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Question DetailsAsked on 5/17/2017

My mothers Whirlpool side by side refrigerator that is 11 years old had the light flickering in the refrigerator si

My mothers Whirlpool side by side refrigerator that is 11 years old had the light flickering in the refrigerator side. The technician determined it was the light board, tried to order the part, and they don't make it anymore. It seems to work fine except for the light, do we have to replace the refrigerator or will it keep working?

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1 Answer


Manufacturers do some pretty stupid designs at times, but I can't imagine a light failing would cause the reefer to stop working.

The flickering would worry me though (assuming it was not just the bulb filament going out) because of the possibility of that 120V circuit overheating or arcing. I would have the light board removed if the reefer will work without it (properly shielding the connector end from moisture or accidental contact) - or if the reefer will not function without the board in (say it controls thermostat too), then have the wires to the light socket cut and capped so it cannot pull juice to the bulb.

In reality, if you contact several appliance repair companies, including FSP (the Whirlpool parts company) and Sears Parts, I would be pretty surprised if you cannot find the part and have it installed. 11 years old is not very old - you can still get parts for most 30 year old appliances through Whirlpool or Sears (which carry parts for many brands, not just theirs) and also from parts distribution warehouses like on the internet. Maybe even Amazon.

One thing I have seen a LOT recently - light bulbs made with shorter contact tips (less solder) so they are not reaching all the way to the center contact on the light socket. Not a DIY repair unless you are electrical handy - but common solution is to buy different brand of bulbs with longer center tip on the base, or with reefer unplugged, if the socket is the type with a spring-steel center contact, reach in with needle nose pliers or flat screwdriver and carefully pry the center contact spring up a bit so it reaches the bulb. I have had to do this on several appliances recently due to different brand bulbs having different center reach.

Another possibility is his diagnosis was wrong - that it is just a malfunctioning door switch making poor contact - probably one of the two most common causes of this flickering. Using a plastic or dry wood utensil (just to be extra safe) open the door and use the utensil to push in the contact switch which the door pushes shut to turn the light off - push in and out a couple of times and see if that causes/stops flickering (other than the on and off function it is supposes to do) - could be the contact in the switch is bad or the door is not closing all the way due to a partly open drawer, food container sticking out, or misaligned door seal or door so it is not closing as far as it should, causing the light to flicker. (Door not closing all the way would only cause flickering as door is just opening or closing, not when door is actually "open".)

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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