Posted on: 18 April 2016Share
If your refrigerator and freezer are currently off due to a problem with one of the parts, you know getting the part fixed or replaced quickly is crucial. Figuring out which foods are safe to keep after the fridge and freezer have been off can be a dicey task. The best solution is to catch power and temperature issues when they first start, but that can be tough. For example, you really have no way to tell without help if that seemingly warmish fridge is due to a real problem or due to your imagining it might be warm. However, these three signs can help you spot problems before they make the appliance go kaput.
Major Change in On/Off Cycle
The cycling on and off of the refrigerator's motor can change according to how much food is in the compartments and how hot the kitchen is. For example, a fairly empty fridge and freezer on a very hot day in a place with no air conditioning is going to cycle more rapidly as the motor struggles to keep the interior of the appliance cool. But if you notice that the motor is cycling on and off much more frequently for no discernable reason, or the motor just stays on or off for much longer than normal periods, there could be a budding problem.
One thing to try first is stuffing plastic zipper bags that have been filled with water into the freezer to fill up the space. When the bags of water freeze, those can help even out temperature fluctuations that may have been making the motor misbehave. But if those bags don't help, then it's time to get the appliance checked.
Changes in Alarm Records
You can buy refrigerator and freezer alarms that have a sensor placed inside the compartments and a readout placed outside the appliance. The sensors send data to the readout wirelessly. Some of these alarms keep records of the high and low temperatures over a specific period of time, and the alarms go off if the temperature inside one of the compartments moves outside a specific range. If you notice more fluctuations in temperature records, or the alarms keep going off, something is wrong with the appliance.
Shape Shifters in the Freezer
One of the tougher aspects of monitoring a potentially failing appliance is that you're not home all the time to constantly watch it. But you can set up little projects in the freezer to see if the temperature there, at least, remained consistent while you were away at work or somewhere else.
The basic setup involves something frozen placed in such a way that if the temperature were to get too warm, the frozen item would melt. It would melt in a way that would not allow it to refreeze in its original shape. One tactic is to place an ice cube in a closed, clear container. If the temperature gets too warm, the ice will melt. Even partial melting can show that the temperature was off for a long time.
Another tactic, suggested by The Kitchn, is to eat one vertical half of an ice cream carton. Place the carton back in the freezer and check inside after you've come home from a trip. If the ice cream has melted and looks even again, "that means that you lost power long enough for the ice cream to thaw completely - along with the rest of your freezer contents. Best to throw those foods out and re-stock," notes The Kitchn.
Contact refrigerator repair companies to take care of the problem you currently have, whether it be compressor replacement or setting up your refrigerator and freezer with an alarm. Early warning if something starts to malfunction again is best.