the refrigeration system on the refrigerator

Figure 1: The refrigerator compressor, as well as a condenser, and a heat exchanger.

The compressor is like the heart of humans, which plays a vital role in the refrigerator. A compressor is key to improve the performance of your refrigerator. During the refrigeration cycle, it allows the refrigerant to flow through the refrigerator coils. Do you know its working principle?

Working Principle of the Refrigerator Compressor

Composition of the Refrigerator System

The refrigeration system of the fridge is composed of 4 indispensable parts, including a compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve, and an evaporator. According to the control or the use, it can also be installed with auxiliary devices such as the controller of pressure, temperature, and the dry filter.

a compressor is included in the refrigeration system of the fridge

Figure 2: The refrigeration system of the fridge, including an expansion valve, heat exchange coils, the refrigerant, and a compressor.

Change the Gaseous Refrigerant to Liquid Refrigerant

During the working process, the gaseous refrigerant is compressed into the gas with a high temperature and high pressure through the compressor and then enters the condenser. The condenser is equivalent to a heat exchanger, which converts the high-temperature and high-pressure gaseous refrigerant into low-temperature and high-pressure liquid refrigerant.

different types of refrigerant gases

Figure 3: Gaseous refrigerants, including R134a, R22, R424a, etc.

Throttling Device

After that, the liquid refrigerant flows through the expansion valve, which is a throttling device. The pressure of the refrigerant drops after coming out of the expansion valve, and its temperature continues to fall, becoming two phases of the gas and liquid.

The expansion valve of the fridge is generally the capillary, in which the refrigerant suddenly flows from a larger one to a smaller one, so as to throttle it.

Gasification in the Heat Exchanger

Then the refrigerant enters into the evaporator for heat exchange and gasification. As a result, it becomes high-temperature and low-pressure gaseous refrigerant back to the compressor to continue circulation.

a heat exchanger and the flowing direction of the refrigerant

Figure 4: A heat exchanger.

Replace the Fridge or Compressor

If the overall appearance of the refrigerator is OK, and the copper pipes in the freezer haven't been repaired, you should repair the compressor.

Is the compressor in the refrigerator worth replacing?

Compressors can fail if there are high voltages, dirty coils, excessive refrigerant, and insufficient lubrication.

In some cases, your compressor may be damaged, which makes your refrigerator fail to work. So you may choose to replace the compressor or buy a new fridge. You then would find it difficult to make a decision, considering the cost of money and time.

lg 683l refrigerator

Figure 5: A refrigerator fulled with foods.

Therefore, we give you some suggestions on replacing the compressor or the refrigerator.


The refrigerant type is an important factor to consider. If your refrigerator uses R12 or R22, which now are not sold on the market. So you’d better buy a new fridge.

Replacement Cost

A high-quality refrigerator compressor will cost much. Some of them may cost half the price of a new refrigerator, depending on the capacitor and whether you want to buy a new one.

As we know, compressors are damaged due to failures in the refrigeration system. And you should repair these faults to make the new compressor serve long, leading to additional cost.

In addition, if your fridge is under warranty, it can be free to repair.

replacement of the refrigerator compressor

Figure 6: The maintenance worker is replacing the compressor of the fridge.

Refrigerator Conditions

Many people think that fridges will work forever, but it’s the truth that the lifespan of a refrigerator relies on cooling efficiency. Besides, it also depends on the brand of the refrigerator, the use, and maintenance.

Having known the service life of your fridge, you will understand if it’s necessary to repair it or buy a new one. Lots of refrigerators can perform well for around 10 years. If your refrigerator has a short life, replacing the appliance should be a better choice.

Because the price of a compressor is high, which is close to half of that of a new fridge. Plus, you will not need to spend money when the refrigerator is under warranty.

Check Your Fridge

You should inspect your fridge before deciding to replace the big-budget compressor. If it was not good overall, buying a new one is best for you.

You can examine the doors, the cooler, the coils, and the fan.

In a word, a good refrigerator itself is the premise for the replacement of the compressor.

We have posted articles about how to change the compressor of the refrigerator. I hope our share can be helpful for you.

Related Info

Case Studies of How to Replace a Compressor in Refrigerator (Part One)

Case Studies of How to Replace a Compressor in Refrigerator (Part Two)