My Refrigerator isn't working properly. Did I switch it on too soon after I took delivery?

The issue

In this article we will discuss a common issue that is raised by some customers regarding used and refurbished refrigerators and after-sale failure reports

In the past, customers have reported faults when receiving their Used, Graded and Refurbished Refrigerators and Fridge Freezers. Customers have switched the newly purchased machines on, only to find that the unit is not working, possibly failing to cool or giving off unexpected or incorrect readings?

Universally across the refurbished appliances sector, these type of problems have caused upset for the customer and a loss of faith in buying refurbished appliances.  NewLife, being a business that is focused on reuse, sustainability and the Circular Economy as a whole was naturally eager to delve into these type of issues to see the cause of the issues experienced.  After discussing the matter with our qualified engineers, we discovered that the cause could, in the majority of cases, be resolved and the solution quite simple.

The common cause

By looking into each individual case, we realised that the actual cause was entirely logical and the resolution, quite a simple one.

As with all Graded and Refurbished Appliances, NewLife carry out thorough proven and audited tests to ensure that, not only our Fridges, but all our appliances are working and reliable 100% prior to dispatch.  Ironically, this is where a major contributor to the issue lay at hand.

The Technical Workings of a standard refrigerator

For those interested in the technical in's and out's and to understand the cause, here's some detailing from Jack, one of our our very talented fridge engineers:

  1. The cooling substance in the appliance is liquid until it passes into the dryer, where it becomes a gas again.
  2. When the gas reaches the Evaporator Grill, it reduces to a cold temperature, turning the refrigerant into liquid once again and cooling the Evaporator Grill.
  3. The fan forces cold air from the Evaporator Grill around the fan cabinet.
  4. The cold air then passes through a duct (flap), that then opens constantly when the fan is running to cool the fridge section down.
  5. The thermostat controls the temperature of the fridge section which will instruct the compressor to begin a cycle.
  6. The defrost timer is on a constant cycle while the fridge is running.  At around 12 - 16 hours it will instruct the thermostat to stop and the defrost heater to kick in.
  7. The defrost heater will run for 30 minutes until indicated by the defrost timer to reduce the amount of ice build up

"WOW" This all sounds very technical and under control.  So why do these issues arise?

So with all the things happening inside the refrigerator (liquids turning into gases and vice versa), you can expect condensation to build as soon as the refrigerators are switched off for sale/delivery as the gas condenses.  This becomes a problem for retailers such as ourselves, selling Graded and Refurbished appliances as they are always switched on and fully compliant tested pre shipping of course.

When the items are delivered to customers, the fridge will change temperature and cause the condensation to develop inside the appliance cooling circuits. If the appliance is switched on without allowing sufficient time for this condensation to stabilise in the ambient temperature, it may appear that the appliance is faulty.

The condensation can quite easily change temperature and freeze up the internal workings, including the evaporator grill and fan parts, which can also affect the readouts on the thermostat.

The solution (HOORAH)

Our engineers have monitored very carefully the recovery rates of a standard refrigerator, to establish when it should be safe to assume that all the condensation and liquid has dissipated.

Often you will see recommendations of 12 or 24 hours on an appliance, but we think to ensure that your appliance is at its best health when switched on, we highly recommend giving the appliance up to 48 hours before switching it on.

So to sum it up; being patient is key. Wait 48 hours = “HAPPY DAYS”


Since doing our research, we have seen a drastic drop in failures rates linked to condensation issues. This is not only excellent advice for anyone out there who is thinking about purchasing a refurbished or graded refrigerator, but it also allows NewLife to continue reproducing excellent reuse appliances, while being confident in knowing we can offer a quality and reliable product at great value and doing our bit for sustainability, the environment and the Circular Economy.

If you are interested in discovering graded and refurbished refrigeration, please check out our Refrigeration Category by clicking here. Or see our other wide range of all domestic kitchen appliances – Thank you.

Until next time,
Your NewLife “Friendly Fixer” Team


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