Common refrigerator problems you can fix yourself (and when you should call a professional)


Ice and frost build-up in the freezer – This usually means that there is a problem in the self-defrost system. Test the three components in the self-defrosting system, the defrost heater, the defrost thermostat, or the defrost timer.

You may have damaged refrigerator or freezer door gaskets. When you open the freezer door, you also let in a blast of warm, often humid air. This moisture usually freezes onto the evaporator coils immediately.

Test the seal by placing a dollar bill half-way in the freezer door and then tug on it. If there is some resistance, then the seal is good. You can also test the seal by placing a high-powered flashlight in the freezer directed towards the door. Close the freezer door and turn off the lights in your kitchen. If you can see any light leakage, you may have a bad seal.

Water is inside at the bottom of the refrigerator – This is usually caused by blocked drainage tubes. Be sure to unplug your refrigerator before doing any work. The drain tubes can be found either on the inside of your refrigerator, at the top next to the temperature controls, behind the unit (disconnect the drain tube to clear it) or by accessing the main back panel of the freezer under the cooling coil. Diagrams showing the drainage tube locations for your refrigerator and freezer can be found online.

You can use a turkey baster to flush hot water into the drain tube to clear any obstruction. If it seems like the drain tube is frozen or plugged up with ice, use a hair dryer to defrost it.

Your refrigerator feels warm or is cycling on and off frequently – Clean the condenser coils located at the bottom of your refrigerator behind the kick plate/grill.

Leave it to the pros if you hear any of the following –

  • Your refrigerator is not cooling and you hear a hissing noise.
  • The condenser coils become damaged or there is a hole in one of the coils.

Refrigerator Repair Help Guide

Freezer Repair Help Guide


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