Questions About Refrigerators

As a repairman I get a lot of questions about refrigerators. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions that i get.


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I have a GE side-by-side refrigerator and the icemaker makes so much ice that it lifts up the top shelf above ice bin. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

This is an annoying thing about These refrigerators. When the feeler arm touches the ice it’s supposed to stop to cut the icemaker off when the ice bin is full. But in some cases the feeler arm will not stop so the icemaker continues to make ice, causing this problem. GE recognized this problem and made a special feeler arm that is curbed so that it will stop when it reaches the ice and the icemaker will stop making ice. This part is easy to install, just remove one screw to remove the old feeler arm making sure you don’t loose the spring. Then just reinstall the new arm. Make sure the spring is in place or the icemaker will not work. The part number for this feeler arm is WR49X10103. This new feeler arm can be found at AppliancePartsPros.com.

Is it ok to lay a refrigerator down to haul it?

I get this question about refrigerators a lot. Yes, as long as you let it sit up for a few hours before plugging it up. This will give the oil a chance to settle back down in the compressor where it should be.

What should the controls in my refrigerator be set to?

This is one of the most frequently asked question about refrigerators. In most of the world, 5 and 5 or midway is a good setting. But on some refrigerators with sensing bulb cold controls you may have to turn the control down if you live above 5000 feet above sea level. Also note that if your refrigerator has been working fine and all of the sudden you have to adjust the controls there is something else wrong with the refrigerator that must be fixed or it will get worse. For help on this refer to my refrigerator repair guide.

How often should I replace my water filter?

Most owners’ manuals say 6 months and I agree if you are on a well system. But most city or county water systems are clean enough to only have to replace the filter once a year. I always tell my customers that no filter is a lot better than a dirty filter. Refrigerator water filters can be purchased at AppliancePartsPros.com.

How do I clean the condenser and how often should it be cleaned?

I use a long round skinny brush that you can buy at Wal-Mart and a vacuum cleaner. On refrigerators with the condenser under the bottom just brush the coils off then vacuum the lint off the coils that you loosened with the brush. On some refrigerators you must remove the back to see the condenser coils but you clean them the same way. This should be done at least once a year especially if you have hairy household pets.

The door on my refrigerator won’t stay closed what can I do?

Make sure there is not a package blocking the door. Rub a thin layer of Vaseline on the entire door gasket. If this doesn’t work there may be a spacer missing on the door hinge. On side-by-side refrigerator there are two cams under each door, one on the hinge and one on the door. If one of the cams is broken, the door will not close properly. This page should help Refrigerator Door Repair

What should the temperature in my refrigerator be?

The fresh food section should be between 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit with 36 being the best. The freezer section should be between 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit

Why is the food in the bottom of the fresh food section freezing when the top is not?

This can be one of the hardest things about refrigerators to understand but, I’ll explain it as best I can. If the refrigerator sits for long periods of time without the door being open, the temperature in the bottom half of the fresh food section can reach below freezing. You can fix this by turning the freezer up a notch or two so that the refrigerator runs longer before reaching desired temperature. Note that if the food is freezing at the top of the fresh food section doing this may make it worse.

Why does my freezer door pop open when I close the fresh food door of my refrigerator?

This is normal because when you open the fresh food door, warm air fills the cavity of the fresh food section. Then when you close the door you force the warm air up into the freezer, forcing the freezer door open. Most of the time the door will close right back but if it doesn’t, adjust the front leveling feet to make the refrigerator lean back so that the door will close on its own after this happens.

Do refrigerators have to be level to operate properly?

No, when I deliver a refrigerator I always adjust the front feet up so that it leans back a little. This causes the door to swing closed easily.

When my refrigerator drains where does the water go?

The water goes down a drain into a pan under the refrigerator where it will evaporate.

My refrigerator seems to be running continuously, is this why my electric bill is so high?

No. Refrigerators cost about $5 a month in electricity when operating properly and refrigerators run about 80% on average of the time when operating properly. So if it were running 100% of the time, it would only be a 20% increase and your electric bill would only go up about $1.00 a month. However, if your refrigerator is running all the time, there is something wrong click here to learn more about this problem.

This is the most misunderstood thing about refrigerators.



My refrigerator is not that so old why is it broken down already?

I get this question about refrigerators more than any other question and my answer is always the same. Every appliance breaks down some on the same day you buy it and others in 20 years. Also appliances have always broken down. Yes I will agree that appliances are not made as good as they used to be. The average life of most appliances now days is about 8 to 12 years, whereas it used to be about 10-20 years. But you have to think that the cost of appliances now is about the same as it was 20 years ago, yet labor and materials are higher. So the only way they can still sell appliances at low prices is to cut quality. Also appliances do more than they used to therefore, more to go wrong.

If you have any more questions about refrigerators you can contact me and I’ll gladly answer. I may even post it on this page.

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