Easy DIY Refrigerator Repairs

 

By Kim Hillegass, Sears PartsDirect

 

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It's very frustrating to find your refrigerator­ fully loaded with fresh groceries suddenly isn’t cooling. With Sears PartsDirect DIY help, however, you don’t have to worry about the food spoiling while you wait for a service technician. I've listed some very simple DIY repairs that generally take less than 30 minutes to complete, saving you both time and money. These repairs require only a few tools and the right part.

For more troubleshooting tips and repair help, check out our DIY Refrigerator Repair. If your refrigerator is showing an error code, use our error code page to figure out the problem.

Refrigerator Not Cooling Well

It’s pretty easy to tell when you’re refrigerator isn’t cooling well–the butter gets soft or fresh milk sours quickly. Because “not cooling well” is a common symptom, it can have several possible causes. The following four repairs are among the easiest to do yourself.

Door gasket

The refrigerator door gasket forms an airtight seal between the refrigerator cabinet and the door. If the door gasket is cracked or worn, cold air will escape the refrigerator and the temperature can rise to a level unsafe for food storage. Replacing the gasket is easy following the instructions in our DIY repair guide How to Replace a Refrigerator Door Gasket.

Condenser coil

The condenser in your refrigerator is a heat exchanger that allows heat to be released from the refrigerant flowing inside the condenser coils. When dust accumulates on the coils, the condenser can’t transfer the heat from the refrigerant as easily as it should, and the refrigerator won’t cool effectively. If your refrigerator isn't cooling well, check the condenser coils to see if they need cleaning. Our DIY repair guide How to Clean Refrigerator Condenser Coils tells you how to do it.

Thermistor

A thermistor is a temperature sensor located in the refrigerator. It lets the main control board know what the temperature is. If the thermistor stops working, temperatures in the refrigerator won't be correct. Our DIY repair guide How to Replace a Refrigerator Thermistor has easy-to-follow instructions for this repair. If the freezer in your refrigerator is located at the top, check out our DIY repair guide How to Replace the Thermistor in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator.

Temperature control thermostat

The temperature control thermostat senses the refrigerator temperature, and turns the compressor on and off to regulate the temperature. If it stops sensing the temperature or no longer regulates the compressor, you can replace it by following the instructions in our DIY repair guide How to Replace a Refrigerator Temperature Control Thermostat.

 

Refrigerator Compressor Won’t Start

A refrigerator compressor is part of the sealed-system that keeps the refrigerator cooling, “squeezing” low-pressure refrigerant gas into a high-pressure, super-heated gas. When the compressor starts, it usually makes a humming sound. If the compressor won’t start, it might not be a problem with the compressor itself. The repairs below fix two common reasons the compressor won’t start, and both are very easy to do.

Compressor start relay

The compressor start relay sends electrical current to the compressor motor start and run windings to start the compressor. If the start relay stops working, the compressor won't start. Replacing the compressor start relay is easy to do if you follow the instructions in our DIY repair guide How to Replace the Compressor Start Relay in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator. While the repair guide is for a top-freezer refrigerator, the repair is similar for most types of refrigerators.

Compressor run capacitor

The run capacitor continuously sends electrical current to keep the compressor running. Replacing the compressor run capacitor is another easy repair—we show you how in our DIY repair guide How to Replace the Compressor Run Capacitor in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator. This repair guide works with most types of refrigerators.

Refrigerator Ice Maker and Dispenser Not Getting Water

Having ice and water at your fingertips might be one of the reasons you chose your refrigerator. If that great convenience suddenly stops working, the repair guide below might fix the problem.

Water inlet valve

The water valve in your refrigerator controls the flow of water to the ice maker and water dispenser, opening and closing to allow water through as needed. If you're not getting water out of the dispenser, the water valve on your refrigerator might be the issue. Replacing the water valve is easy to do—see how in our DIY repair guide How to Replace a Refrigerator Water Valve.

You can find many more DIY repairs for common refrigerator problems in our Refrigerator Repair Guides section.

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