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Parts of a refrigerator: a visual guide

Whether it’s mealtime or snacktime, you depend on your refrigerator to keep foods fresh for the entire family. This visual guide will help you identify the parts of a refrigerator and how they work to keep the internal compartments of the fridge cool. You’ll also find answers to the most common questions about refrigerator components and accessories. Select a link below to jump to each section and learn more about how the parts of a refrigerator work to fuel your busy kitchen.

What are the external and internal parts of a refrigerator?

The parts of a refrigeration system all work together to give your fridge the power to keep your foods fresh. Read on to learn more about each one of the unique components of a fridge.

A refrigerator compressor.

1. Compressor

Think of your compressor as the heart of your fridge. By pumping vapor refrigerant through the fridge, the compressor increases the temperature and pressure of the cooling agent. The compressor is often found at the back or bottom of the fridge.

Refrigerator condenser coils.

2. Condenser coils

Working together with the compressor, the condenser coils transform vapor refrigerant into its liquid form. As the compressor increases pressure to fuel the condensation process, excess heat is released into the outside air. To help keep your fridge running at peak performance and your food fresh, check occasionally to be sure your condenser coils are clean.

A refrigerator expansion valve.

3. Expansion device

After coursing through the condenser coils, the cold liquid refrigerant travels through the expansion device where its pressure is rapidly reduced. Lower pressure expands the chemical, transforming the refrigerant back into a gas form. The expansion device is situated between the condenser and evaporator coils.

Refrigerator evaporator coils.

4. Evaporator coils

The evaporator coils, which have absorbed the heat from the now gaseous refrigerant, release the cool air we feel when opening the refrigerator doors into the fridge's food compartment. On the inside of the freezer and fridge compartments are small vents that direct the flow of cool air between them. The refrigerant undergoes this chemical change again, starting back at the compressor.

How do I know if I need to replace refrigerator components?

There are a number of signs that may indicate the need for replacement refrigerator components. Telltale signs of broken components include poor ice production or quality, inadequate cooling and noisy inside refrigerator parts.

Regular cleaning, maintenance and proper usage per your owner’s manual should keep your refrigerator in good working order. However, if you're experiencing any problem with your Whirlpool® fridge and its parts, it's important to consult your owner's manual or the Whirlpool® Refrigerator Troubleshooting page for appliance-specific information.

Not sure where your Whirlpool® refrigerator owner's manual is? Use the Whirlpool Appliance Manual Finder using your fridge’s model number. For even more support, visit Whirlpool Product Help to access appliance-specific information on your fridge.

Are parts for fridges interchangeable across brands and manufacturers?

If you're having problems with your Whirlpool® refrigerator and its interior or external parts, it's important to only use appliance-specific Whirlpool brand parts. Using refrigerator components from other brands may cause additional damage to your appliance.

Need to purchase replacement parts for your Whirlpool® refrigerator? Find everything you need by browsing the Whirlpool® Refrigerator Accessories and Parts pages.

Can I replace different parts of a refrigerator on my own?

Because the parts of a refrigeration system can vary across brands and models, it's important to leave complex service and replacements to the professionals. If you're not familiar with the various refrigerator components and how they work, then it is recommended to contact a service technician for assistance.

How do I schedule service for my Whirlpool® refrigerator?

You can schedule professional service for your Whirlpool® refrigerator by visiting the Whirlpool® Service Page. Get your kitchen back on track by scheduling a service appointment with our team today.

You can also visit our Whirlpool® Customer Care Page for even more helpful information on your refrigerator.

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Shop for Whirlpool® refrigerators

If it’s time for a replacement or refrigerator upgrade, french door, side-by-side and top or bottom freezer refrigerators by Whirlpool brand help provide the organization, features and capacity for your family’s needs. Discover the Whirlpool® refrigerator that’s right for you.

Get answers to refrigerator questions

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