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What to Do if the Refrigerator Compressor is Hot?

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If the compressor in your refrigerator feels too hot to the touch it’s something you should take seriously. Any major appliance can become a fire hazard if not properly maintained. So just why is your compressor heating up? Surprisingly, the fault may not be with your compressor at all. There are a number of potential causes that may be forcing it to run hot. We’ll explore each of them as well as looking at what you can do when the compressor is the actual reason for the problems.

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Should Your Refrigerator Compressor Be Hot?

Troubleshooting Condenser Coils

Most of us go through life without ever worrying about how our refrigerator works. After all, as long as it’s keeping our food cold it’s not important how it does it — it just does. There’s nothing wrong with living our lives without understanding how every piece of modern technology works. There’s so much of it in our homes, it’s impossible to understand how it all functions.

So what do you do when your refrigerator compressor is hot to the touch and you’re not sure why? Replacing a compressor requires quite a bit of technical knowledge so you’ll want to make sure it really is the compressor before going down that route.

There are some outside factors that can cause a fridge compressor to get hot. It could actually be your condenser coils that are heating things up. If your fridge or freezer is stored in a dusty or dirty area it can interfere with the proper operation of your appliance over time. That dust and dirt can cover the condenser coil and that can prevent air from circulating and that will cause your compressor to run hot. You should be able to clear away the dust with a vacuum, but you’ll want to do it carefully to avoid permanent damage.

Troubleshooting a Condenser Fan Motor

There are some sure-fire signals that indicate your condenser fan motor is actually the reason the compressor on your fridge is hot. The fan will make a recognizable noise when it’s operating normally. If you don’t hear any sound at all, there’s a good chance there’s an issue with your fan. Before going any further, unplug your fridge. It’s now safe to move your refrigerator away from the wall and take a look at the fan.

If there’s excessive dust build-up, start by wiping it away with a cloth or you can use a vacuum. Next, try to spin the fan blades with your hands. If it moves easily you should be okay to plug the fridge back in and give it a try. If your fridge begins to work and your compressor isn’t overly hot, it was likely just the excessive dust causing the problem.

Auto Defrost System Not Working Properly

Having a fridge or freezer with an auto-defrost feature is a nice thing to have. When it’s working as it should you won’t have to worry about periodic defrosting sessions that require you to empty out your appliance first. When it stops working properly though, it can cause a host of problems — one of them is causing your refrigerator compressor to run hot and preventing the cooling process from operating. This isn’t an easy fix and we recommend seeking professional help.

How Hot Should A Fridge Compressor Get?

How Hot Should Your Compressor Be?

A fridge compressor works by raising the pressure of the coolant forcing it into a gaseous state and pushing it through the coils located on the external rear of the appliance. When this hot vapor is exposed to the cooler kitchen air it begins to cool down. As it continues its journey past the exposed coil and into the fridge it cools down and in turn, cools down the interior of the fridge. As the process of the compressor heating up is a normal step in the process of cooling down a fridge you should expect it to get warm, but not scalding hot.

Is it dangerous When Your Fridge Compressor is Running too Hot?

If your compressor is running hot to the touch it’s a problem you should take seriously. For example, if you notice scorch marks on the walls behind the appliance you should disconnect its power source immediately. This poses a fire hazard and a danger to your family. It may be time for a new fridge, but the expert service technicians at FIX Appliances CA can help you make that decision after a quick examination.

What Should You Do When A Refrigerator Compressor is Very Hot?

Unplug and Defrost Your Fridge As a First Step

If your refrigerator compressor seems to be running a little hot, but there are no visible burn signs it may be possible to correct the problem on your own. Start by unplugging your appliance and leaving it to defrost for a few hours. Be sure to find a new temporary home for any food you have stored there so it doesn’t go off. If you don’t have a second fridge in your home, a cooler full of ice is another option.

Once you’ve allowed your fridge to completely defrost, be sure to clean the coils at the rear of the machine and any other dirt and debris around the compressor. Then try plugging your fridge back in and allow it an hour or so to cool down. If at this point it appears to be working normally and the compressor is no longer extremely hot, you should be okay to move your food back inside.

Call Our Service Technician for Expert Diagnosis

If the defrosting process didn’t work for you it’s probably time to call in professional help. You can contact us 8am to 9pm for quick and expert service when you need it either by calling at 1-888-242-0777 or reaching out through a quote page. With more than 15 years of experience, our technicians are able to diagnose and repair your appliance within 24 hours of your initial request.

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