Your fridge is an essential part of your kitchen—it helps keep produce as fresh as possible, keeps dairy products at the right temperature, and gives you a place to store your leftovers. Most people can’t imagine living without their fridge. So when your fridge stops working suddenly, your first instinct might be to go purchase a new one. After all, you don’t want to risk all of your food going bad. Before you go buy an expensive new fridge, however, you should make sure that there isn’t a way to repair your broken one. Sometimes troubleshooting the problem and fixing it is cheaper than buying a new fridge.

Should You Repair or Replace a Broken Fridge

Here are some common fridge problems and what you should do about it.

Water is leaking all over the floor

Coming into your kitchen to discover there is a puddle of water coming from under your fridge is annoying, but this doesn’t automatically mean you need a new fridge. Leaky fridges are typically a result of a broken part that needs to be replaced. Clean up the water so you don’t accidentally slip while trying to fix your fridge, then start trying to locate the broken part. Check to make sure the door gaskets are sealing properly or that the water inlet valve isn’t cracked. If you have an ice maker, make sure that the water fill system isn’t leaking. Once you figure out what the damaged part is, you can easily replace it on your own.

The temperature is too cold

While your fridge is meant to keep your food cold, you don’t want it to freeze your food. If your fridge suddenly starts acting more like a freezer, you’re going to want to see if your air inlet damper is damaged. If it is damaged, it is possible to replace the part. Most fridges also have an automatic temperature-sensing bulb located near the air inlet damper. Check to make sure that this bulb is positioned the right way. If repositioning the bulb doesn’t work, you may need to replace your cold temperature control. Most of the time, replacing the air inlet damper or the cold temperature control will get your fridge working correctly again.



Fridge isn’t cooling properly

If your fridge isn’t at the right temperature and you’ve already adjusted the temperature gauge, that is a sign that your fridge’s compressor is overheating. Place your hand on the back of your fridge. While some warmth is normal, the back of your fridge shouldn’t be hot. One possibility is that your condenser coils are dirty. This is an easy fix. All you need to do is pull your fridge away from the wall and clean the coils. You can use a cloth or a vacuum. If that doesn’t work, there is a possibility your compressor has been damaged. While it is possible to replace your compressor, this is often an expensive repair, and it might be cheaper to replace your fridge.

Should Your Repair or Replace a Broken Fridge - repairing

Your fridge is humming loudly

It is normal for fridges to hum sometimes. But if your fridge is humming constantly or rattling, the first thing you’ll want to check is to make sure that no parts are loose. Drain pans, in particular, are known for coming loose and rattling but they are extremely easy to fix. Another possibility is that there is debris stuck in the condenser fan. This fan is located on the back of your fridge and it is possible to clean it out. While you’re back there, you should also check out the evaporator fan and make sure there isn’t any sign of damage. If the blades of the fan are damaged, you can replace them.

Fridge isn’t running at all

If you discover your fridge isn’t doing anything at all, the first thing you’ll want to consider is the age of your fridge. Most fridges only last between 13-17 years. If your fridge is getting up there in age, it could be time to purchase a new one. If your fridge is still relatively new, you could be having trouble with the compressor. As mentioned above, replacing a compressor can be relatively expensive. If you do decide to move forward with replacing yours, make sure to contact someone is specialized in fridge repairs because the process will require the recovery and recharge of refrigerant.

Final thoughts

Unless your fridge is getting up there in age or you’re facing problems with your compressor, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to repair your fridge. To help prevent problems from occurring, make sure to read your owner’s manual so that you’re aware of any routine maintenance your fridge needs.