Easy fixes for common fridge issues

A faulty refrigerator can be frustrating, but considering the amount of use a fridge can undergo, a few issues in its lifetime is expected. Try the below fixes before calling for repair or buying a new appliance.

Easy fixes for common fridge issues

My fridge is making an annoying noise

Balance the fridge and secure the compressor

Years of service will take their toll on a fridge; parts can shake loose and make an irritating and persistent noise.

  • First, make sure the fridge is level. Adjust the height of the legs at the corners of the fridge by turning them clockwise (to raise the leg) or counterclockwise (to lower it). Check that it is level with a spirit level.
  • If the noise persists, unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall. Identify the compressor — this is a large, typically dome-shaped unit at the base and back of the fridge. It is sometimes behind a panel that can be easily removed by undoing a couple of screws. The compressor is attached to the body of the fridge by bolts or — often — by simple clips. Tighten the connections so that the compressor doesn't vibrate when it runs; while you have access, vacuum the area around the compressor and the cooling fan underneath the fridge — this will help the fridge run more efficiently.

My vegetables keep spoiling

Zone your fridge to extend the life of foods

  • Vegetables need to breathe, so don't keep them tightly wrapped in plastic — a loose or perforated bag is best. Keep vegetables away from the back wall of the fridge where the coldest air will pass over them.
  • Most vegetables will live longer in the fridge, but potatoes and onions should be stored in a cool, dark cupboard to delay sprouting.
  • Don't overfill your fridge — leave enough space between items for the cold air to circulate

My fridge smells terrible

Eliminate the odour with vinegar and newspaper

Over time, the walls of a fridge absorb food smells. These odours can taint your food, but they can be neutralized effectively.

  • Switch off your refrigerator and clear out its contents. Make a mixture of equal parts of water and white vinegar and use this to wipe all the inner surfaces of the fridge.
  • If your fridge hasn't been used for a long time and the smell is more stubborn, remove any food from the fridge. Ball up sheets of newspaper and lightly moisten them with water, then run the fridge as normal for a few days. Remove the paper, and clean the fridge with vinegar as above before restocking with food.

The fridge light doesn’t come on

Check the bulb and switch

A blown bulb is the most likely cause of a dark fridge. Remove its translucent cover, unscrew the bulb and install a replacement. If this doesn't do the job, focus attention on the door switch.

  • Clean the switch by spraying compressed air, or a specialized electrical contact cleaner, around its edges. Test the light again.
  • The door may have sunk on its hinges so that it no longer makes contact with the light switch. Try realigning the door with the body of the fridge.

The fridge door keeps falling open

Tip it back on its legs

If the door won't stay shut, extend the front legs by two turns so that the fridge tips very slightly backwards, making the door close with the lightest push. Don't overdo it — it should be as close to level as possible.

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