Without cold storage, the chores of managing your kitchen would be significantly more tiresome and a lot of the food we store easily today would be wasted if it cannot be consumed immediately.
It is not overstating it to say that the ability to store food and for considerable amounts of time must have been one of the innovations that revolutionized the food sector and on a greater scale, food security.
The most important component of your fridge is certainly the compressor and should this unit stop working your fridge will either underperform or shut down entirely.
The compressor is a robust piece of engineering and in most cases will outlast your fridge and remain in stellar working condition even as you replace it with a newer sleeker better model.
It is, however, not immune to technical hitches as well as normal wear and tear. When the compressor begins to break down, it is only a matter of time before you begin to experience problems with your fridge and soon after, your fridge will shut down altogether.
Without electrical and engineering proficiency, it is impossible for you to diagnose the exact problem much less fix it but below are some signs that your compressor is failing.
Signs That Your Refrigerator Compressor is Faulty
Your Fridge Shuts Down
Despite being connected to power, your fridge is no longer cooling anything you put in there. If the compressor ceases to function or is badly damaged, the fridge will no longer function and will stop cooling. This does not occur all at once and it is more likely that there were other signs that you did notice.
A refrigerator is a fairly complex machine and you should not give in to the temptation to inspect it yourself. Apart from the fact that you don’t know what to look for and that you may make matters worse, it is dangerous to attempt to tinker with the inner workings of the fridge.
The refrigerant in the coils could spill and inhaling it will cause respiratory problems. The likely solution here would be to replace the compressor or the fridge but this should only be decided after a professional has had a look at the fridge.
Your Power Bill Escalates
A malfunctioning compressor cannot properly regulate the temperature of the fridge and since it is working below optimal capacity, it will require more power to keep going. A consistent increase in your power bill should alert you that something is amiss with your fridge.
If ignored, a failing compressor could generate painfully high power bills, and eventually, your fridge will shut down completely. One way to determine if it is indeed the fridge that is problematic is to power down or switch off every electrical appliance except the fridge for about four hours and observe your meter readings.
Reconnect all the appliances you have and after four hours note down the readings. If they do not tally logically, take the readings to a professional and let them decide what the best course of action would be.
A well-functioning fridge should make a low, even humming noise when working and no noise at all when the compressor shuts down after reaching the desired temperature inside the fridge. If the quality of the humming noise changes then it could be indicative of a problem with your compressor.
If you notice that the hum has become louder and that the interval where the fridge is quiet has become shorter, this could indicate that the compressor is overworking and that optimal cooling temperatures are taking longer to be achieved and taking a shorter time to dissipate.
A clunking noise is another red flag. When the fridge shuts down it should do so without making any specific noise so the sound of something knocking or clunking means that there is a problem. Any unusual sounds, coupled with the fact that they are new, indicate compressor malfunction and it is time to call a repair expert.
Frequent Powering Up and Powering Down
Once the fridge reaches optimal cool temperatures it shuts down and only powers back up once the temperature inside the fridge starts to go back up. Depending on the brand, anywhere between four and eight hours should be sufficient time before it powers back up.
When the compressor starts to fail this time begins to get shorter and what you notice is that it is humming for longer than usual and going silent for shorter periods of time. As the compressor deteriorates, the frequency of this cycle increases drastically and this is a sure sign that it is malfunctioning.
Too much Frost
Some fridges do not come with the anti-frost feature which means the presence of frost is normal and does not indicate that there is a problem. What should concern you is a marked increase in the quantity of frost in the fridge.
If your fridge has an anti-frost feature and has suddenly begun to produce frost, you have a possible fault in the compressor. Call a professional to look into the problem before it escalates.
The Refrigerator is Hot to the Touch
When your refrigerator is functioning normally, it should feel warm to the touch. The temperature of the outer body should be between 45 – 60 degrees Celsius which is a mild temperature at best.
If touching the body of the refrigerator feels too much to bear or hot which could be at over 70 degrees Celsius, you can be certain there is a problem and the compressor, whose job it is to regulate the temperature of the refrigerator, is not working properly.
If you encounter this particular issue, it is likely the compressor is not functioning at all and the fridge will shut down presently. This could require that you replace the compressor unit as a whole or in certain cases where that may be too expensive, it would make better fiscal sense to buy a new fridge altogether.
Refrigerators are characteristically sturdy units and the technology they use is very reliable so any unusual behavior should not be ignored.