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Should Your Refrigerator Compressor Be Hot?

If the compressor in your refrigerator feels too hot to the touch, it’s something you should take seriously. Any major appliance can become a fire hazard if not properly maintained. So why is your compressor heating up? Surprisingly, the fault may not be with your compressor at all. Several potential causes may be forcing it to run hot. We’ll explore each of them and look at what you can do when the compressor is the actual reason for the problems.

Troubleshooting Condenser Coils

Most of us go through life without worrying about how our refrigerator works. After all, as long as it’s keeping our food cold, it’s not important how it does it — it just does. There’s nothing wrong with living without understanding how every modern technology works. There’s so much of it in our homes it’s impossible to understand how it all functions.

So what do you do when your refrigerator compressor is hot to the touch, and you’re not sure why? Replacing a compressor requires quite a bit of technical knowledge, so you’ll want to ensure it is the compressor before going down that route.

Some outside factors can cause a fridge compressor to get hot. It could be your condenser coils that are heating things. If your fridge or freezer is stored in a dusty or dirty area, it can interfere with the proper operation of your appliance over time. That dust and dirt can cover the condenser coil, which can prevent air from circulating, and that will cause your compressor to run hot. You should be able to clear away the dust with a vacuum, but you’ll want to do it carefully to avoid permanent damage.

Troubleshooting a Condenser Fan Motor

Some sure-fire signals indicate your condenser fan motor is why the compressor on your fridge is hot. The fan will make a recognizable noise when it’s operating normally. If you don’t hear any sound, there’s a good chance there’s an issue with your fan. Before going any further, unplug your fridge. Moving your refrigerator away from the wall and looking at the fan is now safe fridge repair.

If there’s excessive dust build-up, start by wiping it away with a cloth or vacuum. Next, try to spin the fan blades with your hands. If it moves easily, you should be okay to plug the fridge back in and try it. If your fridge begins to work and your compressor isn’t overly hot, it was likely just the excessive dust causing the problem.

Auto Defrost System Not Working Properly

Having a fridge or freezer with an auto-defrost feature is a nice thing to have. When it’s working as it should, you won’t have to worry about periodic defrosting sessions requiring you to empty your appliance first. When it stops working properly, it can cause a host of problems — one of them is causing your refrigerator compressor to run hot and preventing the cooling process from operating. This isn’t an easy fix, and we recommend seeking professional help.

How Hot Should A Fridge Compressor Get?

How Hot Should Your Compressor Be?

A fridge compressor works by raising the pressure of the coolant, forcing it into a gaseous state and pushing it through the coils on the appliance’s external rear. When this hot vapour is exposed to the cooler kitchen air, it begins to cool down. As it continues its journey past the exposed coil and into the fridge, it cools down and, in turn, cools down the fridge’s interior. As the compressor heating up is a normal step in cooling down a fridge, you should expect it to get warm but not scalding hot.

Is it dangerous When Your Fridge Compressor is Running too Hot?

If your compressor is running hot to the touch, it’s a problem you should take seriously. For example, if you notice scorch marks on the walls behind the appliance, you should disconnect its power source immediately. This poses a fire hazard and a danger to your family. It may be time for a new fridge, but the expert service technicians at MAAR24 can help you make that decision after a quick examination.

What Should You Do When A Refrigerator Compressor is Very Hot?

Unplug and Defrost Your Fridge As a First Step

If your refrigerator compressor seems to be running a little hot, but there are no visible burn signs, it may be possible to correct the problem on your own. Start by unplugging your appliance and leaving it to defrost for a few hours. Be sure to find a new temporary home for any food stored there, so it doesn’t go off. If you don’t have a second fridge in your home, a cooler full of ice is another option.

Once you’ve allowed your fridge to defrost completely, clean the coils at the rear of the machine and any other dirt and debris around the compressor. Then try plugging your fridge back in and allow it an hour or so to cool down. If it appears to be working normally and the compressor is no longer extremely hot, you should be okay to move your food back inside.