July 20, 2015

How to replace the light switch in a top-freezer refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the light switch in a top-freezer refrigerator

The easy-to-follow instructions in this DIY repair guide explain how to replace the light switch in a top-freezer refrigerator. The light switch turns the refrigerator light on and off when you open and close the refrigerator door. The refrigerator light switch also monitors the door position for the electronic control board. If the door is open for more than 5 minutes, a door alarm sounds. If the light doesn't turn on when you open the refrigerator door or if the door alarm sounds when the door is closed, replace the light switch with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This basic procedure works for Kenmore, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, GE, Gibson, Crosley and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Slot screwdriver
Nut driver set
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace a top-freezer refrigerator light switch repair guide video.

Replacing a refrigerator light switch video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  2. 02.

    Remove the control box

    Remove the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Pull the control box forward to disengage the tabs at the back of the control box.

    Pull the control box down and unplug the control box wire harness from the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Remove the control box and place it on a work table.

    Remove the control box screw.

    Remove the control box screw.

    Pull the control box down.

    Pull the control box down.

    Unplug the wire harness.

    Unplug the wire harness.

  3. 03.

    Remove the light switch

    Press the side locking tab in and push the light switch out of the control box.

    Disconnect the wires from the light switch.

    Release the locking tab.

    Release the locking tab.

    Push out the light switch.

    Push out the light switch.

    Disconnect the wires.

    Disconnect the wires.

  4. 04.

    Install the new light switch

    Connect the wires to the new light switch.

    Push the new light switch into the control box and engage the side locking tabs.

    Connect the light switch wires.

    Connect the light switch wires.

    Install the light switch.

    Install the light switch.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the control box

    Plug the control box wire harness into the refrigerator compartment ceiling connector.

    Line up the drain tube spout at the back of the control box with the drain hole in the upper back wall of the refrigerator compartment.

    Push the control box back across the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment, inserting the drain tube into the drain hole and engaging the tabs at the back of the control box.

    Reinstall the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Plug in the wire harness.

    Plug in the wire harness.

    Line up the drain tube.

    Line up the drain tube.

    Reinstall the control box.

    Reinstall the control box.

    Reinstall the screw.

    Reinstall the screw.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator to restore power.

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: 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: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems

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 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
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator door gasket

The door gasket seals the gap around the door to keep the cold air in and the warm air out. It’s easy to replace a worn or torn gasket.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

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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