My Refrigerator Will Not Run

Refrigerator Systems

Side By Side
Side By Side
Cold Control
Cold Control
Defrost Timer
Defrost Timer
Defrost Timer General Location
Defrost Timer General Location
Defrost Timer General Location
Defrost Timer General Location
Compressor: Creative Commons Flickr
Compressor: Creative Commons Flickr

The Light is On Why Won't the Rest Work?

Follow the safety precautions for working on a refrigerator.

There are several things that can keep your refrigerator from working, if it is newer and has electronic controls, it could be the control board. Otherwise, there are several systems that can turn a refrigerator off permanently. The defrost timer is stuck. The cold control is broken. And finally, the compressor cannot start (overload).

Click here to check out how the refrigerator works.


Check the Cold Control

Start by examining the cold control. Turn it all the way off then turn it all the way to the highest setting. Repeat this a couple of times and listen for a click or sound that indicates an off/on action. If it is very hard to turn, or makes no noises, it is very likely a problem and needs to be replaced. This would not be a common problem, so make note of the difficulty and continue checking.


Defrost Timer

With the cold control set for the coldest setting, locate the defrost timer. The timer will be located in one of several places depending on the age, manufacturer, and model of the refrigerator.

Newer refrigerators generally locate the defrost timer in the same general area as the rest of the controls. Look for two screws with a hole in between them. The hole gives access to the timer and it can be advanced by turning the knob in a clockwise direction. However, there are exceptions and some turn the other way. Generally you can tell the direction of the timer by inspecting the knob. It may be slotted in such a way that turning in one direction or the other is quite difficult. Also, if you experience a lot of resistance, try turning in the other direction. Turning the timer will create some clicking sounds.  The timer should turn smoothly and give positive clicks.  With the power on and the cold control on, turn the defrost timer slowly and see if the refrigerator turns on.   If the refrigerator turns on and operates normally for at least an hour, then the defrost timer is bad and needs to be replaced.

Compressor

If the defrost timer is working and the cold control is working, the compressor may try to operate but can only achieve a clicking sound. This means that the compressor is not able to start. The compressor has a start winding and the start capacitor is not able to start the compressor. Most manufacturers warranty the compressor and sealed system for 5 years. If your refrigerator is newer than 5 years, contact the manufacturer for service. If your refrigerator is older than 5 years, you can do a couple of things. Start by making a decision about the refrigerator, if it is in the 15 years range or older, it may not warrant major repairs.

If the compressor is clicking when trying to start, there is a 50-50 chance that it is the start capacitor, but there is also a good chance that it is a bad compressor.    A start capacitor or hard start unit will cost about ten or 15 dollars.   A new compressor will cost several hundred dollars.   If the refrigerator is a good one and you want to find out if it can be saved, you can have a service professional determine the needed repair.


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Comments 3 comments

BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

I really thought this one was going to be a joke on all us who follow you. Great hub as usual.However if your refrigerator is running you had better go catch it.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Thanks BJ, hysterical. LOL


miko zon 2 years ago

Start by examining the cold control. Turn it all the way off then turn it all the way to the highest setting. Repeat this a couple of times and listen for a click or sound that indicates an off/on action. If it is very hard to turn, or makes no noises, it is very likely a problem and needs to be replaced

http://www.whirlpoolrefrigeratordiscount.com/whirl...

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