Your refrigerator should last at least 10 years, and probably much longer if you take good care of it. Homeowners often assume that as long as the fridge is still blowing cold air, everything is fine. However, if you want to keep your fridge running for as long as possible, you should actually keep an eye out for earlier signs of impending failure -- so you can call for repairs before the fridge dies completely. To that end, here are four signs your fridge needs repairs.
Failure to Keep Temperature
Just because your fridge is blowing cold air does not mean it's actually keeping itself cold enough to keep your food safe. Put a thermometer in your refrigerator, and make sure it is maintaining a temperature below 42 degrees F. If the temperature is above this, turn the thermostat down. If the fridge still does not maintain temperature, the fridge probably needs some repairs, such as new refrigerant added to the coils or a new gasket to keep the air locked in.
Ongoing Mold Smells
If your fridge has a moldy scent, remove everything from its interior, and then give it a good wipe-down with bleach and water. A weak bleach solution of just a tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water will do the trick! If the fridge still has a moldy smell after this, it may be because there is mold growing behind one of the walls or in the gaskets. Your appliance repair specialist can investigate.
Your refrigerator may make a low humming noise as it operates, but that's about the only noise it should make. If it is making a growling noise or a strange tapping noise, this might be because the refrigerant is leaking or the coils are dirty. There could also be an issue with the blower motor, which is important to catch early since it can cause complete motor burn-out eventually.
Water on the Floor
Water accumulating on the floor around your fridge is not just an annoyance. It can mean your refrigerant's condensate drain is blocked or that there is a leak in the water supply lines. Refrigerators with ice makers are particularly prone to this issue; the ice makers may crack and leak. Your repair person can often fix the problem simply by replacing the cracked part.
Taking care of minor refrigerator issues as soon as they appear may add years to the serviceable life of your refrigerator. Contact a service, like D-3/A-OK Appliance Service Inc., for more help.