Understanding the Common Problems of a Compressor on Refrigerator

Understanding the Common Problems of a Compressor on Refrigerator | New Haven’s Best Appliance Repair

What is a Refrigerator Compressor?

May 02, 2022 8 Read

One of the essential appliances in your home is your refrigerator. It keeps your food and drinks cold and prevents them from spoiling. But like all appliances, refrigerators can experience problems from time to time. In this article, we’ll look at the most common compressor issues on a fridge and how to fix them.

The refrigerator compressor is an integral part of your fridge. It ensures that the coolant within your refrigerator circulates and keeps your food and drinks cold. The refrigerator compressor works by compressing the coolant, which goes through a ser. These coils help reduce the coolant’s temperature and push it back into your refrigerator, keeping your food and drinks cold.

What Happens When You Have a Bad Refrigerator Compressor?

If your refrigerator compressor is not working correctly, it will produce various problems for your fridge. The most common issue you’ll experience is your food and drinks not staying cold. In some cases, your refrigerator may even stop working entirely. A bad refrigerator compressor will lead to food spoilage and even cause expensive damage to your fridge.

What is a Compressor Relay?

In addition to the compressor itself, it’s also essential to understand how your refrigerator is powered. Many refrigerators are connected directly to a wall outlet and run continuously. However, some newer models have a compressor relay. A compressor relay helps prevent your fridge from running at full power all of the time, which can help increase its lifespan. Without a compressor relay, you may have an overheating compressor, leading to severe damage and the need to buy a new compressor.

What Are Examples of Bad Fridge Compressor Symptoms?

You can determine if you have a bad refrigerator compressor by looking at these symptoms.

Bad Compressor Noise

If you hear a loud buzzing or clicking sound from your fridge, this may indicate that your compressor is failing. Most modern refrigerators have a silent compressor, so if you can hear compressor noise, it is a sign that your refrigerator compressor is bad.

Fridge Not Cooling

If your refrigerator suddenly stops cooling, this can be caused by one of several issues, including your fridge compressor running poorly.

Compressor Fan Issues

If your fridge compressor has a fan, it can also experience issues. If the fan is not circulating enough coolant or if it overheats, this will negatively affect your refrigerator’s cooling capabilities.

Control Board Issues

Some control boards on refrigerators can also cause a compressor to fail significantly if they have been damaged by water. A damage control board will prevent your refrigerator running effectively.

Refrigerant Vapor Smell

If you notice a burning or chemical-like smell coming from your fridge, this may be due to a leaking coolant. If not addressed immediately, your fridge will have trouble producing cold air to keep your food items cool.

Hot Gas Line

Your fridge’s gas line can also become hot if there is an issue with your fridge compressor. A hot gas line will prevent your refrigerator from cooling effectively.


If your fridge compressor overheats, this can cause it to fail. Overheating can be caused by several issues, such as dirty condenser coils or a faulty compressor relay.

Dirty Condenser Coils

If the coils on your fridge condenser are dirty, it can cause your compressor to overheat and fail. These coils should be cleaned regularly to prevent this issue.

Unit Cycles On and Off Repeatedly

This is another common problem with refrigerators whose compressors are not functioning correctly. If your compressor shuts down and then turns back on again, you may have a problem with the compressor start relay or the starter relay switch.

If you experience any of these fridge compressor failure symptoms, it’s essential to contact a refrigerator repair technician for help with your compressor. They’ll be able to diagnose and fix the issue quickly so that you can get back to storing and preserving your food fast!

While problems with your refrigerator compressor can be frustrating, they’re generally easy to fix once you know what to look for.

What Causes Refrigerator Compressors to Go Bad?

A variety of reasons can cause a bad refrigerator compressor. The most common reason is wear and tear. Over time, the refrigerator compressor can weaken and break down. In other cases, a bad refrigerator’s compressor may be caused by a power surge or lightning strike. If you live in an area with severe weather conditions and frequent power termination, this is something to be aware of. One way to protect your refrigerator compressor from an unexpected power surge is by installing an overload protection device connected to the circuit breaker designated for your fridge.

Another potential cause of a non-working refrigerator’s compressor is inadequate ventilation. If your fridge isn’t getting enough airflow and there is excessive heat surrounding it, it can lead to the compressor’s motor overheating and burnout.

If you notice any of these bad refrigerator compressor symptoms, it’s essential to call a qualified refrigerator technician right away. They’ll be able to quickly diagnose and fix the issue so that your fridge can get back to the proper cooling of your food. Your refrigerator compressor should last for many years without appropriate care and maintenance problems. By understanding the common issues associated with a bad refrigerator compressor, you can keep yours running smoothly for years to come!

Is it Worth Replacing Your Fridge Compressor?

If you are experiencing issues with your refrigerator compressors, such as excessive noise, humming sound, poor cooling, or unit cycling on and off repeatedly, it may be time to replace a refrigerator compressor with a new one. While these symptoms can often be caused by other issues that are easier to fix, in some cases, the fridge compressor is just not functioning correctly anymore and needs to be replaced.

If your refrigerator compressor is bad, it might be good to replace it with a new one and hold off on buying a completely new refrigerator. Most compressor problems will go away if you replace a bad fridge compressor with a new one. The average cost of replacing an old compressor is around $300, depending on the make and model of your refrigerator. Replacing a compressor is cheaper than buying a new refrigerator which costs an average of $1,200.

If you are experiencing chronic issues with the fridge compressor, it may be worth speaking to a qualified technician about replacing your current compressor with a new one. They’ll be able to inspect your old fridge compressor and let you know whether or not it’s possible to replace or if you should go ahead and purchase a new high-end refrigerator altogether.

Whether you decide to repair or replace your refrigerator compressors, you must contact a qualified technician if you notice these bad compressor symptoms. They’ll be able to quickly diagnose the issue, assess if your refrigerator compressor is bad, and work with you to find the best solution for getting back to properly cooling food in no time!

How to Prevent Compressor Problems

To prevent common compressor problems, there are several things that you can do. The first is to ensure that your refrigerator is placed in a relaxed and well-ventilated area, away from heat sources such as the oven or dishwasher. This will help reduce the risk of overheating and burning out your compressor.

Additionally, it’s essential to regularly clean your fridge coils and check for any other issues with the refrigerator unit itself that could lead to a bad compressor. A dirty refrigerator looks disgusting, but it can lead to several problems, such as blocking the cooling coils and condenser coils.

You should also be aware of any power disruptions in your home, especially if you live in an area with severe weather conditions or frequent lightning strikes. Installing overload protection devices on the circuit breaker designated for your fridge can help protect against sudden power surges and keep your compressor working correctly. It is best to ensure that your refrigerator’s power supply is plugged tightly into your wall socket. A loose connection may eventually lead to your refrigerator losing power regularly, leading to the compressor’s motor becoming damaged or having premature wear and tear.

Regular Servicing of Your Refrigerator

Another way to prevent compressor problems (and other refrigerator issues) is to service your fridge regularly. This involves deep cleaning it, checking the seals and gaskets, and ensuring that all parts are functioning correctly. It would be best to attempt this every few months to avoid potential issues.

A qualified refrigerator servicing technician will know how to effectively service your fridge if your compressor is bad and clean all essential parts without damaging anything. They will also spot any potential problems that could lead to a bad compressor, such as loose wiring, bad relay, overheated wire, funny noises, clunking noise, failed bearing, or damaged coils. Refrigerator technicians will also determine if your fridge has enough refrigerant to keep your food cold and fresh.

If your refrigerator compressor is wrong or your compressor fan is not working, it is essential to take action as soon as possible. By addressing any compressor issue early, you can avoid further damage to your entire refrigerator and keep your food from going bad. Speak to a qualified refrigerator technician today to find out if you need to replace the compressor or other potential repairs that could be necessary for your fridge.