REPAIR > REFRIGERATOR > WILL NOT START

How To Fix A Refrigerator That Will Not Start

Arguably the hardest working appliance in the home, a refrigerator is something you can’t live without. If your fridge won't start, don’t give up – we can help. We’ve compiled a list of the most common parts that cause a fridge to not start. You can use this information to troubleshoot your own refrigerator and then enter your model number into the search box to find the right part that will fit your fridge. Searching with your model will also give you access to even more information about this symptom and instructions on how to install your repair part.

Overload Or Relay-Start Capacitor

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    • - Customers rate this repair as Easy
    • - Takes 15 - 30 minutes
    • - We have 16 installation instructions
    • - We have 1 step-by-step video

    The overload relay is a protection device used in the compressor circuit on your refrigerator. Power is applied to the compressor motor windings through the overload device, and the relay is used to add the start winding in the circuit until the compressor is at running speed. If the fans are running and your compressor won’t start or if you hear a clicking sound from the unit, check the overload relay for signs of overheating or arcing.

    On modern refrigerators the overload relay is usually a combined part and plugs directly onto the side of the compressor. The overload and relay can be checked for continuity with a multi-meter. There may also be a start capacitor attached to the relay overload assembly. The start capacitor provides increased starting voltage to the compressor windings. If the start capacitor is defective then the compressor may not start. Check for signs of overheating or arcing and replace if necessary. If the overload, start relay and capacitor check ok, then you may have a defective compressor which should be checked by a qualified technician. These are live electrical circuits and power should be removed before servicing.

    Cold Control & Temperature Control

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      • - Customers rate this repair as Easy
      • - Takes 30 - 60 minutes
      • - We have 216 installation instructions
      • - We have 6 step-by-step videos

      The cold control is a temperature controlled switch that supplies power to the compressor and fan circuits in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator won’t start and no fans are running, then you may have a defective control. The temperature adjustment knob is attached to the control and is normally located in the fresh food section control panel. You can check the control for continuity with a multi-meter. You will need to remove power from the appliance first, remove the control from the housing and disconnect the terminal leads. As you adjust the control to a colder setting the switch should close and you should have continuity between the terminals. If not, then the control is defective and will need to be replaced.

      Electronic Control Board

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        • - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        • - Takes 15 - 30 minutes
        • - We have 133 installation instructions
        • - We have 1 step-by-step video

        Some newer refrigerators are controlled by an Electronic Control Board that monitors temperatures and controls the compressor, fans and defrost system. If your refrigerator will not start, the control board could be at fault. Electronic controls are complex and expensive. You should first verify that there is no power being supplied to the compressor, that you have incoming power to the control board and that the external controls are functioning properly before condemning the electronic control. Look on the control board for signs of arcing, burnt connections or damaged foil. Remove power from the appliance before inspecting the control board.

        More Repair Parts

          We've identified the most common parts that can cause a refrigerator to not start, but there are other parts that could be at fault. If you are unable to fix your fridge with the information above, enter your model number into the search box for additional repair help. Searching with your model number will give you access to all parts and schematics, symptoms for your specific refrigerator as well as all installation instructions and videos.