July 20, 2015

How to replace the compressor run capacitor in a top-freezer refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the compressor run capacitor in a top-freezer refrigerator

This DIY repair guide has step-by-step instructions for replacing the compressor run capacitor in a top-freezer refrigerator. The run capacitor continuously sends electrical current to keep the compressor running. If the house circuit breaker for your refrigerator trips as soon as the compressor tries to start, the run capacitor could have shorted out. Replace a shorted run capacitor with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Note: In refrigerators with an optional capacitor, the compressor starts and runs even if the capacitor isn't getting electrical current. A failed optional run capacitor won't keep the compressor from running, but it shortens the life of the compressor. Over time—probably a few years—you might notice the compressor motor overheating and clicking off.

This repair procedure works for Kenmore, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, GE, Samsung, LG, Gibson, Crosley, Bosch and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Nut driver set
Slot screwdriver
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace a refrigerator compressor run capacitor repair guide video.

Replacing a refrigerator compressor run capacitor video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  2. 02.

    Remove the rear compartment cover

    Pull the refrigerator away from the wall.

    Remove the screws from the rear compartment cover and then remove the cover.

    Remove the cover screws.

    Remove the cover screws.

    Remove the rear cover.

    Remove the rear cover.

  3. 03.

    Remove the run capacitor

    Pry off the wire retainer holding the start relay on the compressor.

    Pull the run capacitor off the compressor start relay.

    Pry off the wire retainer.

    Pry off the wire retainer.

    Pull out the capacitor.

    Pull out the capacitor.

  4. 04.

    Install the new run capacitor

    Plug the new run capacitor into the compressor start relay.

    Reinstall the wire retainer to hold the start relay on the compressor.

    Plug in the new capacitor.

    Plug in the new capacitor.

    Reinstall the wire retainer.

    Reinstall the wire retainer.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover

    Position the rear compartment cover on the back of the refrigerator and reinstall the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator and push the refrigerator back into place.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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