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How to Diagnose and Fix Common Refrigerator Problems- A Quick Guide

Knowing how to diagnose and fix common refrigerator problems is vital when you own this appliance. A refrigerator is essential for storing valuable food items and beverages in a home or business. When a refrigerator breaks down, it inconveniences households and businesses. Also, fridge owners can incur significant losses if the food goes bad. While refrigerators are generally reliable appliances, they do sometimes require repair.

Southwest Appliance Repair understands the inconvenience of a faulty refrigerator. Therefore, we provide quality and reliable refrigerator repairs at affordable rates. While we recommend hiring our experts for refrigerator repair, you may diagnose and fix some problems. Some refrigerator issues are relatively easy to repair. 

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How to Diagnose and Fix Common Refrigerator Problems

After being in the appliance repair industry for years, our technicians highlight common refrigerator problems that a handy person can diagnose and fix.

Temperature Issues

Suppose your refrigerator isn’t keeping your food cold enough or is running too hot. In that case, there may be an issue with the temperature control thermostat or the condenser coils at the back of the appliance. To help determine which part to repair or replace, use a thermometer to measure both sides of the fridge (near the vegetable bins and the top shelf near the back). If it’s colder on one side than the other, you may need to check the fan or clean out the condenser coils.

Noise Issues

When your refrigerator makes strange noises, such as clicking, buzzing, or screeching, there may be a problem with its evaporator fan motor. Usually, this issue is easy to diagnose and fix. You need to purchase a new part and install it yourself. However, if you need more technical skills or the right tools to replace the motor, consider calling an expert like Southwest Appliance Repair.

Water Leaks

A water leak can be due to frequent door openings that cause moisture to condensate on the interior wall of your refrigerator. If this is the case, you can wipe down the area and ensure that no food items are blocking air from circulating through the appliance. However, a water leak at the back of your fridge or around its doors could be due to loose fittings or defective seals. To troubleshoot such an issue, check all tubing connections in the back and tighten them up (if necessary). Replacing parts like washers or gaskets might be essential if this fails to fix the problem.

Foul Odors

Your refrigerator should not produce strange odors because it is enclosed. However, if it does emit a foul smell, it’s probably because of mold or mildew buildup in the interior walls or crevices. To eliminate this issue, deep clean your refrigerator with an all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth. Be sure to check under vegetable bins and other hard-to-reach places where food particles may have gone unnoticed.

Frost Accumulation

If your refrigerator accumulates frost or ice, it could be due to a blocked air vent or faulty heater. The air vent may become blocked because food items have shifted, blocking the cold air from circulating through the appliance. To fix this problem, inspect all slots in your fridge for any blockages and remove them if needed. However, if there’s no blockage and you spot a discolored metal plate near the back of the appliance (close to the coils), it could be an issue with a defective heater. If so, you should hire an expert to diagnose and repair this issue properly.

Freezing Food

If your refrigerator’s temperature is too low, then it may cause food to freeze. To fix this problem, increase the thermostat setting and observe how long it takes for the interior to warm up. If there’s no difference after a few hours, you should call an expert who can inspect and repair any faulty components in your fridge.

A handy person can fix most of these refrigerator problems. However, call an expert refrigerator repairer if you’re uncomfortable attempting a DIY repair.

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How to Avoid Common Refrigerator Problems

You can take several steps to prevent your refrigerator from developing common issues. These include:

  • Cleaning the condenser coils regularly to ensure proper air circulation.
  • Vacuuming underneath and behind your refrigerator every few months to remove dust buildup.
  • Checking all door seals for any tears or cracks that can cause leaks.
  • Placing food items in appropriate containers to prevent moisture accumulation and foul odors.
  • Avoid keeping the thermostat readings too low, which may cause food freezing issues.


If you follow these simple tips, you can extend your refrigerator’s life and avoid costly repairs. But like other appliances in your home or business, your refrigerator will develop issues even with proper care, use, and maintenance. And some of these issues will require an expert to repair. That’s where our refrigerator repair service comes in handy.

Schedule Your Refrigerator Diagnosis and Repair

Southwest Appliance Repair has technicians with vast hands-on experience fixing all fridge problems. We repair all types of refrigerator problems regardless of the brand or model. Whether you have the newest or an old refrigerator model, we can fix it when faulty.

Some of the refrigerator problems that our technicians can repair include the following:

  • Unusual noises
  • Water leaks
  • Foul odors
  • Frost accumulation
  • Freezing food items
  • Continuous running cycle


We know that your refrigerator is vital to your home or business. Its malfunction can cause a great deal of inconvenience to you. Our technicians will arrive at your home within hours of scheduling an appointment with us. We have the tools and skills to diagnose and quickly fix issues with your fridge. So, don’t worry if you need more time to learn how to diagnose and fix common refrigerator problems. Instead, call us to schedule a refrigerator repair or request a free cost estimate.