The Basics Of Refrigeration Repair For Appliance Technician Students

Handyman trying to move a fridge
Unlike other major appliances, refrigerators work around the clock, because keeping food cold is a full-time job. That’s why it’s quite surprising that these large cooling appliances don’t break down very often. However, when they do have issues they need to be repaired as quickly as possible or the food that’s stored inside them will spoil.

If you’re planning to pursue appliance technician training, you’ll likely be required to diagnose and repair refrigerators, as well as many other appliances during your career. And a good appliance service technician school will provide you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need to perform such repairs, as well as an understanding of some of the most common issues you’ll see.

Here are a few common refrigerator issues and some tips for repairing them:

Appliance Technician School Teaches Students How to Repair Condenser Fans

Once you start your career, you’ll likely receive many phone calls from clients complaining about a loud buzzing sound coming from their refrigerator. A trained appliance technician knows that this sound typically indicates that there is something wrong with the fridge’s condenser fan.

At appliance technician school, you’ll learn that condenser fans circulate air through the fridge’s condenser coil to remove heat and evaporate water. Since the condenser fan is located near the compressor—at the bottom rear of the fridge—it can easily get clogged up with dust and other debris, causing it to become noisy.

In order to access the fan, you’ll need to remove the rear access panel of a fridge. Repairing the condenser fan typically requires you to clean out the area, or replace the entire fan. You’ll be able to assess how serious the damage is once you see the fan.

Air is circulated through a fridge's condenser by a motorized fan
Air is circulated through a fridge’s condenser by a motorized fan

A Malfunctioning Evaporator Fan Motor Could Cause a Rise in Temperature

When a refrigerator’s temperature rises it could mean that there’s a problem with the appliance’s evaporator fan. This is typically located behind the freezer compartment of a refrigerator and is used to circulate cold air throughout the fridge when the compressor is running. If the evaporator fan is not functioning properly, temperatures inside the fridge will rise and the compressor will have to work much harder than usual.

When an evaporator fan isn’t working, the issue is usually derived from a malfunctioning evaporator fan motor. Appliance technician training will teach you how to access the fan, which is located in the freezer compartment behind the evaporator cover, and how to test it to ensure that power is being supplied to its motor.

A few other causes for a warm fridge might include issues with the air inlet damper or the temperature control switch.

A Trained Appliance Technician Knows a Defective Gasket Can Cause a Fridge to Leak

During your appliance technician career, you’ll definitely be required to assess and repair fridge leaks. Trained experts know that a leaky fridge is usually a clear indicator of a faulty door gasket.

A door gasket is typically found along the outer edge of a refrigerator’s door. Your training will teach you that its shape is similar to that of an accordion and it features a flexible magnetic strip that keeps the fridge door closed. A defective gasket can cause air to leak through, creating a lot of moisture in the refrigerator. Over time, this moisture can accumulate and start to leak. If this occurs, the gasket might need to be replaced.

Looking for appliance technician courses in Ontario?

Visit PAT to learn more about our programs or to speak with an advisor.

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