Refrigerator Problems: Tips For Troubleshooting and Fixing

There are few home breakdowns more inconvenient than an out-of-order refrigerator. Fortunately, most fridge malfunctions can be prevented with some regular maintenance.

While TotalProtect Home Warranty is always there for you with a huge network of pre-screened local technicians ready to help you, here are three key maintenance tips that you can follow now to help make sure your fridge doesn't have a preventable problem later:

  1. Check the gasket

    The gasket is the rubber seal that outlines your refrigerator doors. It may seem like an afterthought, but it has the critical responsibility of sealing out warm air. Over time, the gasket can get dirty, worn down and/or loosened, forcing your fridge to work much harder to keep its internal temperature. This not only leads to a shorter fridge lifespan, but also higher energy bills. The good news is that gaskets are usually easy to clean and replace. (in a sidebar) Not sure if your gasket needs replacing? Here's an easy test from Popular Mechanics. Place a high-beam flashlight inside your fridge with the light pointing out. Shut the door and turn off all room lights. If you see light through the door, it's time to get a new gasket

  2. Clean the condenser coils

    Condenser coils run across the bottom or back of your refrigerator and are responsible for dispersing the heat away from the appliance. When the coils get dusty or clogged up, the fridge has to work much harder to maintain its temperature. Every six months, use a vacuum and/or a brush to keep your condenser coils dirt-and debris-free. Your fridge will thank you!

  3. Clear and clean the drain hole or drip openings

    Most refrigerators have a type of drain hole or opening to allow water from within the fridge to gather underneath for evaporation. If these get clogged, it'll not only reduce your fridge's efficiency, but can also lead to some pretty messy overflows. Since the location of these openings within the fridge and proper cleaning method vary by refrigerator type, use your fridge's owner's manual to learn more.

Troubleshooting Checklist

Many of the most common refrigerator issues can be solved without calling in a professional repairman. Here is a quick troubleshooting checklist you can use if something's faulty with your fridge.

  • Make sure your electrical outlet is working and that all cords and plugs are in good shape.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is level.
  • Check your fridge thermostat to see if it's set at the right temperature.
  • Check your condenser coils for dirt and debris.
  • Check your gasket for debris and/or damage.
  • Check your water supply line for leaks.
Know When to Call a Professional

Despite the checklist above, as Popular Mechanics explains, any problem that requires handling toxic coolant under pressure and sensitive technologies surpasses most do-it-yourself skills. Call a professional if you notice:

  • Hissing
  • Poorer cooling (first check that the temp gauge is set properly and vents are not blocked by food)
  • Significant leaks, without success locating the source
  • Sweating on the outside of the unit
  • Constant on/off cycling even after cleaning condenser coils
TotalProtect to the Rescue 24/7

TotalProtect Home Warranty is always there whenever your systems or appliances fail, even on holidays and weekends! We will send a knowledgeable, pre-screened service provider to repair or replace your refrigerator quickly. You are also covered for repairs or replacement of other major appliances, such as your oven, washer and dryer, and home systems, such as your air conditioning, heating and plumbing. See what TotalProtect customers say about our reliability, speed and quality repair work. Get started on your peace of mind today!

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.