You probably won’t appreciate your refrigerator until it breaks; running that thing day and night ensures that you can eat fresh produce and meat without going to the grocery store every day. Here’s some tips on how you can extend the life of your most precious appliances.
First, here’s how they work: both refrigerators and freezers utilize two important cooling components: a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. A compressor and a motor ensures that liquid coolant circulates through both of these coils. The refrigerant liquid is cooled down in the condenser, then is pumped to the evaporator where the air in the unit is cooled by contact with this liquid-filled coil. The coil you see outside of the refrigerator is the condenser while the inner coil is the compressor.
In order to keep refrigerators and freezers free of frost, a timed heater turns on to melt any possible frost build up. The heater targets the coldest and most frost-prone areas of the unit. When the frost is melted, the thermostat automatically switches back into its cooling cycle. This cyclical temperature process keeps your fridge cold, but keeps frost out.
The compressor system that forces coolant through the coil system is driven by a capacitor-type motor. There are also a variety of switches, thermostats, heaters, condensers and fans integral to the refrigerating process. If any of these go wrong, it’s possible that you can make the proper repairs yourself given that the issue isn’t too complicated. Just be sure to unplug your fridge before getting to work! Also make sure to see if the motor/compressor system has a capacitor, because capacitors store electricity and need to be discharged to allow for safe repairs.
Let’s start with that, actually. Here’s how you discharge a capacitor: Unplug the fridge, remove the service panel over the back rear portion of the unit (or the service panel on the front of the unit below the door). The capacitor is located in a housing on the top of the motor/compressor unit and looks like a large battery. Fasten the probes of a 20,000 ohm, 2-watt resistor to the terminals of the capacitor in order to discharge it. If the capacitor has three terminal posts, connect the resistor to one outer terminal and the center terminal, then to the other outside terminal and the center terminal. That should do her.
Now you’re safe to check out the components of your refrigerator. You can find the control components on the top or upper section of the unit while the motor, compressor, condenser coil and condenser fan are located in the bottom section. To open up the control components, you’re going to have to remove the retaining screw or pry out the clips that hold plastic or metal panels over the parts. You may need to pry off trim or molding to reach these guys. If you want to access the stuff at the bottom, you’re going to have to remove retaining screws in the service panel at the bottom, or you may need to slip off some side brackets.