Refrigeration Repair 101- Replacing Coolant

a hand opening a white fridge
  • 5 hours
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What You'll Need
Refrigerant fridge coolant
Gas gauge
What You'll Need
Refrigerant fridge coolant
Gas gauge

Refrigeration repair is bound to happen sooner or later. An average fridge motor works very hard in its lifetime and at some point is bound to have a few problems.

Some of these problems are fixable while others need more than just a little know-how to fix correctly.

The motor could have gone out or one of the coils might have sprung a leak.

Troubleshooting the fridge before you go buy a bunch of parts might be the best solution.

Step 1 - Understand Basic Operation

man repairing a refrigerator

Freezers and fridges consist of two main components: an evaporator coil and a condenser coil.

A liquid coolant is forced through these coils with a motor and a compressor. The coolant is then cooled in the condenser and passes to the evaporator.

Once the coolant has reached the evaporator, it cools the air that comes in contact with the coolant filled coil.

An evaporator coil is inside the housing of the refrigerator while the condenser is located on the back of the unit.

If one of the coils gets perforated, it's almost impossible to repair correctly. You will need to replace the coil and then replace the coolant.

Do not attempt to replace the coolant if it is possible more leaks are present.

Step 2 - Locate

Get information from the manufacturer or the owner's manual on how much coolant the fridge can hold.

Since you changed the coil it is likely you will need to charge the fridge to the max coolant capacity.

Step 3 - Open up the Valve

man repairing a refrigerator

Use the pliers to open the coolant access valve. This is a one-way valve that will not let the coolant pass back through it.

Step 4 - Fill it

Attach the gas gauge and then the coolant. You will want to measure the amount of gas you put into the fridge to guarantee you do not under or overfill the unit.

Step 5 - Reassemble

hand opening a refrigerator

Take off the gauge and coolant. Replace the access cover and tighten with the pliers.

Plug the fridge back in and set the dials to factory settings. Allow a couple of hours for the fridge to cool.

If you have no more leaks than replacing the coolant should fix your cooling problem.

If replacing the coil and coolant did not fix your cooling issue then use the owners’ manual to troubleshoot the issue.

Just ensure you do not continue to spend more on repairs than the cost to replace the fridge.