The things that you use the most are usually the ones that you often neglect. When they break down, that's the only time you realize their worth. Take your refrigerator for example. It stores your basic necessities for cooking and your usual leftover meals. It's on 24/7; save for the defrosting breaks you give it.
Since it is constantly in use, it will break down at some point in time. The most common signs of a fridge breaking down are: your fridge is not working at all, your fridge is working but it does not cool, your fridge has a water leak, your ice maker is broken or your fridge makes more than the usual noise. No matter what it is, calling in for repairs will cost you, big time.
So before you go asking for professional help, have your refrigerator's manual with you and check into these few things first.
- Check where your refrigerator is plugged. Sometimes you may overlook the fact that it might be the outlet with the problem. If the outlet doesn't work, then find another outlet to use for a while until you can get that outlet problem fixed. If other appliances work on that outlet, then refer to your manual to see the basic parts of your fridge. Unplug your fridge and follow the wire connectors and see if there is anything out of place. If you need to unscrew anything to check further, then be sure that your fridge is cleaned out.
- Check your condenser coil. In some models this can be found on the back side of your fridge, those black coils that emit enough heat which you can dry your shoes on. Although in some models these are found inside the refrigerator and demand cleaning at least twice a year to keep your fridge in optimal performance, and make its life last longer. Make sure that your refrigerator is unplugged before you start poking around. All you need is a vacuum cleaner with a thin enough nozzle that can fit right in the gap and get all that accumulated dust. If this is not an option for you, there's the alternative of using a bottle brush that can scrub over the coils. Sometimes you'll find that some problems will work better after cleaning it.
- Check your thermostat. Sometimes the fridge doesn't cool for a while after you've placed a lot of warm food in it or if the thermostat is set too low. Try to crank it up a bit and see if it cools. Although just a piece of friendly advice: putting warm food in the fridge can spoil the food and might cause more damage to your fridge. So to save yourself from digestive and financial grief, think of what you are about to shove into your fridge.
On a last note, whatever trouble you have found in your fridge, never assume that you know better than the manual. Stick by it. When the problem is beyond what you can do, then call in the repairman. At least you understand what's wrong with your fridge and can probably haggle for the repair fee. And while you wait it out, temporarily secure your food with a friendly neighbor.