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Refrigerator Fan Motor Repair Guide

As part of a refrigeration system, a condenser fan motor has one job: to draw air in from the front or rear vents of the refrigerator in order to cool down the condenser coils and the compressor. Then it circulates the air back out through the base grille.

This airflow cycle is extremely critical for the appliance to work properly. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the components involved in this airflow cycle in their best condition, especially the fan motor.

If the fan motor malfunctions, it would not cool down the compressor. In return, the compressor would overheat and shut down. This would cause the temperature in the refrigerator to rise.

In this article, we will cover every question that people ask regarding the fan motor and its functionality. Let’s get on it.

 

Content Table

  1. How to fix a refrigerator compressor?
  2. Could a refrigerator not be cooling because of a fan?
  3. Is it worth replacing the compressor on my refrigerator?
  4. How do you replace a refrigerator condenser?
  5. How to find a refrigerator or get a 16 year old appliance repaired?
  6. Why is there a fan behind the refrigerator?
  7. Which motor is used in refrigerator?
  8. Do all refrigerators, old or new models, have condenser fans?
  9. Why is the fan in my freezer making a loud noise?
  10. If my refrigerator isn’t cooling, what could be wrong?
  11. How long does it take to replace a refrigerator compressor?
  12. How much does it cost to replace refrigerator compressor?
  13. Why isn’t my refrigerator cooling after replacing the compressor?
  14. How a faulty refrigerator fan can cause fire?
  15. What causes all the different noises that refrigerators make?
  16. How to ohm out a condenser fan motor?
  17. Conclusion

 

How to fix a refrigerator compressor?

If a refrigerator is not cooling as it should, the compressor could be the root cause of the problem. Now, there are multiple ways to troubleshoot a compressor.

We are sure you have already checked that the refrigerator has power. You may even hear the evaporator fan running.

First, you will need to remove the machine compartment cover and check the condenser fan.

If the condenser fan is running, your compressor should be getting power. That is because the compressor shares a circuit with the condenser fan motor in most refrigerators.

For safety reasons, unplug the refrigerator, unhook the retainer clip, and pull the PTC start relay out of the refrigerator. Shake the PTC relay and see if it rattles. If it does, that’s the sign that the relay is burnt and needs replacement. On the other hand, if the relay doesn’t rattle, you will need to check for the continuity to confirm if it’s bad. For that, you will need a multimeter.

Put the 1-meter lead into terminal 5, and the other meter lead into terminal 6. If you detect an open circuit between those terminals, the multimeter will read 1 in the far left digit. This would confirm that you need to replace the PTC start relay.

In the case where the multimeter doesn’t indicate that the start relay is bad, then, unfortunately, you have a faulty compressor. To replace that, you would definitely need to call a technician, because a faulty compressor repairing involves recovering freon.

Now, on the other hand, if your condenser fan isn’t running, then you may have a defective electronic control board or a bad temperature sensor–both problems can be diagnosed and fixed.

Many refrigerators have a diagnostic test mode to check refrigerator operations. The way to check is to press the light switch 3 times, then press and hold it the 4th time until you hear a long beep. You will be in the test mode then. If this doesn’t work in your model, check the test sheet for instructions. Test sheet, in most models of refrigerators, can be found behind the bottom front grill or taped at the back of the refrigerator.

In this test mode, press the door switch twice to start the compressor. The control beeps twice, and then you should hear the compressor running. If the compressor runs in this diagnostic test, you will need to check the thermistor. A bad thermistor can prevent the compressor from running in the normal mode. A diagnostic test mode forces the compressor to run whether or not the thermistor is broken.

However, if the compressor doesn’t start in the diagnostic test mode, you will need to check the continuity from the electronic control board through the compressor circuit.

First, with the refrigerator unplugged, remove the screw that holds the control box. Then, pull the control box down and remove the electronic control board. Unplug the connector from the compressor circuit. Put one meter lead on the red wire and the other meter lead on the blue wire. If you see around 5 ohms on the multimeter, it means you have continuity, in which case you will probably need to replace the electronic control board because the control board is not sending compressor enough voltage through the circuit.

If the compressor circuit is open, you will see a 1 in the far left digit on the meter. Look for pinched or broken wires in the control board harness and in the wires leading up to the compressor. Replace or repair any damaged wires that you find. Even if the wires look good, you should still check for continuity to see if there is a problem with the control board harness.

Unplug the harness of the control box from the ceiling of the refrigerator and check continuity between the ceiling plug and the control board on the blue and red wires. If the control board harness is good, plug it back in and check the continuity between the red wire on the control board and the red wire on the compressor plug. If the red wire turns out good, check the blue wire next.

In case where both wires show continuity and the start relay was also not the problem, it means that your compressor is at fault and other components are well. Thus, you will need to have the compressor replaced. For that, a professional technician must be present.

This was how you can troubleshoot to figure out why your compressor was not running and how you can fix it. However, keep in mind that you would need to have a multimeter with you for that and your refrigerator model must have a test sheet attached somewhere. Otherwise, the diagnostics wouldn’t be possible for you to conduct.

Even if you have all the things at ready, still know that undertaking diagnostics and repairs of such appliances can be hazardous. There is always a risk of injury to you, someone else, the appliance, and the property. To reduce the risk, make sure you follow each direction carefully, take proper safety measures with the tools and equipments. Do not begin until you are one hundred percent sure that you know what you are doing. Moreover, even though now you know the troubleshooting compressor procedure, it is still far better to have a refrigerator repair service technician present and let a professional do the job.

 

Could a refrigerator not be cooling because of a fan?

The condenser fan motor draws the air over the condenser coils to cool them. As a result, your refrigerator cools. Without a properly functional fan, your refrigerator can stop cooling and easily overheat.

In many cases, a damaged or dysfunctional fan is a reason why the refrigerator not cools properly. You can locate the fan at the backside or underneath the refrigerator body.

 

Is it worth replacing the compressor on my refrigerator?

That’s a tricky question. And the answer depends on how old your refrigerator is. If your refrigerator is more than 10 to 15 years old and has required frequent repairs in that time, there is no point in investing money on more repairs and replacing the compressor. It’s not worth it.

A new compressor will easily cost around half of the current cost of the refrigerator (half of the machine’s salvage value). And there is no guarantee that the refrigerator this old would not require more repairs for other components.

Instead, what you can do is spend a little more money and buy a brand new refrigerator with a brand new compressor, which is less likely to ask for more repairs in 10 years.

On the other hand, if your refrigerator is not as old, and the new compressor is not costing half of the current price of the refrigerator, you should go for it and get a new compressor.

 

How do you replace a refrigerator condenser?

The process of replacing a refrigerator condenser fan is rather easy, but you need to be careful and know what you are doing.

First, make sure you are taking all the safety measures with equipment and tools. Must wear gloves to protect your hands.

Unplug the refrigerator and remove the screws from the rear compartment cover. Pull the cover off. Remove the front base screw from the fan motor bracket.

Next, pivot the bracket towards the compressor and remove the rear bracket screws and upper mounting screw. Then, unplug the wire harnesses and pull it out.

After that, pull off the fan blade, remove the fan motor, and install the fan blade on the new motor.

Next, plug in the motor wire harness. Position the new motor on the motor bracket and reinstall all the screws–front base, rear bracket, and upper mounted screws.

Position the rear compartment cover and reinstall all the screws.

Now, plug the refrigerator back to restore power. Your condenser fan motor is replaced.

 

How to find a refrigerator or get a 16 year old appliance repaired?

If you want to find a new or used refrigerator, you can easily visit a nearest appliance dealer and contact them. Or, you can also ask around in the neighborhood, friends and family, or other personal contacts to see if anyone is selling their old/new refrigerator.

However, if you want to get your 16 years old appliance repaired, that’s a long process.

Without knowing your refrigerator’s make, model, and how many times it has been repaired in 16 years, the best advice we can give you is to consult a professional appliance technician.

A good rule of thumb, however, states that if a refrigerator is 15 years old, it has lived its life, and investing additional money on its repairs is just a lost cause. You should buy a new refrigerator at this point. That being said, whether or not you should get your 16 year old appliance repaired depends on what the repair requirement is.

If the problem lies within the compressor or condenser coils, it is probably wasteful to get it repaired and bear the hefty costs. But if the repair is a small one that wouldn’t cost much money, you can get it repaired. Still, a 16 years appliance doesn’t need any more repairs, it needs to be sold off for its salvage value.

 

Why is there a fan behind the refrigerator?

There are around two fans in the traditional models of refrigerators of this age. One is located under the refrigerator and does the work of cooling the compressor by drawing the air through the condenser coils.

The second fan is located inside the refrigerator and it forces the air around the coils inside the refrigerator. This second fan evens out the cooling process in the whole refrigerator and also aids in defrosting process.

 

Which motor is used in refrigerator?

Refrigerators most commonly use single phase capacitor stat induction run motors. These motors are cooled by the refrigerant during the refrigeration process.

 

Do all refrigerators, old or new models, have condenser fans?

Yes. All models, new and old, of traditional refrigerators have condenser fans. In fact, most modern models of frost-free refrigerators have two condenser fans; one behind the refrigerator to cool the exterior coils and one inside the machine to cool down the interior coils.

That being said, mini refrigerators, such as small bar and dorm refrigerators do not have fans, mainly because they are used temporarily or for very specific purpose.

 

Why is the fan in my freezer making a loud noise?

If a fan in your freezer is making a loud noise, buzzing, humming, or clicking, the most common reason is that your freezer’s evaporator fan is damaged or worn out.

In addition to the loud noise, a damaged or worn out evaporator fan will make your freezer warmer than before. The evaporator will need to be repaired or replaced in order to get rid of the noise and get your freezer back to its usual state.

 

If my refrigerator isn’t cooling, what could be wrong?

If your refrigerator is not cooling, there can be multiple reasons, which are listed below.

  • Frosted evaporator coils
  • Faulty evaporator fan
  • Dirt insulated condenser coils
  • Out of order defrost system
  • Insufficient refrigerant level
  • Defective condenser fan
  • Defective start relay
  • Faulty thermistor
  • Faulty compressor

 

How long does it take to replace a refrigerator compressor?

There is no definite time. It depends on a multitude of aspects.

First, if we are talking about a domestic, relatively old refrigerator, it might be very hard to get a compressor to replace it to begin with. Even if you find a new compressor to replace the old one with, the complexity of the job (unscrewing, dismantling, and replacing) defines the duration.

Apart from the job, the person who is doing the job also contributes in the time it takes to replace the compressor.

A general word is that if a professional is doing the job of replacing the compressor in a household refrigerator, it would take around 2 hours. After that, you would need to purge the air from the compressor and re-gas the appliance. In total, it would take somewhere around 4 hours.

Make sure you call a trustworthy appliance technician who does the job completely and properly in the best time. Your best option is appliance repair service in Suffolk County. Whatever the problem is in your appliance, the expert professional from the service would deal with it and eliminate your problem in the best way possible. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about brands, too. They deal in repairs of large number of brands. Check out the following list.

  • LG Appliance Repair
  • Samsung Appliance Repair
  • Kenmore Appliance Repair
  • Miele Appliance Repair
  • Speed Queen Appliance
  • Maytag Appliance Repair
  • Vulcan Appliance Repair
  • Wolf Appliance Repair
  • Thermador Appliance Repair
  • Electrolux Appliance Repair
  • Electrolux Appliance Repair
  • Garland Appliance Repair
  • Whirlpool Appliance Repair
  • KitchenAid Appliance Repair
  • Magic Chef Appliance Repair
  • Viking Appliance Repair
  • Fisher & Paykel Appliance
  • JennAir Appliance Repair
  • Hotpoint Appliance Repair
  • Bosch Appliance Repair

 

How much does it cost to replace refrigerator compressor?

The cost of compressor depends on the model, brand, and make of your refrigerator. Apart from that, the cost of labor that is hired to replace that compressor also adds to the cost. There can’t be a definite price without knowing your brand, model, and refrigerator type.

 

Why isn’t my refrigerator cooling after replacing the compressor?

The most prominent reason of a refrigerator not cooling is a faulty compressor. But your refrigerator is still not cooling after replacing the compressor–now that’s a tricky problem!

If a refrigerator is not cooling even when the compressor is running fine (which it would be since it’s a new one), it can mean that the refrigerator’s evaporator coils are problematic. Evaporator coils can get covered in ice over time, which prevents the coils from working properly, thus, your refrigerator does not cool. If this, in fact, is the problem, the ice will need to be defrosted from the evaporator coils to fix the problem.

There can be another reason why your refrigerator is not cooling despite the compressor replacement. It is best if you call the technician that replaced your compressor (assuming you didn’t do it yourself. If you did, you might have done a faulty job, in which case a technician’s presence is required).

 

How a faulty refrigerator fan can cause fire?

A refrigerator fan turns out to be one of the common reasons in the cases of refrigerator fires. Although it is not as common as other, electrical reasons, it is still a contributing factor.

Evaporator and condenser fans in the refrigerator come with copper wire windings. If these fans are not wired properly (maybe during replacement or repair) or are faulty and not noticed, they can overheat and become a source of ignition.

When a fan is faulty, it just takes a spark to spread fire on the whole appliance.

 

What causes all the different noises that refrigerators make?

A refrigerator is made of numerous different components. Some of them make noise. It’s common. During an average busy day, the minor sounds of refrigerator coming from compressor or condenser fan aren’t even noticeable. They get mixed with the background, more audible noises.

However, if a noise from your refrigerator is overwhelmingly noticeable, there can be something wrong with the machine.

The causes of such noises can be:

  • An issue with the defrost timer
  • Faulty condenser fan
  • Faulty compressor
  • Failing evaporator fan

 

How to ohm out a condenser fan motor?

Almost all of the condenser fan motors are single speed, and original motors cannot be reversed. You have 3 wires: Common, Start, and Run. Start to Run have highest ohms, which means the wire left is the Common one.

In addition, Common to Start have higher ohms than Common to Run. The sum of the two lower readings will total the other, highest ohm reading.

In the case where it has 4 wires, two of them will read 0 ohms and those 2 are Run. a 4-wire could also be a two speed motor, but it’s rare.

 

Conclusion

Now you know all the issues that can emerge in your refrigerator and all of its main components, including compressor, condenser fan motor, condenser coils, evaporator, control board, start relay, and more.

In addition, you are also aware of how to fix some of these issues by yourself and when to call a technician. When finding out or fixing the issues yourself, make sure to take all the proper safety measures. And if you are calling a repair technician, make sure you have all the information available for the professional to analyze. For instance, how old is the refrigerator, how frequent are the repairs, and how intensely is the refrigerator being used. This information helps the repairman analyze whether or not you are wasting your money on repairs when a more cost-effective option would be to buy a new refrigerator