June 15th, 2021

How to reset a refrigerator compressor

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How to reset refrigerator compressor

Read time: 3½ minutes

So your fridge is having internal problems, and you need to reset its compressor? Don't worry, Asurion Experts are experienced with all major home appliances and can walk you through everything you need to know about troubleshooting your fridge. Here's their guide to understanding what a refrigerator compressor does and how to reset it.

What does a refrigerator compressor do?

Your refrigerator compressor makes use of a low-pressure, gaseous refrigerant that helps keep your food cold. If you adjust the thermostat of your fridge for more cold air, your refrigerator compressor kicks in, causing the refrigerant to move through the cooling fans. It also helps the fans to push cool air into your freezer compartments.

How can I tell if my refrigerator compressor is not working?

Most people know what a functional refrigerator sounds like—there is a faint humming sound that intermittently comes and goes. Your refrigerator compressor is responsible for that humming sound. So, if the sound stops for good, or if the sound goes from faint to a constant or very loud humming noise that does not shut off, it may be a sign the compressor is broken or malfunctioning.

If you suspect you need a new compressor, it may be time to contact a refrigerator repair professional for assistance.

But first, let's try a reset, which may resolve the issue.

4 steps to reset a refrigerator compressor

Resetting your refrigerator compressor is a useful option for anyone looking to defrost their machine or adjust its temperature. A reset can also sometimes resolve other internal issues, like malfunctioning timer cycles, so it's one of the first things you should try if your refrigerator seems to be having issues.

Here's how to do it:

1. Unplug your refrigerator

Disconnect your fridge from its power source by removing the power cord from the wall outlet. You may hear some whooshing or knocking noises after you do so; that's normal. Make sure your fridge stays unplugged for several minutes, otherwise the reset won't work.

2. Turn off the refrigerator and freezer from the control panel

After unplugging the refrigerator, turn off the fridge and freezer using the control panel inside the fridge. To do so, set the controls to “zero" or switch them off entirely. Once you're done, you can plug your refrigerator back into the wall socket.

3. Reset your freezer and fridge temperature settings

The next step is to reset your fridge and freezer controls. Those controls vary depending on the make and model of your fridge, but experts recommend keeping your refrigerator around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. For a fridge and freezer with settings 1–10, that's typically around level 4 or 5.

4. Wait for the refrigerator temperature to stabilize

The minimum time you should wait for a refrigerator temperature to stabilize is 24 hours, so don't rush things.

If you're having problems with any of the above steps, schedule a repair with an Asurion Expert—they can help with your appliance repair needs.

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