How to Bypass a Refrigerator…[Detailed Guide]

A refrigerator has different parts that you can bypass. Say you are looking for how to bypass a refrigerator start relay, the steps are easy, though you must replace the faulty part eventually. Let us explain in this article.

How to Bypass a Refrigerator
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How to Bypass a Refrigerator Thermostat

To bypass the thermostat in a refrigerator, you will need to get an external thermostat. Without it, you cannot successfully bypass the internal one. Next, locate the component inside it. It is usually on the ceiling of the refrigerator, but some refrigerators have theirs at the back wall. Turn it to the coldest point when you find it and disconnect the refrigerator from electric power.

Connect the refrigerator’s power cord to the external thermostat’s back; there is a provision for such a connection. After that, place the thermostat’s probe between the refrigerator’s outer edge and door seal. It does not interfere with the regular door usage because the probe is flexible and thin enough to allow you to close the door.

Now, secure the probe to the refrigerator’s inside sidewall using duct tape, pushing it as far as possible. Close the refrigerator door and connect the thermostat to the wall receptacle. The refrigerator will run with the external thermostat, bypassing the internal one. 

Turn the control of the external thermostat to the setting you want, preferably low. Then wait for the refrigerator to start cooling. If the compressor kicks in and the appliance begins to cool considerably, according to the setting, you have successfully bypassed the internal thermostat. It may also mean you need to replace it if the refrigerator stopped cooling at some point. This article is a more detailed explanation of the process.

Note: Bypassing the thermostat in a freezer, whether upright or chest, may require the services of a qualified appliance technician. This is because it involves the connection and disconnection of many wires, and you may cause injuries or damage to the freezer if you are not trained for the job.

How to Bypass a Refrigerator Start Relay

To bypass the start relay of a refrigerator, disconnect the appliance from electric power and move it away from the surrounding walls. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws holding the bottom access cover in place.

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Look to the right of the compartment where the compressor is and you will find a metal box. Flex the box or push it to remove it from its position. You will find the start relay in it. Next, put pressure on the space you will find between the box and the relay itself using a small screwdriver. Doing this loosens the relay so that you can pull it from the refrigerator.

Disconnect the connector holding the relay wire in place to make it accessible. Then, using a pair of pliers, strip the wire a bit, not more than a quarter-inch, on each end. Wrap the stripped parts with electrical tape, attaching the wire back onto the relay box without the relay in it. Replace the box, cover it, and put back the bottom access cover in place.

Now, reconnect the refrigerator to electric power and run it for a few hours to see if the compressor runs correctly. If it does, you can leave the refrigerator running for some time. However, do not leave it running for too long without the start relay. Replace it if it is faulty to get the refrigerator back to good working order.

Note: Turn the circuit breaker off while working to bypass the start relay. It is a task that requires you to work close to wires, so cutting off the power supply is vital. Also, the same steps apply if you want to bypass the relay on a freezer and the overload protector or capacitor.

Check out these other articles…

Refrigerator Thermostat [How to, Issues & Proven Solutions]

Refrigerator After a Power Outage [Issues & Proven Solutions]

Refrigerator During a Power Outage [Detailed Survival Guide]

How to Move a Refrigerator in Different Situations [Detailed Guide]

Refrigerator After Moving [Issues & Proven Solutions]

Freezer Does Not Freeze [Issues Solved]

Laying a Refrigerator Down [Critical Information]

How to Bypass a Refrigerator Water Filter

To start, find the refrigerator’s water filter housing. The water filter is usually inside this housing. Most refrigerators have theirs inside, but some have the filter in the bottom grille. Removing the base filter means turning the protruding handle counterclockwise or to the left until the handle faces the floor.

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When you remove the water filter, try dispensing water from the dispenser or straight from the water line at the back. If you successfully dispense water with a good flow without the filter, you know your refrigerator has a built-in bypass and you do not need to do any extra thing.

However, if there is no water from the refrigerator after removing the filter, you need a bypass plug. Every refrigerator manufacturer has bypass plugs, so you need to have your refrigerator’s specific model and number handy. With them, you will purchase the correct type of bypass plug.

Most bypass plugs look like the water filter so yours may fit into the filter housing. Remove the old filter and insert the plug in its place. Afterward, you are good to go, but check to see if the dispenser is leaking water before finishing up.

Not every refrigerator must use a built-in water filter system. If your home has a separate water filtration system, you may not need the one in your refrigerator. Also, older model refrigerators may not easily have replacement water filters, so using a bypass plug becomes essential in these situations. The same applies if you simply do not want a water filter in your refrigerator.

A refrigerator water filter bypass is a cartridge shaped like a normal filter, sediment filter, plug, or even a plastic cap that filters particles and deposits in the water so that they do not contaminate the refrigerator water. The bypass tricks the appliance to sense it as the regular filter and work accordingly.

How to Bypass a Refrigerator Defrost Timer

To bypass the defrost timer on a refrigerator, first, locate the timer. Some refrigerators have them at the back, some have them behind the bottom kickplate, and others have them in the control housing inside the refrigerator. 

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When you find yours, you will need to trace the timer’s common wire and directly connect it to the wire of the compressor. Leave other wires where they are connected to the timer so that they do not cause an obstruction.

This connection causes the compressor to run constantly since the timer should turn it off when it is time to defrost the refrigerator. Without a connection to the timer, the compressor will run unless the cold control thermostat stops it from running.

It is crucial to note that operating a refrigerator without a defrost timer when it has a built-in one is not recommended. The reason is that the defrost cycle may continuously run, keeping the refrigerator from cooling. The timer should advance the system in and out of the cycle, so without the timer, the defrost heater may run by the cooling coils and prevent them from releasing cold air.


Looking for how to bypass a refrigerator thermostat or relay? This article will guide you on easy steps to fix any bypass issue. However, note that bypassing an important refrigerator component may adversely affect the cooling capacity. You also risk damaging the refrigerator. Instead, replace any faulty part to keep the refrigerator optimally working.

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