It’s midnight, and you open your fridge for a late-night snack and see an ominous flickering light. What do you do? Don’t panic: this is a common issue in Whirlpool refrigerators. So, what causes flashing lights inside a fridge, and what can you do?
Flickering fridge lights can be caused by loose wires, faulty door switches, or power supply issues. A bulb at end of life will simply stop working, so don’t start by replacing the bulb. First, manually check the power cable to the fridge, and the door switch that triggers the light.
You may not need to call a qualified repairman just yet. Flickering lights are common enough in Whirlpool fridges that troubleshooting is straightforward. Let’s look at everything you need to know to fix this issue!
Why Are My Whirlpool Refrigerator Lights Flickering?
Although it might seem minor, flickering lights in a Whirlpool fridge can be just a minor inconvenience, or it could signal a more significant problem.
Many situations aren’t of concern, as the light bulb may go bad or need replacement over time. However, flickering lights can also be caused by loose connections in the internal wiring or by problems with the power supply. If those problems get worse, you may come home to a thawed out freezer or fridge.
It’s best to troubleshoot, identify, and resolve the issue as soon as possible. However, if the problem isn’t a quick fix, like an old light bulb or wobbly power cable, you should call a qualified repair tech. They can identify the source of the problem and act accordingly.
And, before we get too much further, we’ll go head and note that your fridge may have a traditional incandescent bulb if it’s a bit older, but more likely you have an LED light array (which really still just looks like one light).
So, while we’re going to talk about troubleshooting both the incandescent bulb flickering and the LED array flickering below, just note that these two things are different, but a quick glance at your flickering light will confirm which one you’re dealing with.
To add to the confusion, while there are Whirlpool LED light arrays like this one (on Amazon), there are also LED bulbs (also on Amazon), so start by just getting comfortable with the style of light you’re trying to troubleshoot. Below, we’ll talk about all of these styles more-or-less interchangeably unless the troubleshooting is meaningfully different.
Possible Causes for Flickering
As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why lights can flicker inside your Whirlpool fridge. Sometimes the issue is a loose or worn-out bulb (or LED array). In other cases, there’s damage to the internal control board and circuits.
Here are a few of the most common reasons why lights flicker inside Whirlpool appliances.
The bulb is Loose or Going Out
Have you heard of Occam’s Razor? In many situations, the most simple solution is the correct solution.
Loose and old bulbs are common causes of flickering lights inside a fridge. If the bulb is loose, it won’t receive constant power and flash or flicker. The flickering can vary depending on the amount of energy it receives.
Old bulbs may suddenly strobe or turn on and off as they go out. Eventually, old bulbs will lose power entirely and become inoperable. You may want to start with the bulb when you troubleshoot the issue.
Overheated LED-Array Controller
The circuit board inside a fridge acts as the control center and manages different features like lights, cooling, and displays. In some cases, the components on the LED controller can overheat and short circuit.
Poor wiring connections are the main reason why your LED controller might overheat.
With these issues, you’ll need an experienced technician to access the controller’s wiring and confirm the problem. The service tech will repair it if possible, but you’ll most likely need a replacement which, again, is something the repair-man would likely coordinate.
LED Bulbs in Incandescent Bulb housings Don’t Match Dimmer Wattage
Whirlpool refrigerators with LED bulbs have a built-in dimmer switch. The dimmer is designed to work within a certain electrical range. However, if you have low-voltage LED bulbs inside your fridge, they may flash or flicker.
You can quickly resolve this issue by using compatible LED lights that suit the voltage of the dimmer switch.
If you recently replaced the bulbs in your fridge, this is probably the next thing you should check (by comparing the voltage of the original bulb with the replacement bulb to see if they’re very different).
The Dimmer Switch Is Faulty
Besides using the wrong LED bulbs, the dimmer switch inside your Whirlpool fridge can be faulty and cause flickering lights.
The dimmer switch inside a fridge can become worn out over time or suffer damage. In addition, issues could arise from dust or debris blocking the switch. In some cases, the connections can be loose or broken, causing flashing lights when you open the fridge.
Other Possible Causes
As mentioned earlier, there are several potential causes for why your Whirlpool fridge lights are flashing. Some other possible causes include the following:
- Inadequate power supply
- Fluctuating voltages
- Issues with the internal wiring
- Loose cords
- Internal damage
If you aren’t sure what’s causing the issue, you may need a professional service agent to diagnose the issue. After identifying the problem, they can recommend a course of action to solve the flashing lights.
Troubleshooting and Fixing a Flashing LED Light
Encountering issues with your fridge isn’t pleasant, even if they’re as small as flashing LED lights. Fixing flickering lights may be as simple as turning a bulb or could be a sign of severe issues with the power supply.
Fortunately, the problem is easy to troubleshoot, and you can try a few different solutions.
First, Check (not replace) the Bulb
Although it may seem obvious, the first step is to inspect the bulb. You can see if the bulb is loose, unscrew it, and reinsert it to see if the issue is resolved. If the light is flickering, there’s really no reason to think that
This step is crucial, so you don’t waste energy looking for an issue that isn’t there. If this doesn’t solve your problem, move on to the methods below.
Next, Move Onto the Power Supply
If the flickering occurs with multiple light bulbs, you may have issues with the power supply. Inspect the power supply and cords for any visible damage. Ensure the outlet is working correctly and reset the circuit breaker to see if the issue is resolved.
If your fridge is plugged in and everything is correct, try resetting the refrigerator. To reset the fridge, unplug it and wait 30 seconds before turning it back on.
Check the Light Assembly
The light switch assembly inside your fridge may be the culprit behind the flashing lights. Follow the instructions below to troubleshoot and resolve the issue:
- First, inspect the water filter to ensure it’s installed correctly. You’ll notice a metal panel with holes at the back of your fridge. If you see a wire sticking out of one of the holes, the water filter is installed correctly.
- Next, inspect the light switch assembly for visible damage or issues. For example, you may notice problems with how it’s connected to other parts of the appliance, like the water line or power cable.
- Lastly, inspect the light bulb and light socket once more. The light socket may be damaged or dirty and require maintenance.
Look for General Issues
A few common issues can cause LED lights to flash in a Whirlpool fridge. Some of the culprits include the following:
- Loose screws or wires in the light fixture.
- Faulty switches on the circuit board.
- Poor capacitors on the top of the circuit board
You can use a voltmeter to determine if there’s power in each part of the circuit. You may require a new switch or fuse box if there isn’t one.
Alternatively, you can try unplugging everything from your appliance. Then, after several hours you can plug everything back in to see if the issue is resolved.
This method resets faulty capacitors, but you may need professional assistance if it doesn’t work. And, remember it’s a refrigerator. It’s going to start warming up, so if you do this, plan to do it when you can leave the fridge and freezer doors shut long enough.
Try General Maintenance Tips
You can also try some general maintenance tips to resolve the issue. If anything, these tips will prevent the lights from flickering in the future. Here’s how:
- Ensure your fridge is placed in a well-ventilated area. Ventilation ensures the air is circulated and helps prevent LED lights from overheating or flickering.
- Be sure to regularly clean the coils on the back of the fridge. Dust, debris, and dirt can accumulate over time, causing the coils to overheat and lights to flicker.
- Use LED lights with the correct wattage. You may need higher or lower-wattage bulbs depending on your model. Using the right lights will ensure you use the proper power levels and prevent flickering.
- Inspect the seals on the door and make sure they’re tight, secure, and clean.
- Remove any items blocking the vents.
- Follow Whirlpool’s recommended settings for temperature ranges and other instructions. Using too-cold temperatures can cause the lights to malfunction or flicker.
Call a Professional
You may need to call a professional service agent if none of the troubleshooting methods above resolves your issue. An experienced technician can diagnose the problem and develop a plan of action to fix it.
You may need to find a certified tech experienced with Whirlpool appliances or a general appliance repair tech. The price of services can vary, so it’s best to call around and get multiple estimates.
In rare instances, you may need to call an electrician if the issue lies within the power supply, socket, or fuse box.