How You Can Fix A Refrigerator Coolant Leak
If your refrigerator is leaking coolant, you might wonder if this is something that you can fix yourself. Doing this will save you money, but it can be dangerous if not done correctly. If you are sure that this is something that you want to take on and not call a professional, you need to know what steps you should take.
Diagnose The Problem
There are a lot of people who assume that when their refrigerator is not cooling properly the problem is a refrigerant leak. There are a number of other reasons why your refrigerator might not be cooling correctly. This is why you need to diagnose the problem before you look at fixing a coolant leak.
To start your diagnosis, you need to check that the air intake grill is free of dirt and debris. You should also check that the thermostat is working correctly. Finally, you should check that there is enough airflow in the freezer. All of these problems could cause your refrigerator to cool incorrectly.
If these problems are not an issue, you will need to check for a refrigerant leak. This is something that can be done fairly easily. The most telling sign of this will be the presence of an oily substance at the bottom of your refrigerant.
If you cannot detect any substance at the bottom of the appliance, there are other steps that you can take to check this. It is important to note that refrigerant leaks will generally come from punctures. If your refrigerator has never moved while in your kitchen, you are less likely to actually have a leak.
Get Everything That You Need
Once you have determined that you do have a refrigerant leak, you need to gather everything to fix this. It is recommended that you check that you have everything before you start as you do not want to pause partway through. The most important item to get is the refrigerant as you will need to remove the old refrigerant and replace it.
Getting refrigerant might be hard depending on the type of refrigerant you need. If your refrigerator is an older model, it is likely to run on R22 or Freon. This can be a major problem because Freon is in the final stages of a phase-out. The production of the refrigerant has already been limited drastically and by the end of 2019, it will be illegal to produce and import into the country.
The phase-out of Freon has occurred because of the severe environmental damage that it does. Freon is a known to cause ozone depletion which contributed to the creation of the hole in the ozone layer. This makes it a very hard refrigerant to get and you might need a special permit to buy it.
If your refrigerator is running on Freon, you should look at some of the newer refrigerant alternatives instead. They will be easier to get and could be purchased at the local HVAC supply store or online. However, before you buy any of these alternatives, you will need to ensure that your refrigerator model can run on the coolant. There are certain models that will only be able to run on certain coolants and you need to be aware of this. Choosing the wrong coolant could result in your refrigerator not working at all.
If the leak comes from any parts of your refrigerator, you may have to replace them. In these situations, you need to carefully consider if this is something that you should be doing. The more parts of your refrigerator you have to replace, the more you need to know about the workings of the appliance.
Vacuum The Air
To start the repair, you will need to determine where the refrigerant system in your refrigerator is located. Your owner’s manual should have details regarding this as well as information about where the compressor, evaporator, and condenser are. This is important because you will need to place an access valve on the compressor once you find it. To do this, you can use a standard T-shaped pipe which is going to be used to add new refrigerant to your system.
After opening up your system, you are going to have to vacuum the air from it. This will need to be done using a special pump. These pumps can be rented from your local tool store or an HVAC repair store. You should never use any other tools to complete this. The pump should come with instructions on how to properly use it.
Add The Refrigerant
Once you have removed the air from the system, you are going to add the new refrigerant. To do this, you are going to have to place a hose around the pipe that you added to the compressor earlier. This hose will ensure that your refrigerant is funneled into the compression system of your refrigerator.
The adding of the refrigerant will need to be done according to the instructions that you have with the coolant you bought. It is important at this point to ensure that you are not overcharging your system. This is when you add too much refrigerant which increases the pressure in the system and causes irreparable damage.
Add The Oil
A lot of people do not realize that you need to add oil when you change the refrigerant in your appliance. The oil will help to lubricate the compressor and this allows the refrigerant to easily move through the system. The amount of oil that you have to add will vary depending on the model you have.
You will need to check the owner’s manual to determine the amount and type of oil you should be using. Generally, you will need to add around 5 tablespoons of oil.
Fixing a refrigerator coolant leak is something that you can do, but it is not always recommended. This can be dangerous as refrigerant should always be added under controlled conditions. Additionally, if you have to replace any of the components in your refrigerator, you may be better off calling a professional.