The average refrigerator has a life expectancy of 13 years, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. This projection places refrigerators on the higher end of home-component durability ratings. However, like all appliances, refrigerators are subject to an occasional breakdown, and there may be several reasons why your Hotspot refrigerator is malfunctioning.
Things You'll Need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Hair dryer
- Condenser coil brush
- Dryer cleaning brush
- Vacuum with long handle attachment
- Damp cloth
- Basting syringe
- Baking soda
- Flexible tubing, ¼-inch or smaller
Determine whether or not the power to the refrigerator has been interrupted. After ensuring the refrigerator’s plug is firmly inserted into the power source, check the refrigerator’s circuit breaker to see if it has tripped -- or inspect the appliance’s fuse to see if it has blown. If these are all intact, proceed with the following repair steps.
Disconnect the refrigerator from its power source or shut off the refrigerator’s circuit breaker or fuse. This is a safety measure to eliminate the possibility of electrocution or fire during your repair efforts.
Locate the refrigerator’s vents, located inside the refrigerator. Remove the vent covers, which may be secured with screws or may snap off. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws -- or a flat-head screwdriver to pop off the covers.
Inspect the refrigerator vents for airflow obstructions. If the vents are obstructed, the refrigerator will fail to cool. An overcrowded refrigerator will obstruct the airflow. If the refrigerator is overcrowded, remove some of the appliance’s contents. Also, examine the vents to see if food or debris has become trapped -- and if so, remove these obstructions. Ice can also form on the vents. You can use a hair dryer to melt the ice, but use the “low” setting only to prevent melting the refrigerator’s interior components. Also, to avoid the risk of electrocution, don’t allow dripping water to fall on the hair dryer.
Locate the condenser coils. The condenser coils are black, slim and resemble a radiator. Depending on the model of your Hotspot refrigerator, the condenser coils may be located in the front of the refrigerator at the very bottom. If so, pull out the grill located underneath the refrigerator door, and the condenser coils will be exposed. The condenser coils may be located on the back side of the refrigerator at the very bottom. In this case, remove the access panel to reach the condenser coils. However, on some models, the condenser coils are located in an eye-level position on the backside of the refrigerator wall. On this model, the condenser coils will be visible, as opposed to being covered by a grill or access panel.
Clean the condenser coils. When the condenser coils get dirty, they can cause the refrigerator to overheat, which will shut off the compressor and prevent your food from getting cold. If your condenser coils are located under the refrigerator, use a refrigerator-condenser cleaning brush, a long dryer cleaning brush or a vacuum with a long-handle attachment to remove dust, lint and hair. If the condenser coils are located eye level on the back, they will be easier to reach, so you can use a damp cloth or rag to clean the coils.
Examine the ice-maker if it's stopped producing ice. On the right side of the ice-maker is a wire that resembles a coat hanger. If the wire is in the up position, it's been turned off. The ice-maker will only work if the wire is in the down position. The appliance’s contents may have shifted and caused the wiring change -- so if this has happened, raise the wire back to the up position to resume ice production. On some models, there may be a red plastic lever instead of a wire mechanism; if so, raise the red lever to solve the no-ice problem.
Identify the drain. The refrigerator has a drain that connects by the drain tube to the drain pan underneath the appliance. If the drain is obstructed, it will cause standing water. The drain may be on the floor of the refrigerator -- usually under one of the vegetable-crisper bins, or it may be located in the wall behind a small round covering. Remove the bins or covering to access the drain.
Remove the buildup in the drain using a basting syringe. Fill the syringe with water and either bleach or baking soda, and insert the syringe into the drain. If this doesn’t work, take small flexible tubing – 1/4-inch or less – and push it through the drain to force the clog into the drain pan.
Identify the drain pan. It's behind the grill on the bottom front of the refrigerator. Pull the grill to release it. Then pull the drain pan upward and toward you. Empty the drain pan’s contents and clean it with warm soapy water.
Tips & Warnings
- When pushing the refrigerator back to the wall, leave enough space between the appliance and the wall for air circulation.
- Do not use the hair dryer on a setting higher than “low,” as the heat can melt the refrigerator’s interior components.
- Do not allow dripping water to fall on the hair dryer because this can cause electrocution.
- National Association of Home Builders: Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components
- ACME How To: How to Check the Airflow Restrictions
- Appliance Outlet Service: Condenser Coils -– Where Are They Located?
- Repair Clinic: Refrigerator Troubleshooting: The Icemaker Has Completely Stopped Producing Ice
- ACME How To: How to Clear the Drain Tube
- ACME How To: How to Clean or Adjust the Drain Pan
- Photo Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images