Ask us anything

How Do You Know if Your Refrigerator Compressor is Bad?

Identifying whether your refrigerator compressor is bad is crucial because the compressor is a vital component responsible for cooling your fridge. A malfunctioning compressor can lead to a loss of cooling, spoilage of food, and potentially costly repairs. Here are some signs and steps to help you determine if your refrigerator compressor is indeed bad:

1. Temperature Fluctuations:
One of the first signs of a failing compressor is inconsistent refrigerator and freezer temperatures. If you notice that the fridge is not maintaining the desired temperature, despite adjusting the thermostat, it could be due to compressor issues.
2. Loud or Unusual Noises:
A bad compressor can produce unusual sounds, such as clicking, banging, humming, or rattling. If your refrigerator starts making noises that you haven't heard before, it may indicate a compressor problem.
3. Warm Fridge and Freezer:
If both the refrigerator and freezer compartments remain warm, despite the thermostat settings, the compressor may not be functioning correctly. This often indicates a lack of proper cooling.
4. Excessive Heat at the Back:
Carefully feel the back of your refrigerator. If it's excessively hot, especially near the compressor area, it could be a sign that the compressor is overworking or struggling to maintain the cooling process.
5. Leaking Refrigerant:
Refrigerant leaks can occur in the compressor or associated tubing. If you notice an oily or greasy substance around the compressor or refrigerant lines, it's a strong indication of a refrigerant leak, which can affect the compressor's functionality.
6. Frequent Cycling On and Off:
A compressor that constantly turns on and off in rapid succession, known as short cycling, may indicate a problem. This can be caused by a variety of issues, including a failing compressor.
7. Tripped Circuit Breaker:
If the refrigerator frequently trips the circuit breaker or blows fuses, it could be due to an electrical issue related to the compressor.
8. Reduced Cooling Capacity:
If the refrigerator is taking longer than usual to cool down or you notice that it's not as cold as it used to be, this can be a symptom of compressor failure.
9. Visual Inspection:
Carefully examine the compressor itself. Look for any signs of physical damage, rust, or oil leakage. If you see any of these, it's a strong indication that the compressor is malfunctioning.
10. Professional Diagnosis:
If you've observed any of the above signs, it's essential to consult a qualified appliance technician for a professional diagnosis. They can use specialized tools and knowledge to assess the compressor's condition accurately.
11. Check the Compressor's Start Relay:
In some cases, the issue may not be with the compressor itself but with the start relay, which helps the compressor start. A faulty start relay can mimic compressor problems.
To check the start relay, you can unplug the refrigerator and remove the start relay cover. Examine it for burnt or damaged components. If you suspect the start relay is the issue, replacing it can potentially resolve the problem without replacing the entire compressor.
12. Consider the Age of the Refrigerator:
Refrigerators have a limited lifespan, and compressor failures can become more common as they age. If your refrigerator is approaching the end of its expected life span and is exhibiting multiple symptoms, it may be more cost-effective to replace the appliance rather than repairing the compressor.

Remember that diagnosing and repairing refrigerator compressor issues can be complex and potentially hazardous due to the involvement of refrigerants and electrical components. It's crucial to prioritize safety and consult a professional technician for an accurate assessment and any necessary repairs or replacements. They can help you determine whether the compressor is indeed bad and provide appropriate solutions to restore your refrigerator's cooling functionality.
Connect to virtual expert

Our virtual experts can diagnose your issue and resolve simple problems.