Four of the Most Common Refrigerator Maintenance Calls

Unlike other major appliances, a refrigerator is always on. It’s constantly working and occasionally, things can go wrong. Below are some of the most common refrigerator issues you may be called on to investigate.

1. Weird Noises

If you are charged with finding the source of that loud or strange noise coming from the refrigerator, you’ll want to check the condenser fan motor or the evaporator fan motor.

First disconnect the power, then open rear access panel to check the fans and motors. Clear away any dust or debris that might be blocking the fan. If the fan blades seem damaged or if the motor is worn, they may need replacing. Also check the rubber mounting grommets for signs of wear and replace as needed. If an evaporator fan motor grommet is worn or detached, there will be excess vibration and noise.

A damaged gasket can allow for air leaks, creating excessive moisture and defrosting.

2. Leaking

The source of a leaking refrigerator is usually related to the unit’s icemaker or damaged gaskets. First check the refrigerator door gaskets or seals for an airtight seal. A damaged gasket can allow for air leaks, creating excessive moisture and defrosting. Once you replace gaskets remind residents to keep them clean and dry for best results.

If the gaskets seem fine, and the unit has a water dispenser or ice maker, the leak may be coming from the water inlet valve or ice maker. Inspect the water supply connections, valves, and tubing for leaks. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed. If water is collecting around the icemaker, inspect the fill tube and ice maker mold. Clear away any ice buildup or blockages. Also check the outlet tubing from the fill valve to the ice maker fill tube and replace if necessary.

3. Refrigerator/Freezer Not Running

refrigerator temperature

Refrigerator temperature should be set about 35°F, and freezers around 0°F

If the refrigerator won’t start and no fans are running, first check the power supply to be sure the unit is getting adequate voltage. Also check compressors and temperature controls. Usually, the temperature control knob is in the fresh food section control panel. If you find it faulty when adjusting to a colder setting, the temperature control may need replacing.

If you are working on a newer refrigerator, it may have an electronic control board that monitors temperatures and controls the compressor, fans, and defrost system. If the refrigerator will not start, check the control board. Disconnect power and inspect the control board for signs of damage and burnt connections. If needed, replace the entire electronic control board.

4. Refrigerator is Not Cold Enough

If the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, you can fix this once you know cause. Likely reasons include:

  • Faulty door gaskets–make sure the doors are sealing properly every time.  
  • Dirty condenser coils– this could cause some strain on the unit.  
  • Clogged vents between the freezer and refrigerator–if the vents are blocked by ice, the air flow is blocked as well, and the refrigerator won’t cool properly.  
  • Non-functioning thermostat—refrigerator temperature should be set about 35°F, and freezers around 0°F  


Whatever the problem you face, be sure to use reliable refrigerator repair parts and tools to make sure the job goes smoothly.

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