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How To Fix A Fridge Light That Won't Turn On

How To Fix A Fridge Light That Won't Turn On

Have you ever wondered why the refrigerator lights up when you open the door?

Well, for one - to help you find the food easily. Although it seems silly, ask someone whose refrigerator light has gone out; they will tell you about the difficulty in searching through the dark.

You may fumble or spill food, leading to the end of your family dinner. So, rather than investing in takeouts, you can read our guide to fix the refrigerator light.

Rest assured, it is not difficult, and we have narrowed down simple techniques to help you. So, without further ado, let's get started.

How Does The Refrigerator Light Work?

It is not possible to fix the light if you don't know how it works. So, we must tell you why the fridge lights up when you open the door to grab a tasty treat.

Most refrigerators have a standard 120-volt light bulb connected to the internal wiring. If we explain in greater detail, this light bulb is similar to other incandescent sources; the only difference being that it is smaller and has less power.

Now, looking closely, you will find that the door frame has a switch or lever that triggers the light. When you shut the door, the circuit breaks, causing the light to switch off. On the other hand, opening the door completes the circuit and allows electricity to travel through the wire to power the bulb.

Types Of Equipment Needed

There could be many reasons for the refrigerator light to malfunction. In some cases, replacing an old bulb may fix the problem or you may need to repair the door switch at other times.

Whatever the issue, you can breathe easy because we have got you covered. Fixing a refrigerator light is not difficult - all you need is the right equipment.

You can note the tools we have mentioned below; rest assured, you will find them in most stores:

  1. No-contact circuit teaser 
  2. New light bulb (if needed)
  3. New door switch (if needed)
  4. Screwdriver 
  5. Putty knife 

Steps To Fix A Refrigerator Light Bulb

We will highlight the basic steps to fix a refrigerator light, but there are other points to remember. So, we have added another section after this, providing additional tips to tackle the problem.

First things first, note these steps to repair your fridge light quickly.

Fridge Light Not Working

A) Changing The Light Bulb

1. Inspect The Light Bulb

Start by inspecting the light bulb to locate the source of the problem. If it is an old bulb, the obvious conclusion would be to replace it with a new light.

You can usually tell whether the bulb has worn out if it has a dark area or broken filament. Another technique would be to shake the bulb and listen for a rattling noise, confirming that the filament is loose and wobbling around.

2. Buy A Suitable Bulb

Once you're sure that the issue is with the bulb, the next step is easy. Go to the store and buy a similar bulb worth 25-40 watts; remove the old bulb from the socket, and securely attach the new light.

Next, open the door a couple of times to check if the light comes on to ensure that everything is working smoothly.

B) Changing The Socket

1. Check The Socket

At times, despite changing the bulb, the light may refuse to work. Therefore, you need to look elsewhere and checking the socket is a good starting point.

You must know that it is normal for the socket to break or accumulate dust over several years, which affects the internal circuit. In such cases, maintenance is the need of the hour.

2. Cleaning

Make sure to disconnect the power before removing the bulb and socket; otherwise, you might get a bad shock. Then take a soft cloth and soak it in warm water to clean the socket.

Remember that these are electrical appliances, meaning the cloth needs to be slightly wet. Rinse it properly and do not let water droplets seep into the socket as it might damage the circuit.

Instead, use a wet cloth to gently clean the components and remove impurities. Then, secure the light in place, switch on the power, and test to see if it is working.

C) Power Failure

There are many causes of power failure with varying degrees of complexity. However, we have mentioned some of the most common reasons why the power supply might be interrupted.

1. Faulty Circuit Breaker

Due to excess load, the circuit breaker might trip or lead to short-circuiting internal wires. Naturally, a faulty circuit breaker will interrupt the power supply, preventing the light from coming on.

You need to find the main panel and reset the circuit breaker once more. While doing so, also ensure that there aren't too many appliances connected to one power source, which might cause the breaker to trip again.

However, if resetting the breaker fails to resolve the issue, you can confirm that it is a short-circuit. That’s when you should call an electrician.

2. Issue With The Electrical Outlet

It is also possible that the electrical outlet may stop working, causing the refrigerator to shut down. You can usually tell by opening the door and checking the airflow from the cooling vent.

If there is no power, use a non-contact circuit tester to confirm that the outlet has failed. Once you are sure, call an electrician to replace the faulty electrical outlet.

3. Damaged Power Cord

In some cases, the power cord might wear out after many years. Although it is uncommon, if you find that the power cord looks old, frayed, or damaged, it would be best to replace it. Keep the cord clean and ensure that it does not gather dust or grease.

4. Disconnected Power Cord

A disconnected power cord is perhaps the simplest explanation as to why the refrigerator light fails to work. As silly as it may sound, a slight tug may cause the power cord to come loose. Consequently, check everything before calling an electrician.

D) Damaged Switch

If you fail to locate the problem, using the above methods, the logical explanation is that the door switch has failed. So, here is what you need to do:

1. Find The Lever

Open the door and search for a lever that looks like a bathroom plunger - this is the door switch. Sometimes it tends to lock up, so you can open and close the door frequently to see if it increases mobility.

2. Clean The Switch

At times an accumulation of dust and grease impacts the movement of the lever. But fortunately, you can free up the mechanism by cleaning it with a cloth dipped in warm water.

3. Replace The Switch

Finally, the door switch may wear out due to frequent use, meaning the only option is to replace it.

We should tell you that the lever has wire leads that connect to the internal circuit. Hence, use a putty knife or screwdriver to disconnect the lever and unmount it.

Then buy a similar component from the store, follow the installation procedure, and secure it in place, ensuring that the lead wires form a tight connection. Lastly, switch on the power and see if the refrigerator lights up when you open the door.

E) Loose Wires

We have also found that some wires may come loose when you shake or bump the fridge. For instance, closing the door with too much force can send shockwaves through the interior of the fridge.

While it may seem innocuous, the wires from the back of the light socket may get disconnected. So, follow the wires leading up to the light socket to see if they are loose.

If you find disconnected ends, pry them into the back of the socket and switch on the power. You should see the light come on, but if it doesn't, try the other techniques mentioned in our guide before calling an electrician.

Refrigerator Maintenance

Here are some tips about refrigerator maintenance that might prevent the lights from malfunctioning:

Photo Inside Of A Fridge

1. Location

It's important to keep the refrigerator away from other kitchen appliances like the oven or cooktop. This is because they generate heat, meaning the fridge will have to work twice as hard to stay cool.

In a compact area, the lack of room may not leave enough space for the vents to operate at optimum output. All these factors could cause the fridge to overload, trip the circuit breaker, and turn off the lights.

2. Clean The Coils

Once or twice a year, take out the coils from under the refrigerator and make sure to clean them with a clean cloth and water. Due to their positioning, it is natural for the coils to accumulate dust, grease, and hair which you must remove for the refrigerator to function smoothly.

There are numerous coil cleaning solutions available on the market; we have also managed to use vacuum cleaners and brushes with success.

Let’s Fix Your Fridge Light!

Are you confident about fixing the refrigerator light?

Rather than calling an electrician, you can refer to our guide, which will save you both time and money. Also, it would be best to clean the fridge weekly and brush its different components. This helps ensure that everything is working smoothly.

On that note, we will wrap up our guide. See you soon!