Do you suspect any problem with your Samsung refrigerator’s compressor?
Don’t worry; this guide can help you determine the root cause of it and how to troubleshoot it.
Spoiler alert: it’s not always the compressor’s fault. In fact, it’s likely that surrounding components are causing the hitch in this part.
Sometimes all it takes is a little cleaning in just 4 steps!
Why Your Samsung Refrigerator’s Compressor Isn’t Working
A defective Samsung fridge compressor can be a result of clogged condenser coils or other faults in the cooling system, such as a defective start relay or a refrigerant leak.
The compressor is often referred to as the heart of the appliance, as it’s the central part of the cooling system.
Cooling and defrosting cycles begin with the compressor pumping the refrigerants used to cool the entire unit.
As such, the compressor is built to endure hours-long operations without wearing down. When it goes bad, this is usually caused by existing issues in the cooling system.
As a result, you might notice symptoms of a bad compressor overlapping with other signs pointing to a failure in other parts of the cooling system.
When these symptoms remain unaddressed for too long, central parts of the cooling system such as the compressor or the control board will eventually get damaged along with the already malfunctioning part.
Below, we’ve listed the signs you should look out for if you suspect that the cooling system — especially the compressor — of your refrigerator has gone bad.
How to Tell If Your Samsung Refrigerator’s Compressor Is Bad
A regularly functioning Samsung refrigerator compressor will emit a soft humming noise at the beginning of a cooling cycle, or when it shuts off to defrost.
When the compressor is bad, you’ll notice these happening:
- There are loud buzzing or grinding noises while the fridge is running;
- The refrigerator isn’t cooling or is taking longer to cool;
- The compressor turns on and off too often;
- The compressor turns off prematurely;
- The fridge is prone to overheat.
Suppose you notice that your appliance is doing two or more of these things.
In that case, especially if it’s having trouble cooling or maintaining a cold temperature, the compressor is likely malfunctioning.
Replacing a compressor typically involves soldering connectors into place, which is why we recommend taking it to a service center instead.
But before you do, double-check all possible causes of a compressor going bad to find the root of the issue first. This is to ensure that all parts that can contribute to your new compressor failing can be replaced or repaired as well.
How to Reset a Samsung Refrigerator’s Compressor
To reset a Samsung refrigerator compressor, you’ll have to:
- Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
- Step 2: Set the temperature of the appliance to zero.
- Step 3: Adjust the temperature back to your preference.
- Step 4: Let the new temperature setting stabilize for at least 24 hours.
The first step to troubleshooting an issue in an appliance is to reset the concerned part first.
In the case of your Samsung fridge, it’s always a good idea to restart the compressor to stabilize new settings, or clear minor glitches or internal issues.
As you can see, it only takes 4 steps! Below, we’ll be elaborating on each of them.
Step 1: Unplug your refrigerator.
The first step in every troubleshooting method is to unplug the refrigerator. This ensures your safety and resets the fridge’s settings as well as any internal miscommunications between its components.
Let it sit like that for about 10 minutes.
If you hear any knocking or whooshing noises, don’t worry! Compressors typically make noises during the beginning and the end of a cooling cycle.
Step 2: Set the temperature of the refrigerator and the freezer to zero.
While the refrigerator is unplugged, the control panel will still display a temperature for a while. Set this back to zero or switch it off completely.
Afterward, plug the fridge back in and power it on.
Step 3: Adjust the temperature of the refrigerator and the freezer.
Once your fridge comes back on, adjust the temperature to your desired settings.
The recommended temperature settings for the fridge compartment is around 40° F (4° C), while the recommended setting for the freezer is 0° F (-18° C).
Step 4: Allow the refrigerator to stabilize these settings.
It typically takes about 24 hours for a Samsung refrigerator to stabilize new temperature settings. During that time, avoid tampering with the controls or you might have to wait longer.
Afterward, your compressor should function as good as new.
If resetting it doesn’t seem to work, then it’s time to grab your tool kit and, with the help of this guide, check on other components of your fridge!
Common Causes of a Bad Compressor and How to Troubleshoot Them
As we’ve previously mentioned, when a Samsung fridge’s compressor goes bad, it’s usually a domino effect from other parts of the cooling system that have gone faulty.
As such, it’s always a good idea to check on each part to make sure they’re functioning well. Some of them, however, are more directly involved with the compressor than others.
Below you’ll find which part of your fridge’s cooling system can put a strain on the compressor over time, and how to prevent or troubleshoot them.
|Dirty Condenser Coils||Unplug the refrigerator then unscrew the rear panel on the back of your fridge.|
Using an appliance brush or a small vacuum, clean up any dust buildup on and around the condenser coils.
Clean the condenser coils at least once every month.
|Faulty Start Relay||Unplug the refrigerator then unscrew the rear panel on the back of the fridge.|
Locate the compressor on the left side of the panel. Next to it, there’s a small cover box that you’ll have to pry off using two flathead screwdrivers.
Carefully disconnect the wires around the start relay to remove it from the compressor.
Afterward, run a continuity test on the start relay using a multimeter. Set the multimeter to the continuity setting (or the ohm setting, depending on the type of multimeter you’re using).
Take both probes of the multimeter and connect them to the start relay. If the multimeter beeps, there is continuity and that means the start relay is functioning properly.
If it doesn’t, replace the start relay.
|Power Surge||During a power outage, unplug the refrigerator before the electricity comes back on.|
Afterward, power it on and reset it by powering it off again for about 5 minutes.
|Refrigerant Issues||Look out for signs of refrigerant leaks in your fridge, like a distinct chemical smell that gives you headaches or makes you feel nauseous.|
If there are any signs of refrigerant leaks, take the appliance to your local service center.
|Faulty Compressor||If none of the other troubleshooting methods work on the compressor, take the appliance to your local service center.|
Dirty Condenser Coils
Have you ever wondered why the back of your Samsung refrigerator feels warm at times? That particular heat comes from the condenser coils, located in the rear panel of the unit.
Your Samsung fridge makes use of two kinds of coils to produce the cold temperature the appliance needs.
The evaporator coils, located inside the unit, cool the refrigerants from the compressor by absorbing the heat from them.
Once absorbed, the heat needs to be released outside the unit to maintain the chill, and it does this through the condenser coils — which is why the back part of your refrigerator can feel hot to the touch.
Unlike the coils inside the refrigerator which are susceptible to ice buildup and freezing, since the condenser coils are placed outside the unit, they can easily collect dust and grime over time.
When enough dust and other elements clog them, absorbed heat from the refrigerants will have a difficult time escaping, and will likely get trapped back inside.
This can overload the compressor and force it to pump refrigerants twice more as usual.
Solution: Regularly check the condenser coils for dust buildup. We suggest doing this once a month, along with a defrost session.
Depending on how thick the buildup around the coils is, you can easily clean them out in at least 5 minutes!
To start cleaning them, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
- Step 2: Unscrew the panel to access the condenser coils. The coils are located next to the compressor.
- Step 3: Use a brush or a vacuum to clean up the coils.
If the dust buildup isn’t that extreme, you can just use a flexible appliance brush. But if the buildup is too thick, use a vacuum on it.
Either way, make sure not to skip hard-to-reach areas.
- Step 4: Once you’re done with the coils, vacuum the surrounding area to clean up the dust that might have fallen, especially if you used a brush.
Afterward, you can replace the back panel and plug your refrigerator back into power, good as new!
To ensure that both your fridge’s coils are functioning well, and are absorbing and releasing heat properly, we recommend cleaning out the evaporator coils along with the condenser coils.
As mentioned, evaporator coils are susceptible to ice buildup and can freeze over when surrounded by too much frost.
You might find this incident occurring more frequently than dust buildup on your condenser coils, because, inside the fridge, the coils are exposed to moisture that can easily turn into ice under freezing temperatures.
In general, your appliance is equipped with an Auto Defrost function that melts smaller ice buildup throughout the day, but if the frost becomes too thick, your best option is to put the unit in Force Defrost.
To defrost and clean the evaporator coils, follow these steps:
• Step 1: Put your refrigerator on Force Defrost mode by pressing and holding the Power Freeze and Fridge buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds.
Then, press any other button until ‘Fd’ appears on the display screen and you hear a chime signaling the defrost has started.
Force Defrost trigger buttons typically vary from model to model, so if your Samsung refrigerator doesn’t have these buttons — or if these buttons don’t trigger ‘Fd’, consult your user manual.
We suggest leaving the doors open to help melt the ice faster. Don’t use a hairdryer or any other heating device, as this can damage the material of your fridge.
Meanwhile, the appliance will keep on beeping until defrosting is done.
• Step 2: Remove the bins and shelves to make sure any frost buildup in the corners will also melt easily.
• Step 3: Unscrew the cover of the evaporator panel located in the back of the fridge compartment.
This part is connected by wires, so carefully disconnect them first before lifting off the panel completely. Once that’s removed, you’ll be able to see the evaporator coils and check the ice buildup around them.
• Step 4: Once all the ice has melted, unplug the fridge.
Then, using a clean towel, wipe off all the melted ice.
Clean the fridge walls and shelves using a damp towel and mild soap, but be sure that everything is completely dry and that no moisture residue can be found before returning them.
• Step 5: Return the evaporator panel cover and the shelves, and plug the refrigerator back in.
Faulty Start Relay
While it’s an essential part of your fridge’s cooling system, the compressor is a sort of mini system on its own. It doesn’t run all the time, you see.
Your Samsung refrigerator goes through a series of cooling and auto-defrosting sessions.
When the temperature inside the appliance reaches room temperature or any point hotter than its initial setting, the temperature sensors send the compressor a signal to start another cooling cycle.
But since the compressor’s primary function is to pump refrigerants, it needs help starting up — that’s what the start relay, also known as the compressor relay, is for.
When this part goes bad, naturally, the compressor wouldn’t know when to start pumping refrigerants, which can result in your refrigerator not cooling.
Sometimes you will also hear audible clicking from your fridge.
Solution: When a start relay becomes faulty, the only option you have is to replace it. Make sure to check the compressor for the model number that your unit uses, afterward, you can replace it yourself.
If you’re looking to double-check the start relay for faults, you can also do a continuity test on it first.
To run a continuity test on a start relay, you’ll need a multimeter. Then, do the following steps:
- Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
- Step 2: Remove the rear panel on the fridge. The compressor is typically located on the left side of this panel.
- Step 3: There’s a small cover box attached to the compressor. Pry this part off using two flathead screwdrivers.
- Step 4: With one of the two screwdrivers, pry the start relay off. Be careful not to damage or bend any wire connections or terminals.
- Step 5: Take note of which wire connects to what terminal. Afterward, pry them off carefully using a flathead screwdriver.
- Step 6: Take your multimeter and set it to the continuity setting. If your multimeter doesn’t have this, you can either turn it to the ohm setting (for auto-ranging multimeters) or the lowest ohm setting (manual multimeters).
- Step 7: Connect the probes to the connectors on the bottom side of the relay. Some start relay models have this on the side.
- Step 8: If the multimeter beeps upon contact, this means that the start relay has continuity. If it doesn’t make a sound, that means it’s gone bad.
Moreover, you can also check for the ohms reading, but this typically varies from model to model. Be sure to consult your user manual for definite specifications.
If you need to replace the start relay, simply look for the model number you need and attach it to the wires the same way you undid the old one.
A telltale sign of a bad compressor start relay is a rattling sound when you move the fridge, but this isn’t always the case, especially for newer models.
Start relays differ in design. Older start relays, for example, do not have an overload capacitor attached to them.
Overload capacitors protect the compressor from overworking and overheating. It typically shuts the compressor off when it receives a surge in voltage or if the temperature around the compressor gets too hot.
Newer start relay designs include a combination of both the relay itself and the overload capacitor. When you shake it, it makes a rattling sound, even if it hasn’t gone bad yet.
These are also typically the type of start relays you can’t run a continuity test on. If you have this kind of component, consult a professional.
Power surges are every appliance’s mortal enemy.
While most of the components in an appliance are built to endure heavy strain or prolonged operating hours, a surge in incoming power or voltage always risks melting them down or burning them.
Likewise, a power surge can damage the compressor’s start relay and overload capacitor.
As established above, the overload capacitor protects the compressor from overheating. When the overload capacitor gives out, it automatically turns off the compressor as a protective measure.
Do take note that it’s not only power surges that can harm the overload capacitor, though it’s one of the scenarios that are highly likely to do so.
Aside from that, this part can break down due to improper maintenance or any other habits that can put a strain on the compressor and force it to work harder, such as frequent thick ice buildups.
Solution: During a blackout, ensure that your fridge is unplugged before the power comes on.
Once the power is back, turn on your fridge and reset it to clear any error codes.
Typically, you will get error codes once the fridge is back on due to interrupted commands when the outage happened. Resetting the fridge will make these error codes go away.
The simplest way to do this is to power off the appliance again and wait for about 5 minutes before powering it on again.
There are two ways to reset your Samsung fridge: by giving it a soft reset or by hard resetting it.
The main difference between these two is that a hard reset clears all existing settings, while soft resetting clears the latest setting as well as glitches.
Hard resetting typically involves turning off your fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Refrigerants are an integral component of your Samsung fridge’s cooling system, as the cooling temperature essentially comes from them.
Through a cooling process, refrigerants are changed from gas to liquid and then back again.
The amount of refrigerant pumped by the compressor is often regulated. Going over or under the regular amount will pose cooling difficulties or leaking issues.
In particular, if there is too much refrigerant in the unit, the cooling system won’t be able to accommodate them once they turn into liquid.
This risks them returning to the compressor in liquid form, which in turn can damage the compressor.
Meanwhile, too little refrigerant will cause the compressor to overheat as it attempts to compensate by pumping twice as hard.
Refrigerant leaks in general are hazardous to one’s health once inhaled. Moreover, when refrigerants leak, they can get contaminated by moisture inside the appliance.
Solution: Some symptoms of a refrigerant leak are parallel to a compressor running. Your fridge is leaking refrigerant if you experience these scenarios:
- The refrigerator isn’t cooling;
- The motor is running for longer durations (i.e., the fridge does not enter auto-defrost);
- Your fridge smells musty, even after you take out old food;
- Unseasonal spike in electricity bills (typically in spring or autumn); and,
- Opening or using the fridge gives you nausea or headaches.
When two or more of these symptoms, especially number 3 and number 5, are present, you ought to take your appliance to a service center and report the issue.
If none of the above seems to be the problem, then the issue could be the compressor itself. You might be wondering, “shouldn’t that be the first cause we investigate?”
But as already established, the compressor failing can be a rare case. Most of the time, other components are what’s putting a strain on it, so we advise that you double-check other possible root causes first.
Furthermore, a faulty compressor can’t be checked by a simple continuity test. This could also require checking the control board.
Both the control board and the compressor rarely malfunction, as they are both central components of the refrigerator, but they can wear over time.
In the control board’s case, frequent power surges can burn it. However, when a control board is damaged, you’ll likely encounter more issues than just a compressor not running.
Solution: Once a compressor becomes faulty, you can only replace it. But as we’ve mentioned, this will involve soldering connections, so your safest option is to take it to a professional.
They’ll be able to assist you with the model of compressor you need as well.
When a compressor goes bad, it’s usually the temperature controls that first take the hit. So, when you notice your fridge not cooling enough, follow the easiest method and immediately check on the coils.
As with other parts of your fridge, especially the cooling system, proper maintenance is the key to an enduring compressor.
Look out for bad habits that might be contributing to temperature errors in the fridge, as these are more likely to strain the compressor, and be sure to break and change them!