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Frost build-up is a major obstacle to efficient refrigerator operation.
So, if you own a frost-free refrigerator, then consider yourself lucky! On a frost-free refrigerator, a timer is used on a defrost heater about twice a day that warms the evaporator coils. Then, the melted frost drains into a pan under the unit and evaporates.

The evaporator coils, their fan, and the defrost heater, which are all located behind the freezer's back wall or under its floor, are best left to a professional. However, repairs to other parts are relatively simple.

Dust-clogged condenser coils
When this happens, the refrigerator may stop running or it might run continuously. These coils are located on the bottom of the refrigerator, behind the front grille. Try vacuuming the coils regularly to help extend the refrigerator's life and to reduce the running costs. Before opening the front grille, make sure you unplug the unit. Depending upon your model type, either grasp the grille near the ends and gently pull it straight out or simply swing the bottom out and up.

Damaged gasket or a sagging or warped door
This could cause your refrigerator to run overtime or it could cause frost build-up even on a frost-free unit. Use the "dollar-bill test" to check the door seal. Simply close the door on a dollar bill by checking several places in the door seal. As you pull the bill out, look for resistance.

Another door seal test is to place a 150-watt outdoor floodlight inside the unit. Darken the room and look for light seepage. The door might be sagging because the refrigerator is not level. To adjust, place a level on
top. Remove the grille, and turn the screw on each wheel clockwise until its level. Tilting the refrigerator back slightly helps the door shut better; however this is not recommended if you have an icemaker.

b>Replacing the gasket on the door
Lift old gasket edge and loosen the screws (do not remove the screws). Pull old gasket from under the retainer strip and slip the new one into place one section at a time. Then, retighten the screws.

Control panel
The thermostat is located on the control panel, as well as the dial that controls a baffle that lets cold freezer air into the refrigerator. To check the baffle, move the dial that controls it. If damper doesn't move, open control panel and check mechanical linkage between control and
baffle.

Defrost timer
The defrost timer activates the heater that melts frost in the evaporator for 10 to 20 minutes every 10 to 12 hours. It turns the compressor off and on. If it fails, the compressor may not run. An access hole lets you test this timer. Locate this timer either in the control panel, behind the front grille or behind the rear access pane. Before replacing timer, spray it with electrical contact cleaner through the access hole and turn it a few times. Stop just before a click and wait to see if timer advances on its own. If you need to replace the timer, unplug the unit and open the control panel. Remove screws holding the timer to the panel and pull off leads. If wires aren't in a plug, move them one at a time to the new timer.

Other helpful hints to keep your refrigerator from needing repair:
* For maximum efficiency, keep a freezer compartment full of frozen items but leave room for air to circulate between items in the refrigerator compartment.
* Wash the compartments, drawers, and shelves twice a year with a mixture of baking soda and water.
* Clean the drain pan and wipe the gasket every couple of months.