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FREEZER AND REFRIGERATOR TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS

Refrigerator troubleshooting isn’t a precise science, but there’s a lot that the home user can do to attempt to fix refrigerator or freezer problems. Hopefully, these handy freezer and fridge troubleshooting tips can help you out of a pinch without hiring a professional.

Check for Power First
Power can be the answer to many refrigerator or freezer problems. Check that the refrigerator is securely plugged in, and that the fuse or circuit is fully functional. If your fridge or freezer has power but still has issues, make sure you unplug it or turn off the circuit breaker before doing any refrigerator troubleshooting to avoid electrocution.

Check Cords for Wear
Sometimes refrigerator or freezer cords get damaged during normal use. The cord could get pinched under the machine and short out over time, or an extension cord could go bad. Take extension cords out of the circuit, and examine the fridge or freezer cord for signs of damage. If the cord is pinched or cut, you may need to replace it.

Light Works, but Refrigerator Isn’t Running
First, check the adjustable temperature setting knob inside the refrigerator or freezer. These knobs are typically along the top of the fridge near the light assembly, or along the side of the fridge or freezer. If the temperature is at a low setting, turn it up to make the fridge colder.

If the refrigerator compressor doesn’t kick on, check the fridge for airflow. You should leave at least three inches between the refrigerator and walls, and an inch at the top to provide air flow and prevent overheating. Try unplugging the refrigerator for a couple of hours, and then plugging it back in again. If the compressor turns on, it’s overheating. Try cleaning the condenser coils underneath the fridge as well. Dust that builds up makes it harder for the condenser to work, which can cause overheating.

Refrigerator Works, but Light Doesn’t
Sometimes light bulbs inside a fridge or freezer burn out. Light bulbs are one of the easiest refrigerator parts to replace. Simply take the bulb out, find a matching bulb and install it. If the light still doesn’t work, it’s probably a problem with the door switch. Try manipulating the door switch manually; if you can’t get the light to work, the switch or assembly may be defective.

It’s Not Cold Enough
If your appliance isn’t cold enough, check the temperature selector first. If it’s set low, turn the setting up and see if the fridge or freezer gets cooler. Next, check that there’s proper air flow around the appliance, and that vents are clear. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, the condenser coils may need to be cleaned; fuzzy or clogged condenser coils won’t cool the refrigerator’s interior properly. Check the seals to make sure the door is sealing properly and keeping cold air inside. Defrost the freezer to see if that corrects the problem. If none of these steps work, you may need to consult a professional.

 

HOW TO USE A FREEZER

To successfully freeze foods, there are some simple rules you need to follow. The two most important bits of advice are to make sure you wrap the foods very well, and that you keep careful track of what is in your freezer. Freezer burn is dehydration of the food caused by improper packing, and wastes food. And if you don’t label the foods in your freezer and have a frequently updated chart of what’s in there, your freezer will be impenetrable in a very short time – which also wastes food.

The chart below will help with special instructions and the length of time foods can be safely frozen.

 

FOOD STORAGE TIME SPECIAL TIPS
BREADS, MUFFINS Up to 1 month
Cool completely before freezing. Do not frost. To thaw, loosen wrap and let sit at room temp 2-3 hours. To heat, wrap in foil, reheat 350 degrees 15-20 minutes. Heat frozen waffles without thawing first.
SANDWICHES Up to 2 weeks
Don’t make sandwiches with jelly, mayonnaise, cooked egg whites or raw veggies (especially lettuce). Choose peanut butter, cream cheese, meats, shredded cheeses, grilled and cooked veggies. Spread bread with a very thin layer of butter before layering.
FROSTED CAKES Up to 3 months
Buttercream frosting freezes well. Custards and egg white frostings do not. Cool completely. Place unwrapped cake in freezer to harden frosting before wrapping. Thaw loosely covered overnight in fridge.
UNFROSTED CAKES Up to 6 months
Cool completely before freezing. Place cakes, especially angel and chiffon, in cake container to avoid crushing. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature 2-3 hours.
CUSTARD PIES, CREAM PIES, MERINGUES Do not freeze well
Not recommended
UNBAKED FRUIT PIES Up to 3 months
Before filling, brush bottom crust with egg white to prevent sogginess. Add extra tablespoon of flour to filling. Don’t cut vent holes in pastry. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. To bake, unwrap, cut vent holes, bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, bake according to recipe until center bubbles and crust is brown.
BAKED FRUIT PIES, NUT PIES Up to 4 months
Cool completely before freezing. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. Wrap well. To heat, unwrap, bake at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes until warm.
COOKIE DOUGH Up to 3 months
Wrap well. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before baking unless the recipe states the frozen dough can be baked. Shape into cookies before freezing for fastest baking.
BAKED UNFROSTED COOKIES Up to 1 year
Cool completely, wrap well in layers in freezer container and freeze. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. For crisp cookies, thaw unwrapped at room temperature.
BAKED FROSTED COOKIES Up to 2 months
Freeze uncovered on cookie sheets until cookies and frosting are firm. Then stack in layers in freezer container, wrap well and freee. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature.
BUTTER Up to 9 months
Freeze in original packaging, placed into heavy duty freezer bags. Thaw in refrigerator or in microwave.
MILK, CREAM Difficult to freeze unless whipped
Milk, cream and light cream will separate
Whipped heavy cream will freeze well. Place dollops on cookie sheet, freeze until firm, then place in bags and freeze. Let thaw in refrigerator.
UNCOOKED EGGS, EGG SUBSTITUTES Up to 6 months
If freezing yolks separately, add 1 tsp. sugar or salt per egg yolk, depending on end use. Make sure to mark what you added!
COOKED EGGS, MAYONNAISE Do not freeze well
Not recommended
VEGETABLES Up to 6 months
Blanch before freezing. Remove as much air as possible from package before freezing. Vegetables with lots of water like salad greens and tomatoes do not freeze well. Do not freeze deep fried vegetables.
FRUITS Up to 6 months
Up to 1 year
Freeze loose small fruits in single layer on cookie sheet until firm; then package in airtight freezer bag or container and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator.
SAUCES Up to 3 months
Most sauces will separate after being frozen. If mixed with other ingredients, freezing quality will increase. Sauces with cornstarch and cheese lose quality fastest. Leave some head space for expansion when freezing in plastic containers.
CASSEROLES Up to 3 months
Cornstarch sauces can be frozen when mixed with other ingredients in a casserole. Slightly undercook casseroles, as they will finish cooking during reheating.
SOUPS Up to 6 months
Cool completely, skim off fat. Place in rigid plastic containers, leaving 1/2″ head space for expansion.
MEATS Fresh: 1 year
Cured: 1 month
Do NOT refreeze thawed meats. If you thaw frozen meat, cook it in some form, then it can be refrozen. Cured meats should be frozen for just one month. Do NOT freeze stuffed chicken or turkey. Make sure to reform ground beef into thin patties before freezing for quick thawing.
FISH Up to 3 months
Wrap tightly in heavy duty freezer wrap or plastic bags. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before cooking.
COOKED PASTAS Up to 2 months
Cooked pastas lose quality when frozen. Undercook and freeze in a sauce for best results. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating.

 

Tips:

  • Your freezer temperature should be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Use microwave safe plastic wrap if you plan to thaw or cook the frozen food in the microwave.
  • Freeze in smaller portions so the food cools faster and thaws faster for best quality.
  • Freeze in thin portions.
  • You can freeze ingredients for a casserole in individual packets (chicken, vegetables, cheese), then place the smaller packets into one large bag. Label well, including thawing and baking instructions, then freeze.
  • Line casserole dishes with heavy duty foil before assembling. Fill casserole, freeze, then remove foil wrapped food and seal in ziplock heavy duty freezer bag. Place in original container to thaw and bake.
  • Remember that freezing will not improve foods, it will just keep them at their original freshness and quality. Freeze only top quality foods.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your Freezer!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

REPAIRING A REFRIGERATOR

A refrigerator is one of the few appliances in your home that runs continuously, day or night, keeping your food cold. If you consider how hard a refrigerator has to work, it is actually quite amazing that they break down so infrequently. On the rare occasion your refrigerator does stop working, you may face a high repair bill and the expense of replacing all your lost food. Have no fear! This article is here to tell you everything you need to know about repairing your refrigerator and freezer yourself. You might be surprised to learn that repairs are actually quite easy, requiring only a little knowledge about the appliance and a little patience. Let’s get started with some basic information.

Refrigerators and freezers consist of two basic components: a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. A liquid coolant is circulated through these coils by a compressor and a motor. The refrigerant liquid is cooled in the condenser; it then flows to the evaporator. At the evaporator, the air in the unit is cooled by contact with the liquid-filled coil. The condenser of a refrigerator or freezer is the coil on the outside of the unit; the evaporator is the coil on the inside. The coolant is circulated through the system by a compressor.

Most refrigerators and freezers are frost-free. In this type of unit, a heater is automatically turned on by a timer in order to melt the frost inside the unit. Frost is melted by the heater at several different spots in the unit, starting with the coldest and most frosted areas. When the frost is completely melted, the thermostat automatically switches to a cooling cycle in order to maintain the standard freezing temperature. Because this process is automatic, frost does not build up inside the box.

The unit’s compressor system, which forces the coolant through the coil system, is driven by a capacitor-type motor. Other basic parts of the cooling/defrosting system include switches, thermostats, heaters, condensers, and

fans. A do-it-yourselfer can test and replace many of these refrigerator components. However, there are exceptions, as explained later, that are best left to a professional repair person.

Caution: Before doing any work on a refrigerator or freezer, make sure it’s unplugged. After unplugging the unit, check to see if the motor/compressor has a capacitor; this component is located in a housing on the top of the motor. Capacitors store electricity, even when the power to the unit is turned off. Before you do any work on a capacitor-type refrigerator or freezer, you must discharge the capacitor, or you could receive a severe shock.

 

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your refrigerator!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica