Refrigerator Compressor Hot

Photo of refrigerator with a hot compressor

Searching for the answer as to why your refrigerator compressor is hot? Well maybe we can help answer that question.

First of all let's talk about what is normal. It is normal for a refrigerator compressor to be hot, in fact very hot. A refrigerator compressor is a mechanical device doing a lot of work in a confined space. Most people who are not refrigeration technicians who touch refrigerator compressors with their hand will say it is too hot. But the fact is it's probably normal if the refrigerator is cooling properly. And that's the biggest factor you need to take into consideration. Is the refrigerator cooling properly.

If you were trying to find out why your refrigerator compressor is hot, odds are it's because your refrigerator is not cooling properly. If a refrigerator is not cooling properly, it is common for the compressor to get very hot. In fact it gets so hot that it's thermal protection sometimes opens the circuit electrically and shuts the compressor down. On air-conditioners thermal overloads or the thermal heat sensitive device is sometimes buried in the compressor windings. However on almost all refrigerators the overload or the heat sensitive device is usually mounted on the outside of the compressor.

When a refrigerator is low on refrigerant the compressor is always hot.

If you have not cleaned your refrigerator condenser recently, and who does, your compressor may be hot because the condenser can not do it's job. A condenser is designed to allow the refrigeration system to circulate refrigerant through it long enough to remove the heat from the refrigerant. The heat is removed by passing air across the condenser coils. If the condenser is dirty or if the fan airflow is blocked, the condenser can not do it's job.

If your condenser is clean and your refrigerator or freezer compressor is hot verify that you do not have a frost build up on the evaporator or other defrost issue. If you do not have a frost build up and a clean condenser but your refrigerator is still not cooling and your compressor is hot, you probably need to call a serviceman. And by the way if an appliance service technician is not a refrigeration technician, and many of them are not, he is more likely to condemn your refrigerator as not fixable and you will wind up buying a new refrigerator. When you place the call for a serviceman, verify that he has experience actually servicing refrigerator sealed systems. The sealed system consist of the compressor the condenser, the evaporator in the refrigerant.