Sometimes, older refrigerators make small noises when their fans can't cool off the appliances properly. But when your new refrigerator shakes, rattles and rolls erratically after a few weeks of service, check the condenser fan motor for buildup. The fan sits in the back of the refrigerator and near the compressor. Manufacturers design the fan to turn off and on when the condenser motor heats up and needs to cool off the fridge. If the condenser fan's build up with dirt, dust and oily residue, it makes loud noises and stops working properly. Instead of replacing your refrigerator, clean and repair the condenser motor fan with the three tips below.
1. Get Your Supplies Together
Before you begin, gather the cleaning supplies below:
- 1 small cleaning brush with soft bristles and wide hand to help you grip it better.
- 2 hand towels and a small bucket of warm, soapy water without bleach or harsh chemicals that can rust your fridge's parts. You can add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the water as a safe replacement for the chemicals.
- A vacuum with long attachments, such as a brush and hose.
- A slotted screwdriver.
Now, you're ready to move to step two.
2. Remove the Fan's Cover and Wash Off the Fan's Blades
To prevent electrical shocks to your body, unplug your refrigerator and place the power cord on a shelf to keep it away from water. Next, pull the refrigerator from the wall and turn it so that the back faces you.
Use your screwdriver to carefully remove the covering from over the fan. You don't want to bend or dent the metal material, or it won't stay on right later. Now, examine the blades of the fan. If dust and dirt cover the blades, wet one of your hand towels and wipe the blades down. Avoid sliding your fingers and hands down the sides of the blades to prevent cuts and other injuries.
Use your small brush to scrub away any debris that sticks to the blades. However, don't force the bristles of the brush against the blades because you can break or crack them very easily. Use the other towel to dry the blades.
After you clean the fan's blades, you'll need to use your brush to pull out dirt and dust from the inside of the condenser. The condenser connects directly to the fan, so be very careful when you clean it. Also, before you touch the condenser, place the dry hand towel on the part's surface for 2 seconds, then remove it. If the towel feels hot, wait 5 minutes, then proceed with the cleaning.
Once the condenser cools down, insert the head of the brush behind the fan to reach as much debris as you can. Use tiny back and forth motions to accomplish this feat. Now, use the dry towel to wipe down the condenser's housing. After you complete the cleaning, the condenser should appear shiny and free of debris.
3. Vacuum Out the Back Compartment and Test the Refrigerator
Vacuuming out the back compartment that houses the fan is the last step. Turn your vacuum on low, then use the hose or brush attachment to gently loosen up the debris stuck in the compartment.
Never insert the vacuum hose or brush deep inside the compartment, or you risk damaging the refrigerator's internal parts. You simply want to clean the places you can easily see.
When you finish vacuuming, place the cover over the condenser fan and push the refrigerator back in place against the wall. Dry your hands thoroughly and return power to the appliance.
If the appliance doesn't make any noises and operates quietly and efficiently, you completed the repairs. If the appliance immediately shakes, rattles or makes other noises, contact a refrigerator repair contractor right away. You may have problems inside the appliance that only a technician can fix.
For additional services for your refrigerator, schedule an appointment with a technician in your area.