Most people take their refrigerator for granted, and they expect to open its door and retrieve a nice, cold beer whenever they need one. The fridge is, nevertheless, quite a complicated engineering marvel, and it relies on a set process in order to do its job. If your beer is not as cold as you would like or other food items are going off before their time, then something is definitely amiss, and you will need to get to the bottom of it. It helps to know how the fridge works so that you can start to identify the problem and take steps to rectify it. What do you need to know?
Process in Action
As you may know, the fridge is filled with refrigerant gas that has to go through a complete cycle in order to lower the temperature below ambient levels.
To begin with, a component known as the compressor 'squeezes' the refrigerant. This will raise its temperature and pressure before it is forced through the coils of the condenser, placed on the outside of the cabinet. This gas will be converted into a liquid as it passes through the condenser coils, due to the difference in temperature between the gas and the outside air.
Next, the pressurised liquid is forced through a valve into the evaporator, where it will absorb the heat inside the cabinet and, consequently, cool the air inside the fridge. The refrigerant will then evaporate and turn back into a gas due to the temperature difference before it flows back into the compressor and starts the cycle all over again.
The compressor is one of the most important components and can frequently fail.
To begin with, you should check to see if the fan is working, and you can typically tell this simply by listening when the fridge is in its cooling phase. You should also check to see if the compressor is receiving power by checking its start relay. Sometimes the relay can attract dirt which can prevent it from clicking on and off and, therefore, activating the compressor. You may only need to clean it in order to fix the issue.
If you're still at a loss to explain the issue and cannot identify the problem, then you should call in a refrigeration repair technician instead. They will be able to test the compressor as well as the condenser and evaporator and make adjustments if needed.