You rely on your refrigerator to keep your home stocked with healthy foods. If it breaks, you will be left scrambling trying to keep your food at temperature. Even if you don’t cook often, your fridge is filled with daily essentials. Below are 7 signs your refrigerator is dying and that you need to call a technician ASAP.
#1 It’s Making Audible Noises
Refrigerators are designed to run silently. If it starts making an audible noise some or all of the time, it’s a sign that something is wrong. First, try repositioning it. Sometimes the noise is as simple as a minor shift in your flooring. If the sound persists, it’s time to call a technician. There are a few things that could be wrong, including a faulty motor or temperature control board. Your fridge could also be on its last legs.
#2 Food is Spoiling Too Quickly
Never forget that one of the many roles our nose and tastebuds play is keeping us healthy. If food in your fridge smells funny or tastes funny, throw it out. Leftovers should last for 3 or 4 days and dairy and other perishable products come with an expiration date. If food is spoiling before its expiration date, check your refrigerator temperature. First check the internal knob, as sometimes it accidentally gets turned down. Also, place an external thermometer inside to check your temperature. It should be between 35 and 40 degrees. Anything higher and your food is not safe to eat.
The fix could be as simple as replacing the gasket. It could also be something more concerning, such as a refrigerant leak, so call for same-day repair.
#3 Food is Too Cold
It may not initially sound like a problem, but a fridge that is too cold is one of many signs that your refrigerator is dying. If you pull food out of your fridge and it is frozen, frosty, or extremely cold to the touch, you are at least in need of repair. Or if your refrigerator door or gasket has condensation, it is too cold. Again, check your internal knob and place an external thermometer inside. If it’s below 35 degrees, and the knob wasn’t accidentally set too low—something is awry.
Test that your gasket is sound by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it slips out, the gasket isn’t sound. Your fridge could also be dying.
#4 The Outside Feels Hot
If it feels hotter in your kitchen or when standing in front of your fridge slide it out from the wall. Your motor and coils are located in the back of your fridge. While the coils and back of your fridge should be hotter than the front, they should be warm, not hot. Don’t touch the coils, just place your hand an inch or so in front of them. If your freezer is at the top of your fridge, the top may feel a bit warmer too. If you feel heat instead of warmth, it is a sign that your motor needs to be replaced.
#5 Frozen Foods Are Too Frozen
Shifting temperatures are common signs your refrigerator is dying or in need of repair. This might include meat that takes longer to defrost than usual or frozen veggies that are icy solid blocks. Also, excessive ice buildup inside. Older freezers need to be defrosted about once per year. If you see ice build-up sooner, call a technician.
The ideal freezer temperature is zero. Just like if your fridge isn’t at temp, check your freezer’s internal knob and place a freezer-safe external thermometer inside. The temperature should be at zero. If it reads below zero, your gasket may be cracked or damaged or your defrost sensor may be broken.
#6 You See a Visible Internal Crack
Another reason your fridge or freezer may not be at temperature is if the internal shell is cracked. Take a quick look at the inside walls of your fridge and freezer. Even the smallest of cracks can make it impossible to maintain temperature. Unfortunately, cracks are challenging to repair. So, even if your fridge is new, you may need to invest in a replacement shell or an entirely new fridge.
Minimize the risk of cracks by using standard food containers, and nothing with sharp edges. Never force the fridge door closed. If it’s full, take the time to rearrange things.
#7 Your Fridge is 10+ Years Old
Most refrigerators last between 10 and 15 years, some up to 20 years. So, if you can’t identify specific signs your refrigerator is dying, it could simply be old age. Feel free to call a technician for an inspection. They will talk you through your options, or let you know if it’s simply time for an upgrade.
Keeping Your Food at Temperature
If your fridge or freezer is too hot, you can minimize food waste with the tips below. Bacteria begin to grow in as few as 20 minutes of being outside of the proper temperature. The USDA advises throwing out food that is above temperature for 2 hours or more.
- If you have an extra fridge or freezer in the house, transfer your food.
- Place a bag of ice in your fridge, then keep the door shut until your technician arrives. Use the ice from your freezer, take a quick trip to the store, or have ice delivered.
- Transfer food to an insulated cooler with ice and place a thermometer inside. Depending on your cooler, food will stay cold for between 18 and 72 hours.
- Ask a neighbor if you can keep some of your perishable items in their fridge or freezer.
Looking For a Refrigerator Technician in Santa Barbara?
If you live in or around Santa Barbara County, Superior Appliance Repair has you covered. Call as soon as you notice any of the signs your refrigerator is dying or in need of repair. We are available for same-day and emergency repairs. Our service vehicles and local shop are stocked with the parts required to fix most repairs without delay. We service and repair both residential and commercial appliances. Text, call, or email today!