Refrigerator Compressor Burning Smell [Solutions]

This article deals with the problem of a refrigerator compressor burning smell. If you have this problem, look no further for answers.

Refrigerator Compressor Burning Smell

Refrigerator Compressor Burning Smell- How to Fix

If you get a burning smell from your refrigerator compressor, find an electrician or an appliance technician. It is vital to determine what is causing the compressor to burn. More likely than not, the wiring is weak and can no longer carry the power load. It could also be an internal connection.

Endeavor to fix the compressor if the smell is coming from it. But ensure the compressor has a fault, not the fan or other components around the compressor.

Since the compressor hardly fails, check the condenser fan for any damages. It may have developed an electrical fault and is causing the burning smell. You can also check the main control board for burn marks on the solder points.

Why Does My Refrigerator Smell Like It Is Burning?

Your refrigerator smells like it is burning because of electrical problems. They could stem from the lights inside the unit, from the power cord or wall outlet, or from some other connections that have weakened.

If your refrigerator smells like it is burning, disconnect it from electric power. Then, try to find the source of the smell. Check for overheating signs inside and outside the refrigerator, and check the power outlet. Do not touch any wire or connection while looking for the source of the smell.

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Whether or not you find the source, contact the refrigerator manufacturer. Describe the smell and any other thing you noticed as well as you can. If you cannot reach the manufacturer, find a qualified electrician as quickly as possible.

It helps to run a maintenance check on your refrigerator regularly. Do not leave any part out; take a look at every electrical connection and component, including the ice maker. If you find any faulty component or wiring, don’t manage it. Replace the faulty ones quickly.

Also, if your refrigerator is old, it is more likely to develop electrical faults than a newer one. Therefore, consider replacing it. And have a dedicated wall outlet for the unit; do not use extension cords or use the same outlet for other appliances.

Why Does My Refrigerator Smell Like Burning Rubber?

A wiring connection may be weak and burning, causing the burning rubber smell. But before you settle on that, it is important to know that new refrigerators tend to smell like burning rubber. The rubber material is used as part of the unit to reduce vibration. And as the unit runs for the first time, the compressor generates heat.

Since it is new, the compressor has to run longer than usual to cool the refrigerator. As a result, it will generate a lot of heat that causes the smell to rise from the rubber. This process is normal, and the smell will wear off with the constant use of the refrigerator.

However, if the refrigerator is not new but smells like burning rubber, ensure the internal lights go off when you close the door. Also, make sure the power cord and wall outlet are not burning. Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power if the smell is strong. Then, contact the manufacturer or a qualified electrician to check the refrigerator.

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The internal lights may have a wiring fault and not go off even when you close the door. Consequently, the heat they generate will melt the plastic interior parts of the unit, causing a burning smell. It is a fire hazard and must be handled immediately.

Apart from the fire hazard, your food in the refrigerator will stop cooling and go bad. This is also a potential health risk, so store the food elsewhere while you fix the refrigerator.

How to Tell If a Refrigerator Compressor Is Bad

The first sign you will get that something is wrong with a refrigerator compressor is a lack of cooling in the unit. It may be followed by clicking sounds and other strange noises. Finally, the compressor may begin to overheat as it tries to run smoothly.

Sometimes, there are easy ways to fix the compressor problem without having to replace it. This article explains how to know a bad compressor and what to do.

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Refrigerator Compressor Smells

Typically, a compressor does not emit a foul odor unless it is burning. And if it is burning, it means the compressor is so hot that it has reached the burning point. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall receptacle and allow it to cool.

Then, check the coils and fan as they are the likeliest components to overheat the compressor. If they are not the culprits, then the compressor is failing and should be replaced.

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However, check the drain pan under the refrigerator if the compressor is not burning but seems to have a smell. The pan does not get the attention it needs, so condensate water from the freezer stores in it, grows moldy, and begins to smell bad. Because of its location under the compressor, it is easy to assume it is the compressor.

Therefore, check the pan and clean it thoroughly if it is dirty. Empty the pan, wash it with hot water, soap, and a soft brush, and sanitize it with bleach. You can also use white vinegar in the place of bleach.

In addition to the above, check the condenser fan blades. there may be debris caught in them, and the debris may be causing the smell. Clean the fan and the coils, as well as the compressor, to eliminate the possibility of dirt causing the smell.


You should not ignore a refrigerator compressor’s burning smell. Find a qualified electrician to check the unit, find the smell’s origin, and fix it permanently. While waiting for help, unplug the refrigerator from power and store perishable food in another refrigerator or cooler.

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