refrigerator has built-in diagnostic functions, review your manual to understand the codes that might appear. These messages will help you verify if the fridge is properly working.

Ensure proper temperature settings

Temperature settings affect your refrigerator’s cooling performance. If the settings are incorrect, you may encounter inadequate cooling.

Thus, you must ensure the temperature settings are set to your manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Consult your manual for the suggested settings for the refrigerator and freezer. Adjust the controls and allow the fridge to reach the ideal temperature.

According to the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), setting the refrigerator temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is also ideal.

Examine the gaskets and seals

Faulty door seals and damaged gaskets can cause air leaks, compromising your refrigerator’s cooling efficiency. You must examine these refrigerator and freezer components for the following:

  • Cracks
  • Gaps
  • Wear and tear

Damaged seals may also appear loose or torn.

If your seals and gaskets have these issues, consider replacing them to ensure proper, airtight seals. The replacements can help maintain the recommended temperatures and prevent warm air from entering.

Clean the condenser coils

Your refrigerator’s condenser coils help dissipate heat and facilitate proper cooling. However, these coils can accumulate dust, debris, pet hair, and other particles over time, impeding their efficiency.

Regularly cleaning coils helps prevent overheating and enhance cooling efficiency.

To clean the condenser coils, unplug the power outlet. Then, locate the coils. They’re usually beneath the refrigerator behind a removable panel or at the back of the unit.

Use a vacuum with a brush attachment or coil brush to remove the dirt buildup. Ensure that the coils’ front and back sides are cleaned.

Review the warranty coverage

If cleaning and basic troubleshooting don’t work, consider replacing the parts.

However, review your warranty before disassembling anything.

Many appliances typically have up to two years warranty. If your refrigerator is eligible, check the coverage.

A warranty lets you service your refrigerator for repairs for free. Otherwise, you may get free spare parts while paying only the labor costs.

Attempting to fix your refrigerator may void your warranty. So, review your warranty to avoid paying for expensive parts or repairs.

Try to repair

If your refrigerator is ineligible for warranty, try to DIY the repairs.

Start by researching to gather specific repair information for your refrigerator’s brand and model. Browse your manufacturer support page, relevant forums, social media groups, or reputable refrigerator DIY websites.

If you can find video tutorials of your refrigerator’s exact model, you can find the parts you need for the repair.

Buying brand-specific spares like Sears Kenmore refrigerator parts from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers like PartSelect is ideal for ensuring efficiency and longevity. These reputable sources guarantee compatibility and help preserve your refrigerator’s quality.

Once you have the parts, you can start the repair. Keep these reminders in mind:

  • Shut down the refrigerator and unplug it from the main power supply.
  • Store the screws and small components in a container to prevent losing them.

After completing the repairs, test your refrigerator. Don’t put it back in its original position until it’s done.

If it’s still malfunctioning, don’t try to repair it again because the issue may worsen.

Contact a refrigerator repair service

Problems that persist after repair attempts are best left in the hands of a professional repair service. Remember that even the most skilled DIYers require help with specific projects.

Professional repair services have the appropriate expertise to fix your refrigerator. They have access to authentic parts and tools and provide comprehensive solutions that help save time and costs. This way, you can restore your refrigerator’s optimal performance and prolong its lifespan.

Be Realistic

DIY-ing refrigerator fixes can help you save on costly repairs. You can become self-sufficient in tackling frequent refrigerator problems with the appropriate parts and tools.

However, being realistic about what’s possible with DIY fixes is essential. It’s better to seek professional help to ensure expert repairs for more complex issues.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.