The signs of a bad refrigerator compressor are: loud or unusual noises, frequent cycling, warm or spoiled food, and high energy bills. If you notice any of these symptoms, you may need to replace your compressor or get a professional to repair it. In this article, we will explain what a refrigerator compressor is, how it works, why it can fail, and how to troubleshoot it.
What is a refrigerator compressor and how does it work?
A refrigerator compressor is the heart of the cooling system. It is a pump that compresses the refrigerant gas and circulates it through the evaporator and condenser coils. The refrigerant gas absorbs heat from the inside of the refrigerator and releases it outside, creating a cooling effect. The compressor also maintains the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant to ensure optimal performance.
Why does a refrigerator compressor fail?
A refrigerator compressor can fail for various reasons, such as:
- Wear and tear: Over time, the compressor can wear out due to friction, vibration, or corrosion. This can cause leaks, cracks, or damage to the internal parts, affecting the efficiency and functionality of the compressor.
- Overheating: If the compressor runs too hot, it can damage the motor, the wiring, or the thermal overload protector. This can happen if the refrigerator is overloaded, poorly ventilated, or exposed to high ambient temperatures.
- Electrical issues: If the compressor receives too much or too little voltage, it can cause short circuits, sparks, or power surges. This can damage the compressor or the start relay, which is the device that turns the compressor on and off.
- Contamination: If the refrigerant gas is contaminated with water, air, or debris, it can affect the flow and pressure of the gas, reducing the cooling capacity of the compressor. This can happen if the refrigerant lines are punctured, the seals are broken, or the refrigerant is improperly charged.
How to troubleshoot a bad refrigerator compressor?
If you suspect that your refrigerator compressor is bad, you can try some simple troubleshooting steps before calling a technician. Here are some tips to help you diagnose and fix a bad refrigerator compressor:
- Check the noise level: A normal compressor should make a low humming sound when it is running. If you hear a loud or unusual noise, such as a clicking, buzzing, rattling, or knocking sound, it could indicate a problem with the compressor or the start relay. You can try unplugging the refrigerator and plugging it back in after a few minutes to see if the noise stops. If not, you may need to replace the compressor or the start relay.
- Check the cycling frequency: A normal compressor should cycle on and off periodically to maintain the desired temperature. If you notice that the compressor is cycling too frequently or not at all, it could indicate a problem with the thermostat, the defrost timer, or the compressor itself. You can try adjusting the temperature settings or cleaning the condenser coils to see if the cycling frequency improves. If not, you may need to replace the thermostat, the defrost timer, or the compressor.
- Check the food quality: A normal compressor should keep the food cold and fresh. If you notice that the food is warm or spoiled, it could indicate a problem with the compressor or the evaporator fan. You can try moving the food away from the vents or the walls of the refrigerator to improve the air circulation. You can also check if the evaporator fan is working by opening the freezer door and listening for a fan noise. If the fan is not working, you may need to replace it. If the fan is working, but the food is still warm or spoiled, you may need to replace the compressor.
- Check the energy bills: A normal compressor should consume a reasonable amount of electricity. If you notice that your energy bills are higher than usual, it could indicate a problem with the compressor or the door gasket. You can try cleaning the door gasket or replacing it if it is worn or damaged. You can also check if the door is closing properly and not letting warm air in. If the door gasket is fine, but the energy bills are still high, you may need to replace the compressor.
A bad refrigerator compressor can cause a lot of problems for your refrigerator and your wallet. It is important to recognize the signs of a bad compressor and troubleshoot it as soon as possible. If you are not confident or experienced in repairing a refrigerator compressor, you should contact a professional technician to do the job for you. A refrigerator compressor is a complex and expensive part that requires special tools and skills to handle. By hiring a professional, you can ensure that your refrigerator compressor is repaired or replaced safely and correctly.