Refrigerator Common Questions

These common questions about refrigerators are the ones our experts hear the most often from our customers. You might also find the help you need by checking the common symptoms  and solutions for refrigerators. When you’re ready to make a repair, has the part  you need, no matter where you bought your refrigerator.


Why does my refrigerator run all the time?

Compressors in current refrigerator models are smaller and more efficient. They're designed to run 80% of the time or more. The run time is also affected by how often the door is opened, room temperature and the amount of food in the refrigerator. For example, a sparsely loaded refrigerator runs longer because there isn’t enough food inside the compartments to retain the cold. A refrigerator loaded with lots of new groceries must run longer to cool the food.

Check the door gaskets. A loose or damaged door gasket lets warm moist air seep into the cabinet, causing the compressor to run almost constantly. If the door gasket is damaged, replace it using the steps in this repair guide.

Why is my refrigerator too warm even though the freezer is cold?


Check your control settings. If necessary, adjust them to cool the refrigerator section.

Vents between the freezer and refrigerator allow good air flow between the compartments. Check your owner’s manual for the location of the vents and arrange food items to keep the vents clear.

Look for frost or ice on the inside back wall of the freezer. Frost usually indicates an automatic defrost system problem. Ice not defrosted from the evaporator fins can inhibit airflow into the refrigerator.

See Refrigerator Won't Cool Troubleshooting Video: Defrost System Problems for advice for in diagnosing and fixing this type of problem.

Why is water leaking from the freezer onto the top shelves of my top-mount refrigerator?


Ice is probably clogging the defrost drain tube. To defrost the drain tube,  empty the refrigerator and unplug it for 24 hours. Prop the doors completely open.

After 24 hours, plug in the refrigerator. If water continues to leak, unplug the refrigerator and remove the inside back panel in the freezer to access the drain under the evaporator. Defrost the drain and pour hot water down the drain tube to clear it.

How do I align the doors on my side-by-side refrigerator?


You can find the door adjustment instructions in your owner's manual. Adjust the height and position of the door hinges to align the doors. Add metal shims to the bottom hinges if necessary to slightly raise the height of a door.

How can I keep my refrigerator smelling fresh?


Spills inside the refrigerator can cause odors. Regularly clean your shelves with mild soapy water and dry them completely. 

Keep food items covered or wrapped to prevent food odors from filling the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

Place an opened box of baking soda on a shelf inside the refrigerator compartment to absorb odors.

Ice cubes in the freezer compartment absorb odors. If your ice cubes smell bad, discard the ice cubes and allow the ice maker to produce a fresh batch of clean ice.

If your refrigerator has an air filter, replace it every 6 months. You can order a new air filter at Sears PartsDirect.

Why isn't my ice maker making ice?


If your ice maker isn’t making ice, first be sure that the on/off switch on the ice maker is turned on. 

Next, if your ice maker has a level-sending arm, verify that the arm is in the down position.

Check that the water supply going to the refrigerator is turned on.

Change the water filter (if present on your refrigerator) if the filter has not been replaced in the last 6 months.

Check your owner’s manual for additional troubleshooting help regarding ice production.

What should I do if the power to my refrigerator goes out?


If your refrigerator loses power because of a power outage or other reason, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep warm air out; the food will stay cold for a few hours with the doors shut. 

Empty the ice bin if you expect the power to be off for an extended period. If you don’t empty the ice bin, the ice will melt and cause problems if the water leaks out of the ice storage bin. The water can also hinder the ice dispenser from working properly if the water refreezes into a sheet or block of solid ice when the refrigerator restarts.

After power is restored, discard food that may have spoiled. 

What should I do when the power comes back on after a power outage?


When electric service returns after a power outage, the refrigerator immediately starts cooling. It can take up to 24 hours for the temperatures inside the refrigerator and freezer compartments to stabilize. 

Discard food that could have spoiled while the power was out. 

If the ice in the storage bin is partially melted, discard the ice cubes and allow the ice maker to produce a fresh batch of ice. 

Place an open box of baking soda on a refrigerator shelf to absorb odors that might have developed in the refrigerator during the power outage.

What does ENERGY STAR qualified mean?


Refrigerators that are ENERGY STAR qualified use less energy than standard refrigerators. ENERGY STAR refrigerators meet strict US Department of Energy standards for energy usage to qualify for the ENERGY STAR rating. Because ENERGY STAR refrigerators use less energy, they save you money on your electricity bill and help protect the environment by decreasing energy demand.

Why is the inside of my refrigerator sweating?


The inside of a refrigerator sweats when the weather is humid and the refrigerator door is opened several times in a short period.  The condensation usually goes away after the door stays closed for an hour or two. 

A leak of warm, moist air into the refrigerator compartment also causes the interior of the refrigerator to sweat. Make sure the refrigerator door is completely closed. Adjust shelves or drawers if they are blocking the door from closing.

Check the refrigerator door gasket to make sure that seals properly. A loose or torn gasket allows sweating. Replace the door gasket if it is damaged. 

How do I add refrigerant to my refrigerator?

Adding refrigerant to your refrigerator is not a do-it-yourself repair. Recovery and recharge of air conditioner refrigerant is tightly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Only an EPA-licensed technician should recover, repair and recharge a sealed refrigerant system in your refrigerator.

Why isn't the ice maker filling with water in my 795 Series Kenmore refrigerator?


On some Kenmore French-door refrigerators with serial numbers between 504MM00000 and 604MM99999 that have in-door ice dispensers, the water fill line that goes through the back wall of the refrigerator into the ice maker compartment freezes. The frozen water line prevents water from flowing into the ice maker. A service technician will need to adjust the water line and add insulation to prevent cold air leaking out of the ice maker compartment from freezing up the water line.