5 minor refrigerator repairs you can do yourself

July 27, 2015

Some refrigerator repairs are best left to the professionals, but many can be done with the right tools and knowhow. These are some common fridge problems you could do yourself.

5 minor refrigerator repairs you can do yourself

1. Stop that wobble

A wobbling refrigerator probably has a door that sags or rattles but fixing it is fairly simple. Start by checking to see if all the legs touch the ground, then grab a level. If things are off, here's what to do:

  • First, remove the bottom grille. For threaded legs, adjust their height by turning the legs themselves with an adjustable wrench. For casters, use a screwdriver to turn the levelling screw.
  • To work on the legs, you need to tilt the unit and rest it on a piece of lumber.
  • When you've finished, retest the unit with your carpenter's level as before.

2. Switch out a broken light

  • If the bulb will not light when you open the door, make sure that the unit is plugged in and that the bulb is not loose.
  • Start with a 40-watt appliance light bulb, not a standard light bulb, and replace the bulb, removing any protective covering first.
  • If the light still doesn't work, the problem may be the door switch or the wiring.
  • To replace the switch, unplug the unit and pry the switch loose with a putty knife. Remove the wires from the terminals. Grab a replacement and connect the wires to the new switch. Slide the switch back into place and plug the unit back in.
  • If the problem persists, you may have a more sophisticated electrical problem that requires professional help.

3. Get the door swinging the right way

  • If you have a unit that swings out the wrong way, you might be able to reverse the hinges and handles so it opens from the other side.
  • Typically, the holes are factory-drilled and capped for this purpose.
  • Check your owner's manual for specific instructions; on some refrigerators this can be a fairly challenging job. A service person can do it quickly if you don't have the manual.
  • Switching the doors will also let you move the refrigerator to a better spot in the kitchen, or keep the door from blocking traffic when it's open.

4. Replacing the door gasket

Refrigerators usually run for many years before needing replacement parts. The gasket, however, is the exception. Here's how to replace it:

  1. Buy a replacement gasket at an appliance store, just make note of your fridge's make and model before heading out.
  2. The gasket is held in place by a retaining strip. Lift the old gasket to see how it's attached.
  3. Remove the screws and the old gasket.
  4. Clean the mounting surface.
  5. Start at a top corner and install the new gasket, working towards the opposite corner.
  6. Don't overtighten the screws.

5. Give your fridge a touch-up

  • Apply appliance paint, available at most hardware stores, as directed on the label. The small applicator brush makes it easy to apply just the right amount of paint. Be sure that the room is well ventilated.
  • If there's a deep scratch, pick up some fine grit wet-and-dry sandpaper. Sand the sides of the scratch carefully before painting.

Occasionally, a refrigerator needs minor adjustments and repairs. But before you call a professional, see if you can do it on your own. It could save you time and money.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu