ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

My Refrigerator Will Not Run

Updated on May 3, 2010

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.


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.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)