How to Replace a Refrigerator Compressor

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When the compressor becomes faulty, your fridge cannot operate correctly, and you run the risk of having to throw food away.

So, if your refrigerator compressor has broken down, it will need to be replaced. However, before you replace the compressor, you should weigh the cost of replacing it with purchasing a new refrigerator. Purchasing a new refrigerator might be a better choice.

Replacing a compressor is a very difficult repair to make and involves welding. You should only attempt this repair if you are experienced and/or a qualified technician. It is also a very dangerous repair to carry out, as it involves working with highly flammable gasses.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to replace the compressor.

Step One – Remove the Old Compressor

The first step is to remove the old compressor. To do that:

  1. Turn the power off to the refrigerator and pull the plug out.
  2. Remove all of the contents of your fridge. Since replacing a compressor can take a long time, it would be best to place your food into coolers.
  3. Pull the fridge out from the wall so you can access the back of it.
  4. Remove the back panel of the fridge. To remove the panel, you just have to unthread the screws that hold it in place, and it should come off. Once removed, place it out of the way.
  5. Locate the compressor. It is at the back of the fridge on the bottom of it.
  6. Disconnect the power cable, and remove the cover that protects the electrical components.
  7. Remove the relay, the capacitor, and the overload protector.
  8. Release the refrigerant by attaching a perforating valve onto the process tube and then releasing it. Make sure you have adequate ventilation.
  9. Once released, you need to connect a nitrogen cylinder onto the manifold and inject the gas at a pressure of 50 PSI.
  10. Remove the manifold valve.
  11. Sand the compressor tubes in the areas that have been soldered so that they are abrasive.
  12. Cut the discharge and suction tubes (leave about 20-30 mm from the end of the process tube).
  13. Remove the compressor.
  14. Remove the filter. You need to use a soldering torch (use a neutral flame).
  15. If the compressor motor burned out, you will need to clean the tubes. This is done by welding on a tube connector to the suction line and then charging a cylinder with about 500 ml of solvent. You then attach the cylinder to the suction line and attach the end of the cylinder to the solvent cylinder. Put the tip of the capillary into a container to receive the used solvent. You can inject the solvent through the system. After that, you will need to give the system a nitrogen charge to clear out any residual solvent.

Step Two – Install the New Compressor

Now that you have removed the old compressor, the next step is to install the new one. To do that:

  1. Attach the new filter (make sure you have the correct one). You first have to solder a Schrader valve onto the extra connection (make sure you take the cap off before welding). Next, connect and weld the filter onto the condenser outlet. You can then attach the filter to the capillary tube and weld it on.
  2. Place the new compressor into the correct position.
  3. Connect all the tubes up to it, and weld them on.
  4. You should then do a leak test by injecting nitrogen into them and using a sniffer tool. If you don’t have a sniffer tool, you can place soapy water onto them and look out for any bubbles that appear, as this indicates there is a leak. Once tested, release the nitrogen.
  5. Use a vacuum pump to remove air from the compressor.
  6. Install the capacitor to the relay, followed by the overload protector, and then attach the relay to the compressor’s terminal.
  7. Connect the cooling system wires to the relay and the overload protector terminals.
  8. You can now put the electrical components’ cover back on.
  9. Fill the compressor with refrigerant (make sure you have the correct volume).
  10. Double-check that all of the wires and tubes are correctly positioned, and if so, your new compressor should now be successfully installed.

Step Three – Test That It Works

The final step is to test that your new compressor works. You can do that by simply turning your refrigerator back on and testing to see if it is working. If not, you will need to contact a technician to take a look at it.

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