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How to Fix a Refrigerator Compressor? Guide Of 2023

You may find yourself facing a lot of hassle if your refrigerator compressor malfunctions. Besides being frustrating, replacing it can also be expensive. The good news is that you can repair a refrigerator compressor, which can even save you money over the long haul. Using this guide, we’ll show you how to fix a refrigerator compressor so you can get your fridge working again.

Why do refrigerators use compressors?

Let’s take a closer look at what a refrigerator compressor is and what it does before we learn how to fix it. The compressor circulates the refrigerant through the coils of the refrigerator’s cooling system to keep it cool. Keeping your food at the right temperature is impossible without a functioning compressor.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Fix a Refrigerator Compressor?

Step 1: Troubleshooting

How to Fix a Refrigerator Compressor

Finding the cause of a refrigerator compressor problem is the first step in repairing it. Before assuming it’s a compressor issue, check a few things before assuming your fridge isn’t cooling. Check the temperature setting and the door seals to ensure they are in good condition. The compressor should check if all those things are in order.

Step 2: Safety First

Remove the fridge’s power source before you begin working on the compressor. By doing this, you will prevent yourself from accidentally electrocuting yourself. 

Step 3: Accessing the Compressor

Refrigerator compressors are typically hidden behind a panel at the rear of the unit. It is necessary to remove the panel in order to access the compressor. In some models, you may have to remove the entire back panel, while in others there may only be a small access panel.

Step 4: Inspect the Compressor

How to Fix a Refrigerator Compressor

When you are able to access the compressor, visually inspect it for signs of damage. Make sure the casing is free of leaks or cracks. It is likely that you will have to replace the compressor if it is damaging. The next step is to determine whether the item appears to be in good condition.

Step 5: Test the Compressor

Using a multimeter, you can test the compressor. Touch the leads of the multimeter to the pins on the compressor and set the ohms setting. Zero indicates that the compressor is faulty and needs to replace. The next step should be taken if the reading is within the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 6: Check the Overload Relay

Compressor overload relays help prevent overheating by protecting them from overload. An overload relay that fails can stop a compressor from working. The overload relay can check by shaking it after it has been removed from the compressor. The rattle indicates that it is faulty and must be replaced.

Step 7: Replace the Compressor or Overload Relay

How to Fix a Refrigerator Compressor

You will need to replace the compressor or overload relay if you have determined that it is faulty. A compressor replacement requires specialized equipment and knowledge, which is why it should be handled by a professional. A replacement overload relay can be purchased and installed by you if you feel comfortable doing so.

Step 8: Reassemble and Test

You can now reassemble the fridge and plug it back in once the faulty part has been replaced. Ensure that it’s properly cooling by letting it run for a few hours. Everything should work fine if everything is set up correctly! A professional may be able to help you if you are still experiencing problems.

Things one should Consider while fixing a Refrigerator Compressor

Regular Maintenance

Preventing compressor issues can be achieved through regular maintenance. Ensure proper airflow by regularly cleaning the coils behind the fridge. If dust or debris has accumulated on the coils, you can clean them with a vacuum or coil brush. As well, ensure that the fridge’s interior is clean on a regular basis. Avoid overloading the fridge with food, which can impede airflow and make the compressor work harder.

Temperature Control

Keeping your fridge’s compressor in good working order requires temperature control. Don’t adjust the temperature frequently, and set the temperature according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. By maintaining a consistent temperature, you’ll prolong the compressor’s life and reduce wear and tear.

Avoid Power Surges

It is possible for power surges to damage your fridge’s compressor and other electrical components. Be sure to use a surge protector when plugging in your fridge to prevent power surges. You should also avoid using extension cords and power strips, which can lead to power surges.

When to Call a Professional

While it is possible to fix a refrigerator compressor on your own, there are some situations that require the services of a professional. It’s best to call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable working on the compressor. Further, replacing the compressor requires specialized tools and knowledge, which is why it’s best left to a professional.


Refrigerator compressors can fix, but safety should be prioritized and limits should be known. Maintaining your fridge and following the steps outlined above can prevent compressor problems from arising. If you aren’t comfortable working on the compressor or don’t know what the problem is, you should call a professional. You can extend the life of your refrigerator by taking care of it properly and maintaining it regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fixing Refrigerator Compressor

The following are some frequently asked questions about refrigerator compressors, along with brief answers:

How can I tell if my refrigerator compressor is failing?

Strange noises coming from the refrigerator, an ineffective cooling system, or a constantly running compressor are all signs of a failing compressor. Observing any of these symptoms may indicate that the compressor is in need of repair.

Can I replace a compressor myself?

Compressor replacement requires specialized tools and knowledge and can be dangerous if not done correctly. For this job, you’d be best off hiring a professional, especially if you don’t have experience repairing refrigerators.

How often should I clean the coils behind my fridge?

Depending on how dusty your home is, you should clean the coils behind your fridge at least once or twice a year. Your carpets may need to clean more often if you have pets or live in an especially dusty area.

Can power surges damage my fridge compressor?

Your refrigerator’s compressor and other electrical components can damages by power surges. Using extension cords or power strips can result in power surges, so make sure your fridge is plugged into a surge protector.

What should I do if my fridge is still not cooling after fixing the compressor?

After replacing the compressor, if your fridge still does not cool properly, other issues may be at play, such as a malfunctioning thermostat or a blocked air vent. A professional should be called to diagnose and resolve the problem.