How The Average Homeowner Can Replace The Fan Motor On A Whirlpool Refrigerator

A humming or buzzing sound coming from your refrigerator typically means one of the fans on your refrigerator is no longer working properly. There are two fans on a typical home Whirlpool refrigerator. One is located in the freezer and is called the evaporator fan, and the other is located at the bottom of the refrigerator and is called the condenser fan. You can tell which fan is going bad by isolating the sound. The evaporator fan will increase in sound when you open the freezer door. The condenser will get louder when you move the refrigerator away from the kitchen wall and you put your ear down near the bottom of the refrigerator. If the sound is louder at the bottom of the refrigerator, you'll need to replace the condenser fan. Here is how an average homeowner can replace the condenser fan on their Whirlpool refrigerator.

Disconnect Electric and Water

Make sure you unplug the refrigerator before you start working on the refrigerator to prevent getting an electrical shock. If you have a water supply going to your refrigerator, you'll also have to turn off the water and disconnect the water line.

Take off Cardboard Panel

The back lower panel where the condenser unit is located is made out of cardboard. The cardboard panel restricts the airflow so the condenser unit works as designed, and it also limits the amount of household dust getting into the condenser coils. You do not want to damage this panel or you'll have to get another one to keep the refrigerator working properly.

Remove the screws holding the cardboard panel to the back of the refrigerator and put it in a safe place.

Remove Fan Assembly

The fan will be located in the bottom right corner of the refrigerator. The fan is attached to a mounting bracket that is screwed to the refrigerator. There are typically three or four screws holding the mounting bracket to the refrigerator. Remove the screws to release the mounting bracket from the refrigerator.

There is an electrical harness running from the fan motor to the electrical system in the refrigerator. Separate the harness by pressing down on the clip with a small flathead screwdriver. Then carefully remove the fan motor assembly out of the refrigerator – be careful to not bend the blades on the fan when removing the motor.

Detach Motor from Assembly

You also should remove the fan from the motor first. There is a clip that holds the fan to the shaft on the motor. Take a pair of needle-nose pliers and twist the clip counter-clockwise to loosen it. Keep on turning the clip counter-clockwise with your fingers until it comes off of the shaft. The fan will now slide off of the motor shaft.

Flip the motor assembly over. There are three screws that connect the motor to the mounting bracket. You need to place a mark on the bracket where the electrical harness is located. You can do this with a marker or a crayon. Remove the screws to free the motor from the mounting bracket.

Installing New Motor

Align the wire harness of the new motor to the mark you put on the bracket and then screw the motor to the bracket. Install the fan onto the new motor shaft and carefully slide the new motor assembly back into the bottom of the refrigerator. Connect the assembly to the refrigerator and reattach the electrical harness.

You should plug the refrigerator back in and watch to make sure the fan works before you put the cardboard panel back on the back. Once the fan turns on, put the cardboard panel back on and reconnect the water line (if necessary). Slide the refrigerator back against the kitchen wall to finish the job.

For more information, contact Appliance Doctor or a similar company.