Your refrigerator is probably the most important appliance in your home. It works continually, unobtrusively, and sometimes silently for 24 hrs each day. It needs very little maintenance, and can go on operating for years before anyone bothers to pay any attention to it. However, occasionally, it can breakdown, and when it does, there can be some very serious consequences.
If you have ever experienced a malfunction or breakdown of any appliance, you can readily appreciate the fact that refrigerator repairs can be costly. If it remains impaired for an appreciable length of time, the cost of replacing spoiled food can add even more than monetary costs. You now get the added inconveniences, along with more aggravation and frustration.
You can save yourself some money, aggravation, frustration and food, if you know how to repair your refrigerator yourself, but the key is gaining the right knowledge. Refrigerator repairs are not difficult, and with a bit of patience, you can soon realize that no special skills are needed.
You may not know all there is to know about repairing refrigerators, but having the knowledge, and the right attitude can get you started, and it can also give you the confidence needed to complete the job.Knowing the basic operating principles, can go a long way to help you gain the confidence needed to make the necessary repairs.
There are two main components to the refrigerator. These are the condenser and the evaporator coils.
A motorized compressor circulates a liquid coolant through these coils. In the condenser, the refrigerant is cooled and then sent to the evaporator, where the coils are brought into contact with air.
The cooled air is then circulated in the freezer, and throughout the refrigerator. If you look on the back on the outside of your refrigerator, you can see the condenser coils, while the evaporator coils are on the inside.
Almost all refrigerators produced today are frost free. These units all contain a very low heating element, that is responsible for melting the frost at strategic positions, to prevent build up in the freezer.
The heating is automatic, and thermostatically controlled, so that is does not interfere with the freezing process, The heating is switched off when the frost is melted, so that a constant temperature is maintained in the freezer section of your refrigerator.
The other important parts of the refrigerator are the motor, the compressor, thermostats, switches, condenser, and the fans that are used to help air circulation in the system. With the right knowledge, many of these parts can easily be replaced as a Do-It-Yourself project, however, with the more critical components, or jobs that require special knowledge, it is best to engage the services of professionals.
Before beginning work on any electrical appliance, there are a few precautions that are absolutely necessary.
You must ensure that your unit is unplugged. Even after unplugging the unit, you should not begin work before checking the motorized condenser. The condenser will usually be a capacitor type which retains charge, even after it is unplugged. The capacity which is usually on the top of the motor, must be fully discharged, in order to reduce the risk of electric shock from stored charge.
To reach the capacitor that looks like a large dry cell battery, you may need to remove the panel covering the back of the refrigerator, or it may also be accessed by removing the front panel beneath the front door of the unit. The location will depend on the make and model of your refrigerator.
The capacitor will normally be located in an assembly that sits on the top of the motorized compressor, and may sometimes be indicated by the amount of charge that it is capable of storing. Some care must be exercised when handling the capacitor.