No matter what refrigerator problem you're called out for, no matter if it's for a warm freezer or a noisy fan or a leaking dispenser, there's one simple step that should you should always do before anything else -- before you or the customer even opens the doors of the machine:
Measure the compartment temperatures.
Simple, right? So why am I writing a blog post about it? Well, a lot of techs don't see why this is a step that you must always take when troubleshooting a refrigerator. Doesn't matter if the customer says that the problem has nothing to do with temperature.
There are several reasons for this. One is that customers rarely keep thermometers in their refrigerators/freezers. The only indications that they have for out of spec temps are very subjective factors, such as the feel of the air inside the compartment, or the consistency of ice cream. A customer isn't going to notice if a freezer isn't able to cool below 10 F, but you as the technician should immediately recognize this as an issue.
Often, your diligence in taking compartment temps will allow you to have a hero moment, preempting an incipient issue before it affects the customer. This is a massive dose of added value on the customer's eyes.
More generally, temperature measurements give you a solid baseline for troubleshooting any refrigerator. Think of it like a doctor checking your blood pressure or listening to your heartbeat at a checkup. He doesn't do these tests only if you come in complaining about heart problems -- he does them no matter what, because they're simple and easy tests that can give crucial early warnings if something is wrong. It's free information, and in any diagnostically rigorous field, be it medicine or appliance repair, information is at a premium.
So remember: next time the customer goes to open the fridge door to "show you what the problem is", politely stop them until you have your IR temperature reader ready. (Don't have one of those? You can click here to order a good, affordable one on Amazon right now.) The extra 10 seconds that it takes to check temps could change the entire way you need to approach the repair.
Want to step up your refrigerator troubleshooting game? Click here to enroll in the Refrigerator Repair Training Course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.
And premium tech members of Appliantology can improve their refrigerator know-how right now by checking out this awesomely informative webinar recording on refrigerator troubleshooting: