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5 Signs That Your Refrigerator Compressor Might Be Failing

Appliance repair technician servicing a refrigerator
Is your fridge compressor failing? Learn fixes & when to call our expert appliance repair technicians for safe, efficient repairs.

Your refrigerator is one of the hardest working appliances in your home, running 24/7 to keep your food fresh and safe. At the heart of this essential machine is the compressor, an integral component responsible for the refrigeration cycle. But like all appliances, wear and tear over time can lead to the compressor starting to fail. Identifying these signs early can help you address the problem before it turns into a full-blown issue.

How to Tell if Your Refrigerator Compressor is Bad

Here are some signs to look out for, starting with simpler issues that you might be able to fix yourself and moving to more complex issues that our refrigerator repair technicians should handle.

Caution: Before attempting any refrigerator repairs, be sure to unplug it. More difficult issues, such as compressor testing, repairs, and replacement, should be handled by a qualified technician experienced with refrigerants and compressors. These gases can pose a safety hazard and cause explosions, and certain refrigerators may even require welding during compressor replacement.

1. Your Refrigerator Is Always Running

While it’s normal for your refrigerator to cycle on and off throughout the day, a refrigerator running non-stop might indicate an issue with the compressor.

DIY Fix: First, ensure your refrigerator isn’t overfilled, as this can cause it to work harder to maintain its temperature. If that’s not the issue, unplug the refrigerator and clean the condenser coils at the back or underneath your fridge — dust buildup can cause inefficiency.

2. The Fridge Isn’t Cool Enough

If your refrigerator isn’t keeping your food cool enough even at the right setting, a failing compressor might be the culprit.

DIY Fix: Check the thermostat to ensure it’s set correctly. You can also ensure the vents inside the fridge aren’t blocked, preventing cold air from circulating.

3. You Hear Unusual Noises

A hum or a slight buzz is typical, but if your refrigerator starts making strange or loud noises, the compressor might be struggling.

Professional Repair Required: Compressors have numerous components, and diagnosing the source of the noise can be complicated. If the noise persists after you’ve tried the simpler solutions, it’s time to call a professional.

4. The Compressor Is Hot to the Touch

The compressor can get warm or even hot during normal operation, but excessive heat is a clear sign of trouble.

Professional Repair Required: Dealing with a hot compressor should be left to a professional. The heat could be due to various issues, like a malfunctioning condenser fan or a defective compressor, which are complex to handle without proper training.

5. Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

A failing compressor can start drawing more power, which can trip your circuit breaker.

Professional Repair Required: If your refrigerator is causing the circuit breaker to trip, it’s a serious issue that needs a professional’s attention immediately.

If you’ve noticed these signs, especially the more serious ones that require professional appliance repair, it’s crucial to take action promptly. A failing compressor is not something to be taken lightly. Left untreated, it can lead to more serious issues, like food spoilage or even a complete breakdown of your refrigerator.

As an appliance repair company with over 65,000 service calls under our belt, we have the expertise to diagnose and address these issues efficiently and safely, ensuring your refrigerator gets back to running smoothly. 

Don’t wait until minor issues turn into major repairs or replacements. With repair technicians in Madison, North Madison, and Middleton, we have you covered. Reach out to us today, and let’s keep your fridge in top shape.

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