Top 3 Refrigerator Problems

777226_68918787-person-with-dishes.jpg   Just when you thought you had repaired all of your major appliances and it was safe to go into the kitchen, you find a problem with your refrigerator.  It’s not running at all, or not properly.  It’s noisy or leaky, or maybe it won’t shut off at all.  You may or may not know offhand what is wrong, but you can be sure it’s going to be a big problem if you don’t get it fixed fast.  You may be surprised what the most common complaints and repairs on refrigerators may be, and you may be even more taken aback by how easily you can fix them.



When troubleshooting to determine what exactly is wrong with your refrigerator, start with the most immediate symptom that you notice.  The most obvious common problem would be that the refrigerator is not running.  If the light inside the refrigerator is not on, you have no power to the refrigerator.  This could mean that the AC outlet is defective, that the breaker has been tripped, or that the service cord is defective.  Check your breaker, and try plugging another appliance into the outlet to see if it is functioning properly.  Look for nicks in the service cord, as well.  If the light is on, there are a number of things that could be defective, including the temperature control device, the defrost timer, the start relay, or even the compressor.  The last of these is quite expensive, and you may want to have a professional take a look at your refrigerator before buying any parts.


The second most common complaint on a refrigerator is probably that it runs continuously.  If it runs all the time with no cooling, your compressor, again, may be insufficient or faulty.  However, first check that there is no loss of charge on the refrigerant.  This is the less expensive of the two problems to fix.  If you find that the refrigerator runs continuously and is TOO cool, you either have a defective temperature control or this control needs adjusting.  There may also be an instance where the unit runs excessively but the freezer and refrigerator are still not cold enough.  This could mean issues with the evaporator fan, the defrost timer, or simply the sealing of the unit or could be compressor failure or a dirty or defective condenser.


The third common complaint is a normal but sweaty refrigerator.  If the sweat is condensing on the inside of the unit, you have bad door seals and need to have them replaced.  If there is sweat on the exterior of the refrigerator, it could be bad door seals or may be faulty insulation or even a heater that is defective in the door channel.  Of course, there are several other smaller problems that regularly occur in refrigerators that sometimes are more of an annoyance than a real problem.  However, if you think that something really is wrong with your refrigerator beyond these more typical issues, don’t hesitate to get it checked out by a licensed professional.

63 Comments For This Post

  1. roger Says:

    2 questions:

    i have a white-westinghouse fridge. don’t see the model #.
    it is about 5′ tall and 2′ wide with separate freezer door above.
    it is a no frost model.

    1) it has recently started leaking water from the inside that must be pooling under the crisper drawer. it only comes out when i open the big door. any ideas further to the ones on your page?

    2) i have the air control regulator at 3; is there an optimum #
    i could set it at?

    thank you!

  2. appliancejournal Says:

    Hi Roger,

    1. The first problem is probably caused by a clogged drain line inside the refrigerator.

    2. It is usually recommended to have the cold control at 4 or 5. I would also get a refrigerator thermometer (like this one http://www.appliancepartspros.com/Appliance-Parts/Tools-and-Testers/Thermometers/UNI-Thermometer–refrigerator-item-number-AP3549145.aspx ) and make sure the temperature inside the refrigerator is between 36F and 40F.

    Hope this helps.


  3. JBB Says:

    Hi there,
    My refrigerator gaskets are hot to the touch. Any ideas on what might be causing this? I have an Amana fridge that is several years old.

    Thank you,

  4. appliancejournal Says:

    Hi JBB,

    Sounds like it’s a good time to clean the condenser coils (either under the fridge or in the back, depending on model and age). To clean the condenser coils, use this condenser cleaning brush: http://www.appliancepartspros.com/Appliance-Parts/WHIRLPOOL-Refrigerator-condenser-cleaning-brush-item-number-AP3103212.aspx . Make sure to get rid of all the dirt, dust, etc.

    Hope this helps. Let us know what happens.


  5. Joe Says:

    The door for the ice retrieval has a small amount of opening and air is being drawn into the frig. Does this require replacement due to a weak spring? Is there any instructions available short of buying an entire manual to allow me to fix this. Thanks, Joe

  6. appliancejournal Says:


    Post the model number of your refrigerator and I’ll see if I can find some diagrams for you. They should give you a good idea of how the ice dispenser is put together.


  7. teresa thompson Says:

    i have a fridgedair side by side just purchased 7/10/07 and have had to twice call for service about frost build up in the ice crube dispenser. have any of these been on recall for this problem….

  8. appliancejournal Says:

    Hi Teresa,

    We haven’t seen any recalls issued for Frigidaire refrigerators recently. I will be speaking to an Electrolux (Frigidaire’s parent company) rep some time next week and will pose this question on your behalf.

  9. Harvey Weinberg Says:

    I bought an entire kitchen of Professional Frigidaire products. The side by side fridge does not make enough ice and I can’t seem to find a competent repairman to fix it. They’ve replaced valves, ice maker etc. It might drop a dozen cubes a day.
    The top rack in my dishwasher keeps coming off the rollers. Rollers have been replaced. What gives with this high priced cheap crap??
    Anything you can suggest??

  10. appliancejournal Says:

    I’d check the temperature inside the freezer. For example, if the freezer door is being open frequently through out the day, it would increase the temp inside the freezer. Your ice maker will only make ice if the freezer temperature is low enough (about 0 degrees F).

    If you need more help, visit the appliance repair forum at http://forum.appliancepartspros.com – it’s free.

  11. TJ Says:

    I have a GE side by side refrig (model # GSS25LGMWW). Recently replace the damper mechanism in the refrig (fresh food was freezing) and that fixed the problem. Now the freezer is not freezing. Is there a checklist or instructions for identifying the source of the problem?

    Items of note:
    Damper fan is working (air is blowing into refrig part)
    Freezer fan or air blowing mechanism appears to be working
    No hot air is blowing out of bottom (exterior) of unit

    Where do I start?



    PS. it comes in threes: first the damper, second my GE front load washer required a major part replacement; third this freezer issue. I’m hoping that this forum can help as much as the GE washer forum….they were great!

  12. Kim Says:

    Fridigair side by side is not making ice…I seen in previous responses that the freezer may be too cold. Control nob only has off to cold and cold to coldest. Could this be the issue that the settings are not set properly? Not making loud noise, sounds normal. Water dsipenser is working well…Motor sounds good…what else could it be?

  13. marty here Says:

    fridigair up right freezer -started unthawing recently, also sides are HOT to the touch, manual cleaned it, plugged it in still hot to the touch, not freezing, any ideas 4 or 5 years old


  14. jack Says:

    I have a GE refrigerator. It gets cold but it continually runs. The setting for it isn’t “2+1/2″ it’s more like a negative 8. That’s right I can’t even spin the setting dial close to the zero stamped on it. I would like to know if this can be fixed.

  15. Helman Says:

    i have a ge side by side refrigerator that just stop making ice and cooling what should i do to solve the problem.

  16. appliancejournal Says:

    Helman, post your question on the appliance repair forum and one of the technicians will help (it’s free) – http://forum.appliancepartspros.com/

  17. Max Says:

    I have a frigidair model #frt18drhz1 im not sure whats wrong with it as its still got power and the compressor is still working, but its just quit cooling the fridge part and the freezer on top seems to be working still… either way would love a little help.

  18. joe Says:

    double door frigidare
    refrgirater inside vent to cool is not working

  19. valarie Says:

    My refrigerator is 4 years old and is sweating inside into all the drawers so that i cannot put food in them and some of the water is frezzing…other than that the food is cold

  20. lauren Says:

    My Samsung side by side refrigerator has an intermittent problem. The freezer started melting and the water leaked out in a big puddle on the floor in front of it while the temp display kept flashing 16 degrees. I increased the freezer temp to -8 and the next day it started working. What is wrong?

  21. Shaye Says:

    Hi, My Kenore side by side refrigerator has started leaking water. In recent months, I find pools of water in front of it. Before it was random, but now its more frequent. What is wrong?

  22. Laura Says:

    Hi, My Kenmore side by side frig which is 11yrs old doesn’t seem to be keeping the items in it as cold as they should be. Like especially my milk which I like my milk to be very cold and so I put the it all the way up to the coldest as far as it goes to get it really cold and also if I keep it at the initial setting or a little beyond (which I usually keep it at) the veggies don’t seem to keep quite as long as they should. Also on the freezer side the ice maker has frost(looks as if there is a thin layer of snow) around it and where the ice goes through the door as it has to go on the outside of the door. What could be causing this problem?

  23. LaVerne Says:

    I have whirlpool ER8AHMXRQO1 1 1/2 year old topfreezer refrigator the freezer isn’t working thawed all my food and I have it set to the coldest the temperature is 40-45 degrees in the refrigator. What’s the problem?

  24. jay Says:

    For the past few months it has sounded like water is running from inside my refrigerator. It sounds like water lightly running. But when I move the refrigerator nothing is on the floor. We recently moved though and when the refrigeraor was tilted water did fall. We don’t have an ice maker and water dispenser so what do you think could be the problem?

  25. Hope Ellis Says:

    I have an older model GE two door refridgerator with the freezer on top. Within the last month, I have noticed water accumulating on the magnetic seal around the door. Other than buy a new appliance, is ther anything I can do?

  26. akeem Says:

    Frigidaire refrigerator side by side # 4 blinking on fresh food change that control bored already

  27. akeem Says:

    Frigidaire refrigerator side by side # 4 blinking on fresh food change that control bored

  28. akeem Says:

    Frigidaire refrigerator side by side # 4 blinking on fresh food change that i control bored still no respond

  29. Denny Hinman Says:

    My frigdaire model FRS26R2AW5 ice maker will only make one rack of ice. I’ve installed a new water filter and inlet valve. Can you help me?

    Thanks Denny Hinman

  30. clayton Says:

    my fridgidaire also has a 4 flashing on the refridgerator side what does it mean and when i plug it in both sides get cold then by the end of the day its warm model number GLHS37EHSB5

  31. Shraboni Says:

    hi…my refrigerator strated sweating outside the door..whats wrong with it??please suggest.thanks .

  32. Susan Blach Says:

    Whirlpool refridgerator model ED25TQ,side by side. In freezer at the bottom in very back horizontal tube is orangy red in color(sometimes) and water drips on it,making a sizzling noise.What could be the problem?

  33. Joe Says:

    our ge side by side model gss25 jfmd cc ice maker chute has a significant frost build up as does the under side of the ice cube container, I have cleaned it but it just builds upagain, any ideas?

  34. terry middleton Says:

    how do you get to the drain in the frig. Ican’t seem to get the plactis cover off. have water leaking into the lowert half. freezer is on top.

  35. Ken Says:

    I have a maytag side by side the fridge stopped working and freezer was fine i unplugged the unit and let it thaw out vacuumed and cleaned anything i could plugged it back in and worked great for a few weeks fridge stopped again so I started to pull pieces off of the fridge and freezer plastic components I noticed a broken spring that runs from the freezer to the fridge that was under a plastic vent that looks like it traps cold air to pull through to the fridge I feel no air flow from the fridge the freezer also seems to be going up and down in temp is the spring there to keep contacts together or ?? I am unsure if I am even looking in the right spot msd2656gew

    Thanks for any help

  36. kay Says:

    i have a samsungs SRS539HW and the temperaure gauge on my fridge side wont got down to what it should be it is at 24 c what can i do

  37. Steve Says:

    I have a KitchenAide KSCS25I, about 8 years old. The center outside between the doors was too hot to the touch. The outside of the freezer was also hot to the touch. Took the back plate off and verified that the fan was running (probably all the time!). Took the lower plastic foot guard off the front and cleaned the coils on the right side with a vacuum cleaner. They were dirty. Problem solved.

  38. RA Says:

    I have A Whirlpool side by side. It only works at the coldest setting. Anyhting less then that it starts defrosting.

  39. Mary Says:

    I have a Whirlpool Gold french door/freezer on bottom 2 year old fridge that is leaking water underneath from the front right-hand side. The coils have been cleaned. We took the back cover off and found nothing out of order. I finally caught it as it was leaking, and it is definitely coming from the front. Any ideas?

  40. Frank Carr Says:

    I have a 2007 Kenmore two door refrigerator frezer. Rust was found on the back of the unit. I’m told it is caused by an insulation failure and ensuing condensation – perhaps not applied properly and that the unit must be replaced. I’m considering opening up the area around the rust and seeing if I can add insulation to eliminate the condensation. Is this feasible?

  41. Karen Says:

    I have a GE Profile side by side that is only 5 years old. Early on we noticed black mold growing on the freezer side of the refrigerator wall. If I do not clean sides and all shelves regularly by emptying refrig, pulling out shelves, etc…..a large amount of mold accumulates. This cannot be healthy!

    I also notice that condensation builds up around the vent from the freezer side to the refrig. side. Perhaps this is the cause?

    The freezer seems to run anywhere from -4 – 5 degrees. The refrig. seems to run from 35-38 degrees.

    Is there something I can do to prevent mold growth?

    Thank you,

  42. kimberley Says:

    i have a frigidaire upright both sides and under freezer area as well as the bottom back area are hot to the touch and smell hot what could cause this problem ?thank you for your time ..

  43. 5haffron Says:

    @Karen : How do you clean your side by side ? did you use vinegar for cleaning ?

  44. Karen Says:

    5haffron— I usually just wipe out the condensation as I see it. I haven’t used a cleaner inside the refrig. I have been wiping with just water. Do you think vinegar would inhibit the growth of mold?

    My mom also heard something, but is having a hard time remembering exactly what!! She thought she heard that you could smear a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the inside wall on the freezer side to prevent the condensation. Anyone heard of this?


  45. Henry Raymond Says:

    my frigidaire mini fridge run all the time, the freezer get a little fo ice (bearly), the bottom main part get to 50 degre and is not cold enough. I wonder what it could be?
    Thank you for any help

  46. reyes jose Says:

    I. Have a Kenmore fridge side to side doors. Fridge side is getting frozen .what could be the problem

  47. glenn Says:

    i have a panasonic inverter refrigerator … the bottom freezer works fine but the top section have insufficient cooling … what could be causing the insufficient cooling

  48. Kristen Says:

    My fridge light is on but it is actually HOT inside my freezer and fridge side and there is a chemical smell. Any thoughts? :(

  49. Lcobb Says:

    I purchased a used standard freezer on top fridge about 3 weeks ago and the past week it has been loud plus you can also hear a sound as if water was being poured out. There isnt an ice maker or water filter. The past 2 days it has been tripping the power and today it smells hot. Now it has to be unplugged just so the power to the kitchen and dining room can stay on

  50. Jaidyn Says:

    My refrigerator is a side by side door fridge and the fridge side is at 13 degrees, but it wont go back down to 1 degree. do you know whats wrong?

  51. Rodger Says:

    I have a 10 yr old Kenmore side by side. I works fine, but for the last couple of days there is a strong odor when you open the door. To me it smells like spoiled vegetable, but my wife says it smells more like a chemical. We cleaned out everything, but it is still present. There is a small drip tray under the the water filter in the bottom, with a very small amount of water, but no mold etc. Any suggestions on what it could be?


  52. becky Says:

    We have a Samsung french door fridge with freezer on bottom. The door says the freezer is -2* but a thermometer placed inside says it isn’t below 10*. Which one do we trust and what might be wrong?

  53. Cassie Williams Says:

    My refrigerator quit and I bought a used one to replace it. When we got it home and plugged it in it would not cool down, my dad worked on it and it wouldn’t work, so I replaced it with another one only about 5 years old from a friend of ours and it did the same thing! The coils have been cleaned, the outlet tested, the fan checked!! The freezer will not cool down and neither will the refrigerator! Can’t figure it out!! Even had an appliance repairman out and even he couldn’t figure out what the problem is!

  54. s chatterjee Says:

    I have a LG 190 liter refrigerator.it is only 2 months old. some time it makes water dripping sound after closing the door and after the sound for few seconds the door gets locked like a vacuum. wanna know whether it is a troubling symptom and if yes what is the solution?

  55. JAMES MOYA Says:


  56. Bob B Says:

    I have a Maytag MFI2269VEW1 model. The cavity beneath the freezer drawers (Lower cabinet) is frozen up and full. We have noticed water dripping out of the freezer on floor. Looked at condenser it was dirty, vacuumed it clean on the area I can reach. No water dripping today. Should the cavity be free of ice? Could this have fixed it? There does not appear that there is a plastic drip pan?
    How can I clean the other dirt on the condenser? Never cleaned the condenser (2 yrs).

  57. Lester Says:

    When I close the in my Samsung side by side frirg side the freezer door opns . I have cleaned the seals. Still opening when I close the frig.

  58. Zdobądź więcej info Says:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  59. ken Says:

    I have a 14 year old amana refrigerator and it quit running and I knew something was wrong when neither light was working. I cleaned the coils and let it sit for awhile and it is running and cooling again, I can hear the compressor running. The lights in the freezer and fridge have not come back on though, whats wrong?

  60. Dave Says:

    I’ve a mini Haier referigerator, it works properly until the power is gone but when the power comes it can’t. start by it self. I think the comperesser is overheating that doesn’t. allow it start again
    please help me to fix it

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  62. Runar Says:


    I have a 8 years old White-Westinghouse, side by side fridge/freezer. Recently it began to come some noise from the freezer, sounds like clicks. These noises continues areound the clock, quite irritating.

  63. Runar Says:


    I have a 8 years old White-Westinghouse, side by side fridge/freezer. Recently it began to come some noise from the freezer, sounds like clicks. These noises continues around the clock, quite irritating.

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