When you work in the appliance repair industry (like us), you get quite a few questions about refrigerators. Understandably so, as refrigerators are an essential part of our kitchens. We thought it would be helpful to post some of the most common FAQs about refrigerators we receive, along with our answers. Here we go…
FAQs About Refrigerators
Q: How does a refrigerator work?
A: The essential function of refrigerators is to use the evaporation of a refrigerant to absorb heat. The refrigerant uses four main working parts in order to do this. It starts as a gas in the compressor where its pressure and temperature are increased and then gets passed along to the condenser. The condenser that cools it down turns it into a liquid. It proceeds to the capillary tube, where it cools it down even further, causing half of it to evaporate. This refrigerant repeatedly evaporating at extremely low temperatures is what creates the cool temperatures inside your refrigerator and/or freezer. The evaporator turns the remaining liquid back into a vapor and sends it back to the compressor to repeat the process.
Q: Is it possible for my refrigerator door to open the opposite way?
A: Usually yes, but it depends on your model. We would highly recommend you consult your owner’s manual before you attempt such a maneuver.
Q: How cold should my refrigerator be?
A: Your refrigerator should typically be running in between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice it running higher or lower than those temperatures, you may have an issue that requires repair.
Q: How do I pull my refrigerator away from the wall in order to clean my condenser coils?
A: If you need to move the refrigerator more than a couple of feet to access the condenser coils, we highly recommend using appliance gliders to avoid damaging your fridge and/or floor. Unless you’re experienced at moving heavy furniture, we highly recommend asking for help when sliding a refrigerator forward. If you attempt to do it alone, you may strain your back.
Q: How long can I expect my refrigerator to last?
A: While this figure can vary widely on a few factors, you should expect your refrigerator to last 14 to 17 years on average. It can certainly last longer or shorter than that, depending on the brand of the refrigerator and how well it has been maintained.
Q: Is it normal for my refrigerator to run constantly?
A: No, this could be a sign of an issue. This means the refrigerator’s compressor is having to work too hard to maintain proper internal temperatures. Check to make sure there’s at least one inch of clearance between the fridge and wall, that the condenser coils are clean, and that the gaskets are in good condition. If those things check out ok and it’s still constantly running, your refrigerator is likely in need of repair.