Appliance Technician Training: Most Common Appliance Issues You’ll Face On-the-job (Part 2)

appliance technician training

Considering appliance technician training and want a preview of common issues you’ll learn about in class, and troubleshoot out in the field?

This post picks up where our last piece on appliance problems left off, with some of the most-often reported fridge, microwave, and freezer issues.

We’ll cover the diagnostic steps you’ll learn to perform in pre-apprenticeship training, and the components you’ll likely check first when these appliances break down.

1. Refrigerators that Leak Water or Won’t Cool

No homeowner wants to see an ominous pool of water spreading out from underneath their fridge. Or, be compelled to throw out a week’s worth of food because the unit isn’t cooling properly. These are two of the most common refrigerator issues you’ll see after appliance technician training—and their root causes are fairly consistent.

1) The fridge is leaking water. This problem has three potential sources. A clogged or frozen defrost drain might be causing water to overflow into the bottom of the compartment, and out onto the floor. The drain must be defrosted and flushed with hot water to ensure it’s free of debris.

Secondly, the water tank assembly should be checked for leaks. And thirdly, the water inlet valve must be inspected for cracks and to ensure it is tightly secured to the water supply line.

2) The fridge isn’t cooling. One of the first things an appliance technician will check is the condenser coils, which may need cleaning. Next, it’s important to inspect the condenser fan motor, and ensure the fan is spinning freely and consistently—if not, it will need to be replaced.

Lastly, you’ll check the evaporator fan motor, to ensure it is effectively circulating cool air throughout the unit. If it’s making a lot of noise, or the fan isn’t turning freely, it will need to be replaced.

2. Microwaves that Won’t Heat, Keep Stopping, or Don’t “Turn”

Microwaves are one of the most popular household appliances. Simple to use and incredibly convenient, they’re a key fixture of modern kitchens. But like any appliance, microwaves are vulnerable to break-downs. These are three of the most common issues you’ll get called in to troubleshoot as an appliance tech.

1) The microwave runs, but won’t heat up. There are a few reasons this could be happening, but the first thing you’ll check for is a blown diode. A failure in the diode means less power reaches the magnetron, and not enough cooking energy gets to the unit. Other likely causes include a damaged magnetron tube or defective high voltage capacitor (you’ll need to test the capacitor with a specialized VOM meter).

2) The microwave keeps stopping. The most likely culprit here is a faulty door switch, which fails intermittently, causing the unit to suddenly shut down. Technicians will check the switches for signs of arcing or overheating. Other possible causes include a failed transformer, a faulty touch pad, or a defective fan motor.

3) The microwave plate won’t turn. There’s a motor underneath the table that makes it turn—so you’ll need to verify that the motor hasn’t burned out and needs replacing. If this isn’t the issue, technicians usually check for defects within the main control board or touchpad.

3. Freezers that Don’t Freeze, Won’t Stop Running, or Have Frost Build-up

Some homeowners will try a few DIY troubleshooting steps to handle issues like frost build-up or a freezer that’s not cool enough. But quite often, a technician is needed to root out the source of recurring problems, test system parts, and replace faulty components.

These are three of the most common reasons freezers function below par.

1) The freezer doesn’t get cold enough to freeze.  The technician will check the condenser coils first, to see if they’re dirty. Dirty coils can’t dissipate heat properly, which means the unit can’t get cold enough to freeze anything.

The evaporator fan motor is your next troubleshooting stop. It must be working properly to circulate cool air throughout the freezer. Lastly, you’ll check the start relay to ensure it’s providing power to the compressor. Technicians use a multimeter to check the start relay for continuity.

2) The freezer won’t stop running. The most probable cause here is a broken temperature control thermostat. You’ll need to test it with a multimeter, and replace if defective. Technicians will look at a number of additional factors when troubleshooting this issue, including low refrigerant levels and a leaky door gasket.

3) There’s too much frost build-up. A faulty door seal or loose hinges could be letting outside air into the freezer, and causing frost to accumulate. The defrost heater could also be defective, preventing the unit from defrosting automatically. After checking the bi-metal switch and timer, technicians will also verify whether there’s a problem with the refrigerant levels.

Didn’t see an appliance you were looking for on this list? Check part one of the series for more common problems you’ll see with washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and ovens.

In the meantime, you can learn more about appliance service technician training by visiting the PAT Institute’s program page. You’ll find a description of the program, a complete list of appliance service technician courses, and the option to chat live with an advisor.

Learn More About Appliance Service Technician Training at PAT

Are You Career Training Ready? Find Out!
Take the "Career Exploration Kit"

This fun, online quiz takes 3-minutes to complete and you’ll get a personalized report. Identify your strengths and social style, plus the training and positions you’re best suited for. Get Your Career Readiness score now

Take the Career Exploration Kit