Home Repair & Maintenance Ideas and Tips

How to Fix Your Refrigerator Before Calling an Expert

Your refrigerator is easily one of the most indispensable appliances in your home, so when things are not running properly, you want them fixed quickly. American Home Shield is here with a handy list of some of our best, proven tips to diagnose and fix your fridge. 

Repairing a refrigerator

Troubleshooting Common Refrigerator Issues

We’ve found some of the most common, easily-fixable problems from busted ice makers to below-average temperatures. Find the issue you’re facing and AHS will walk you through how to fix your refrigerator properly. 

Warm Fridge

Does the temperature feel a bit off? Produce and beverages warmer than you would like? This issue could be due to your air damper, baffle or diffuser. Don’t worry. With a quick check, home refrigerator repair will do the trick.

Your air damper, baffle or diffuser help balance the air flow from the evaporator fan housing. That’s not all, they also control the amount of cold air entering the fresh food compartment. If your baffle or flapper is damaged, this can result in higher than normal temperatures.

You're probably wondering where you can find your baffle or damper. They’re commonly located where the cold air enters your refrigerators fresh food compartment. You’ll notice the baffle/diffuser is encased in plastic, with a Styrofoam lining to prevent air leakage. 

Once you locate your baffle/damper, verify that air is flowing freely. It is possible that airflow could be blocked or restricted. It should be noted that some refrigerators use a temperature sensing bulb to adjust changes in the interior temperature. If this bulb is found in an incorrect position or damaged, adjust or replace to resume normal operation.    


No one wants to see a puddle coming from under his or her refrigerator. If you find yourself with a small stream emerging from underneath your refrigerator, you’re going to want to check your door gaskets and/or seals found along the outside of your refrigerator doors.   

Your door seals are typically made from vinyl material and will normally have a flexible magnetic strip inside to help create an airtight seal. If you’re experiencing moisture along the edge of the door, inspect your gaskets for warping or damage. Even a small amount of air leakage from a defective gasket can result in defrost issues or water leaks. 

When replacing a gasket, you want them as pliable as possible. To help facilitate this, you can place your new gasket in your clothes drier for a few minutes to help make them more flexible and easier to install.  


Clanking? Obnoxious whirring? An orthodox noise could be the sign of bigger issues, or it could just be a nuisance. Either way, your condenser fan is the most likely culprit. Your condenser fan circulates air throughout the condenser coil in order to remove heat. It also serves to circulate air over the drain pan to evaporate and defrost water. This little fan does a lot of heavy lifting for your refrigerator, so if you’re hearing a loud noise, you’ll want to investigate immediately. 

Before you go looking for your fan, you’re going to want to disconnect the power and remove your rear access panel. Once that is taken care of, look for any trash or obstruction that could be preventing air flow. A periodic vacuuming to remove debris can be a smart maintenance tip

While you’re back there, check your fan motor for signs of wear and tear. Also be sure to check out your fan blade, they can be easily replaced and help sustain the life of your fan motor. 

Will Not Start

When the refrigerator won’t start, your first instinct may be to panic – keep calm, you may just be dealing with an overload relay issue. What does the overload relay do? It’s used in the compressor circuit, power is applied to the compressor motor windings through the overload device. The overload relay is used to add to start winding in the circuit until the compressor is running at full speed. 

If you hear your fans running and your compressor won’t start, or if you hear a distinct clicking sound from your refrigerator, check your overload relay for overheating or arcing. 

So now that you know what you’re looking for, you’ll want to know where to look. Modern refrigerators combine the overload relay into the side of the compressor. You’ll want to grab a multi-meter to check your overload relay. The start capacitor provides increased starting voltage to the compressor windings. If your start capacitor is defective then your compressor may not start. If everything checks out, you may have a faulty compressor. This is a bit more advanced and we recommend contacting a qualified technician.  

When DIY Refrigerator Repair Goes Wrong

While some common issues can be easily diagnosed and fixed with home refrigerator repair, more advanced issues can seem intimidating. Worse, some homeowners can have the best of intentions when tackling repairs, only to make issues worse. That’s why we recommend including your refrigerator in your home warranty. Don’t let little issues become big problems. 

Learn more about a refrigerator home warranty from American Home Shield®and see how easy it is to protect yourself from unexpected repair and replacement costs.



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DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more.