Troubleshooting Tips for Refrigerators from Major Appliances in Calgary

Minimize the possibility of electric shock. Unplug the appliance from the power supply or disconnect power at the circuit breaker before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.

Not Running

  • Check the plug and temperature controls to verify that the refrigerator has power and is turned to the "on" position.

Runs But Is Not Cold Enough

  • If the refrigerator has just been serviced, it could still be in a diagnostic mode. Please disconnect power to your refrigerator for 30 seconds and this should clear the control panel. The refrigerator should now cool normally.
  • Check the temperature control settings. Adjust control one number higher for a cooler temperature. If this is a new unit and the controls have been set properly for 24 hours but the unit is still warm, you may need to schedule service.
  • Allow about 24 hours for the unit to cool down and stabilize after initial installation. Also, if the refrigerator has come from an ambient temperature of 40 degrees, it may take one hour for the compressor to come on for the first time. Limit door openings and time the door is open during the first 24 hours.
  • Make sure that both the fresh food and freezer are at least 2/3 full. Closed containers of water, food or non-perishables will help to stabilize the temperature. This is because the items in the refrigerator absorb the cold, and actually work to help the refrigerator maintain a steady temperature, in much the same way that ice cubes keep a drink cold. When you open the refrigerator door, the cool air rushes out and warm air rushes in. The more items in the refrigerator, the less cool air is needed to keep the refrigerator cold. Therefore, when you close the door again, the refrigerator returns to a stable temperature more quickly.
  • Make sure that ALL bins and shelves, in freezer and fresh-food section, are properly seated in the refrigerator. Ensure that large trays, platters, and food items (like pizza boxes) are arranged so that they do not interfere with the door closing. If freezer door, make sure no ice is behind the ice bin, and if present ensure bottom freezer basket is on its rollers.
  • Check to see if large containers are placed against the back wall of the refrigerator. The large containers in back may block the flow of cold air and adversely affect the temperatures in the refrigerator. Move the tall items so they don't block the air flow.
  • Check to see if the condenser is dirty. When the condenser coils get dirty, the sealed system does not operate as efficiently.
  • Top-freezer models: If the refrigerator is level, the doors will not close properly. The refrigerator should be raised enough in the front that when you open either door half way, it closes on it's own.
  • Verify that the refrigerator has proper air clearance. There should be at least 3/4 to 1 inch of clearance on each side, 1 inch on the top and 1 inch in the back.
  • Make sure door gaskets are sealing properly.
  • Make sure the interior lights are going off when the doors are closed. To check, close the door slowly. The light should go out when the door opening is reduced to approximately 1 inch. If the light stays on, it may produce heat that affects your refrigerator temperature.

Normal Run Time

  • The motors in new fridges may run longer due to high-efficiency compressors and fans.
  • Motors may also run longer if the room is warm, a large food load is added, or doors are opened often.
  • In extremely hot, humid areas, run time may approach 100%.
  • Loading the refrigerator or freezer with a large amount of food, especially warm or hot foods, will also add to the run time. Hot foods should be allowed to cool before being placed in the cabinet.
  • Another significant factor that contributes to run time is an empty or lightly loaded freezer. An empty refrigerator or freezer must run more to maintain temperatures low enough to satisfy the temperature control and turn the compressor off. A freezer should be at least 3/4 full to maintain proper temperatures and reduce time.
  • Door openings contribute significantly to the run time of any refrigerator. When the door is opened, some of the heavy cold air slides out of the cabinet, pulling warm air in at the top.
  • Make sure that ALL bins and shelves, in freezer and fresh-food section, are properly seated in the refrigerator. Ensure that large trays, platters, and food items (like pizza boxes) are arranged so that they do not interfere with the door closing. (If freezer door, make sure no ice is behind the ice bin, and if present ensure bottom freezer basket is on its rollers)
  • Check door gaskets - are they sealing properly?
  • Check for blocked air vents in freezer section (any grill work on back wall).
  • Heavy frost build up (1/2" or more) on non-defrost models will cause long run times.

Sounds and Noises

The normal operation of your refrigerator will cause some sound. The following list contains sounds that are normal:

  • A Chirping/barking/woof/howl sound can sometimes be heard as the damper door opens/closes.
  • A change in fan speed as the refrigerator responds to changes in temperature due to door opening.
  • A clicking/tic toc noise can be heard when the defrost timer switches on and off.
  • A click can be heard when the temperature control unit turns the unit on and off.
  • A boiling, gurgling, or knocking sound can be heard when the unit is running. This is caused by the circulation of refrigerant.
  • Gurgling sound in the door. This sound can be heard when the door is opened or closed because of the water in drain tube trap area.
  • A drip may be heard when defrost water is dripping into the pan beneath the refrigerator.
  • The icemaker will make a loud noise when cubes are dropped into the bucket.
  • A hum or click can be heard when the icemaker fills with water.
  • A cracking or popping sound can be heard when evaporator coils on Top Mount No Frost models are cooling after defrost.
  • Buzzing noises can be heard after getting water from the door dispenser. The noise should not last longer than 7 seconds.
  • A snapping sound will be heard about 4 seconds after removing a glass from a dispenser. This is the sound of the dispenser chute closing.
  • A clicking noise may be heard after a power shortage. This stems from the compressor trying to re-start itself. The noise could last for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • A hissing, sizzling, buzzing, or arching noise may be heard on self-defrost models. This is produced when water drips on defrost heaters.

Ice on Freezer Wall

Causes:

  • High humidity.
  • Heavy door openings.
  • Warm food load.
  • Packages resting against the rear wall.
  • Packages keeping the door open.

Water on Floor

  • Check the drip pan. The drip pan may be out of position or have a hole in it.
  • Some leaks could be plumbing issues. Check the copper water line to the water valve. It may be loose or split. Please contact your plumber if your leak appears to be coming from the copper line itself.
  • Check the plastic fill-line from the water valve to the icemaker. It may be loose or split. If this appears to be the case, shut the water off and tighten the water valve.

Refrigerator – Odors

  • Your refrigerator does not contain any mechanical parts that will produce an odor or cause a bad taste in your food or ice cubes.
  • When the refrigerator is new, there is a plastic odor because most components inside are made of plastic. This odor will dissipate with time. Odors can be difficult to get rid of because the refrigerator is an enclosed area.
  • The odors or tastes come from food items placed in the refrigerator or freezer, such as unwrapped food or spills on the shelves or walls. Make sure you check all foods to make sure they are covered and airtight.

Icemaker Ice Cubes - Bad Taste

There are 4 conditions that can cause an odor or taste in your ice:

  • Open food containers, or spilled foods.
  • Low ice usage. Old or stale ice will absorb food odors.
  • Bad water supply. Sulfur, algae, minerals, salt, etc. in the water supply can cause bad tasting water which results in bad tasting ice.
  • Old water filter. If you have a water filtration system, the filter should be replaced every 6 months or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Moisture on the Exterior

  • If you are experiencing moisture between your refrigerator doors, check your Energy Saver Switch. It should be set to the "moisture or humid" position.
  • You should also check your fresh food and freezer doors for splits in the gasket. Gaps in the gaskets are also a problem.
  • If you are experiencing moisture on the case of the refrigerator, check to make sure the temperature controls are set correctly. Moisture could be a result of improper air clearance. If the moisture is towards the back of the case, you need to schedule a service call.

Food Too Cold or Freezing

Side by Side Models:

  • First, check the controls and adjust if necessary. Note: you may have to wait up to 24 hours for the new temperature to be reached.
  • If food in the bottom of the refrigerator is freezing, this could be caused by a refrigerator not having enough food to absorb the cold air.
  • If food in the door is freezing, move the door bins up or down so they are one notch away from freezer vents.

Freezer on Top Models:

  • First, check the controls and adjust if necessary. Note: you may have to wait up to 24 hours for the new temperature to be reached.
  • Since the cold air coming into the fresh food section originates in the freezer above, the rear of the top shelf will be the coldest spot in the fresh food area. Avoid placing delicate items that freeze easily on the back half of this shelf.
  • If food is freezing in the produce (fruits and vegetables) or meat pan, it may be that the temperature controls are not set high enough. Since cold air naturally falls, the pans can get too cold if the refrigerator is not running long enough to maintain good air circulation. Adjust both controls up one notch.

Freezer Door Pops Open

It is not unusual on a two-door refrigerator for one door to pop open when the other door is being closed. Slamming a door shut forces air from one cavity into the other, often pushing the second door open.

If the freezer door stays open:

  • Check the leveling legs. The front of the refrigerator should be slightly higher than the back, to allow the door to close normally. When properly adjusted, the door will close smoothly and firmly on its own.   
  • Check to see whether the refrigerator door gasket is sealing properly. Keeping the gaskets clean and lubricated prevents them from dragging and restricting door closure.
  • Place heavier items in the freezer door compartments to provide some ballast, since this is the smaller door and is more likely to pop open.
  • Make sure there is nothing in the freezer or refrigerator that is preventing a door from closing tightly.

Icemaker or Water Dispenser is not Getting Water

  • Make sure that the freezer has cooled down properly after the initial installation.
  • Check to make sure that the copper water line valve is turned on. This valve is usually found under the sink or in the basement. This is the only copper tube needed for the refrigerator.
  • Make sure the plastic fill line on the icemaker has not come out of the back of the icemaker.
  • Make sure that the icemaker is turned on and plugged in, and that the feeler arm is in the down position. The power cord for your icemaker is plugged into the left or back wall of the freezer.

Icemaker or Water Dispenser is not Dispensing Water

  • If the icemaker is getting water, but there is no water to the dispenser, check the condition of the dispenser tank behind your vegetable drawers. If it is frozen, you may be getting water in the icemaker, but not the dispenser. To rid the tank of the ice, increase air circulation by increasing the run time on the refrigerator. This can be done by turning the thermostat up, or by adding more food to the refrigerator.
  • On some models, a clogged water filter can prevent water from entering the icemaker. This filter should be changed every six months.

No or Slow Water from Dispenser

  • New installation: Make sure the cradle has been held down 2-3 minutes to allow the reservoir to fill completely. This does not apply to Top Mount models with a water dispenser, because there is no reservoir.
  • The dispenser in the door will not operate unless the door is closed.
  • Make sure the water line to refrigerator is turned on.
  • On some models, a clogged or partially clogged filter will result in no water or slow running water from dispenser. Filters should be changed every 6 months.

Icemaker Not Dispensing, Making Ice

  • Check that the feeler arm on the icemaker is in the down position and is not blocked.
  • If the icemaker does not have a feeler arm make sure the icemaker paddle is not blocked under the icemaker.
  • Low food load: The defrost cycle radiates heat into the freezer. The ice in the freezer will naturally absorb the heat. This will cause the ice to melt slightly during defrost, then eventually freeze together in clumps. Increasing the food load in the freezer will buffer the warmth from the defrost cycle and keeps the ice from melting.
  • Lack of use: When the ice bin is full, the pressure from the weight of the cubes can cause the bottom cubes to fuse and clump. To prevent this from happening, discard the clumped ice and check the bin periodically to ensure the ice is not building up.
  • If you do not use a large amount of ice, move the feeler arm on the icemaker to the up position to turn off the icemaker and stop ice production.

Dripping or Leaking Water from Dispenser

  • It is not unusual to see a few drops of water dripping from the dispenser after having dispensed water. This is caused by pressure on the water line and changes in temperature causing some condensation to form and drip. The dispenser recess grill will catch this water.
  • The grate on the dispenser recess grill will need to be removed periodically and wiped dry.

Icemaker Leaking or Dripping Water

If your icemaker is leaking water into your ice bucket or onto your floor, several things could be the source of the problem. Check the following items:

  • Make sure the water line fittings are secure.
  • Check the water valve for leaks.
  • See if water is leaking from the fill tube extension.
  • See if the defrost water drain is cracked or overflowing.
  • Check for water on the exterior of the refrigerator case.
  • See if the refrigerator is leveled.