How to repair a refrigerator light that isn’t working

How to repair a refrigerator light that isn’t working



Refrigerators are an indispensable part of our lives. Without them, our delicious smoothies, frozen pizzas, lip-smacking ice creams or crisp, juicy apples wouldn’t stay fresh. 

Discovering that your refrigerator’s interior light has stopped working can be irritating. Don’t worry; the reasons behind a malfunctioning refrigerator light are easily diagnosed. For instance, it could be a faulty bulb or debris-laden light switch. However, a fridge light out of order due to a power-supply defect may require professional help. 

Let’s walk through some of the possible causes, repair techniques, tools needed and repair costs, and in what cases you may need professional help. 


Possible causes of a refrigerator light not working

For many, the refrigerator is a beloved household staple. Any fault in it can cause a great deal of discomfort. 

Here are common reasons why your refrigerator light is not working:

  • Defects in the power supply
  • Damaged light switch
  • Burned-out bulb
  • Shortcomings in the circuit board
  • Faulty socket 

With some troubleshooting steps, you can promptly diagnose these issues. 

Can my fridge still work without the light?

Refrigerator lightbulbs are installed to help you identify and arrange your food items easily. So, if the lightbulb has stopped working, your refrigerator can still work as normal. 

However, a light that is out when the bulb is just fine may indicate that power to the whole fridge is off. Such a sitwwwion calls for prompt repair because the internal temperature will rise, possibly spoiling the food you have inside. 


How to repair a fridge light not working


If you’re ready to put on your DIY hat to repair your fridge light, here’s all the help you need. We’ll walk through the tools required, and how to diagnose the potential issues and decide whether the repair needs expert intervention or not. 

Gather the necessary tools

Tools you need to fix your fridge light are:

  • Electrical gloves
  • Putty knife
  • Spare bulb
  • Soapy water and damp cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Multimeter

A multimeter (also known as volt/ohmmeter) is a device used for measuring electric current and voltage. You can find a wide variety of multimeters on Amazon. We recommend going with a basic one.

Diagnose potential issues

Here’s a refrigerator troubleshooting and diagnostic list. From Samsung to Whirlpool, this list applies to all brands. Be sure to take proper precautions before inspecting these potential issues. 

  • Fused bulb: Open your fridge and gently take out the bulb. Look closely to check if there is a broken filament inside. Give it a gentle shake to check if the bulb components clink together. If yes, it is likely your bulb has burned out and needs a replacement. Amazon has a good variety of fridge bulbs to explore, depending on the wattage required.  

Turn off the main switch for your fridge, take your new bulb and fit it inside the socket. Once replaced, turn the main switch on again and check if the new bulb works. If not, move on to the next troubleshooting option.

Certain refrigerator models come fitted with LED lightbulbs, so the way to test them is different. Make sure to protect your hands with electrical gloves. Grab a multimeter, switch it to the voltmeter mode, and position the two probes on the bulb’s connectors to determine the voltage. To find the correct voltage, you may need to refer to the user manual that came with the appliance. If your ice maker or water dispenser’s interior lightbulb is off, you can perform similar checks. 

  • Defect in the power supply: For starters, you should check whether the power cord is properly plugged in or not. Other reasons could be a short circuit, power outage in the area, frayed power cord, faulty electrical outlet, fluctwwwing voltage or a tripped GFCI outlet. Since these repairs are electrical, seeking the help of an electrician is advisable.
  • Fault in the door light switch: If the bulb is working perfectly fine and there is no defect in the power supply, the door switch might be causing the trouble. A door switch is a mini push button. It activates when the door closes on it and springs out when the refrigerator door opens.

Frequently, these switches clog due to grime. You can get rid of that by cleaning the switch thoroughly with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. 

Another step is to check the switch with a multimeter. Remove the switch and set the multimeter to the RX1 setting to test it for continuity. Typically, switches have two terminals, so place one of the multimeter probes on either of the terminals. If the reading changes from infinity to zero, no resistance was detected, and your switch is perfectly fine. Otherwise, you might have to install a new switch. Switches vary from refrigerator to refrigerator. Refer to your appliance manual to clarify your switch requirements.

  • Faulty light socket: Discoloration, bent terminals, damaged wires, a loose connection or a cracked socket might indicate an issue in the lightbulb socket. For this, you may have to check the voltage present in the socket. If your check indicates no voltage, the socket will likely require replacement. 
  • Failure in the circuit board: If all of the above looks good, then the circuit board fitted inside the control panel of a fridge can be at fault. Typically, circuit boards are befitted with a reed switch, an electromagnetic switch that helps control the flow of electricity in a circuit. Failure in a reed switch can affect other parts of the fridge — and the interior light in this case. Getting this fixed should be a priority because it can lead to bigger problems eventually.

DIY the repair or call a professional

Changing the lightbulb or properly plugging in the power-supply wire are safe and easy tasks. However, if the repair requires you to deal with internal electrical components, soldering or brazing, or there’s a need to shift the fridge from one spot to another, then it is best handled by professionals. Let’s review some additional reasons why you may consider professional help:

  • Ensure food safety. An issue with your power supply or a short circuit in the control board can increase the chances of your groceries, food and certain medications turning toxic. Quoting the FDA: “The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full) if the door remains closed.” 
  • Avoid further damage. A fridge consists of numerous components, some of which are best known by professionals. DIY repairs might take time to understand the core issue, and a lot of trial and error might damage other parts of the fridge.
  • Quality assurance. An expert refrigerator repair electrician ensures the repair quality is up to par and the likelihood of the same problem arising is negligible. 


How much do refrigerator repairs cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, refrigerator repair costs depend on the severity of the problem or the refrigerator model. On average, fridge repair can cost from $200 to $330. In this case, replacing the lightbulb can cost as low as $6, compared to repairing the control board, which can cost around $500 to $800. 


See how refrigerator repairs are covered under a Cinch warranty

The refrigerator is a marvelous invention in the history of food. But an out-of-order fridge might create a sitwwwion of panic as you try to save the contents. 

Critical home appliances need proper maintenance and protection because you never know when these appliances may end up troubling you. 

Bid goodbye to these woes — a Cinch Home Services Appliances plan can help you cover the cost of major appliance repairs, including your refrigerator. Cinch covers most of your essential home appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers and, of course, refrigerators. 

Learn more about how Cinch can help keep your major appliances in good shape and save costs associated with sudden malfunctions. Reach out to get a quote today!


Has your refrigerator light gone out? Here is your complete guide to repairing a fridge light that is not working.

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