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Professional refrigerator repair can be quite expensive; however, many repairs can be done without professional help. Some of the most common problems are actually easy to fix. All it takes is a little time and some simple directions.
If the refrigerator will not run after it has been moved, the problem is probably a loose wire. Simply unplug the main power cord, and then remove the back service panel. To determine which wire is loose, check each wire in a systematic manner. Once the loose wire is discovered, simply tighten it or reattach it.
The location of the refrigerator may cause problems with the appliance, as well. Most refrigerators cannot safely keep food cold when the surrounding air temperature dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius). The lower the temperature in the surrounding air falls, the less frequently the compressor will run. In most refrigerators, if the surrounding air temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius), then the compressor will stop completely and food will spoil. Moving the refrigerator to a warmer location will easily fix the problem without using a refrigerator repair technician.
Another easy refrigerator repair involves fixing a cracked gasket near the refrigerator door. Without a tight fitting gasket, electricity will be wasted. If the gasket is simply cracked and does not need to be replaced, roll the gasket open. Then, apply silicone caulk to the inside of the gasket.
If the gasket on the refrigerator door does need to be replaced, there are a few more steps. First, order a new gasket for the particular refrigerator make and model. Gaskets are usually held in place by a piece of retainer strip or by screws – or both. Roll back the gasket and loosen the screws. Slip the gasket out from under the retainer. Position the new gasket over the top of the retainer near the door corners; then, slide the gasket under the retainer. Tighten the screws on the corners first; however, it is important not to over tighten them – as they will crack the plastic liner of the door.
Refrigerator repair can be more difficult if the appliance is not properly keeping food cold. A few ways to quickly check whether the refrigerator is maintaining the proper temperature is to put a refrigerator thermometer in the center of the middle shelf. It should read between 34 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 to 4.4 degrees Celsius). If a simple thermostat adjustment will not fix the problem, the condenser coils or condenser fan may be clogged or obstructed underneath or in back of the refrigerator.
Sometimes finding the problem is only half the battle. Refrigerator repair can become a daunting task and the problem can be worsened if it is not properly fixed. In many cases, if the condenser coils, condenser fan, or compressor needs to be replaced, a professional service man will need to be called. Often, such a replacement will be covered under warranty and can be replaced by a skilled technician free of charge.
Personally, I would leave refrigerator compressor repair up to professionals, since that's a very complex piece of equipment. Other problems like excessive icing in the freezer compartment can usually be addressed by the owner, even if takes a little trial and error. A lot of problems are caused by outside moisture getting past the gaskets or improper thermostat settings. Too much food and not enough air circulation can also be a problem.
One thing I've learned is that keeping the coils on the back of the refrigerator clean is more important than people realize. Refrigerators are really giant heat sinks. They don't make things cold as much as they draw heat away from them. If the coils collect too much dust from the air, they become insulated and won't dissipate the heat as well.
Make a point of pulling out the refrigerator from time to time and vacuuming out the coils. It can make a significant difference in efficiency.
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