Are there special light bulbs for Refrigerators

Refrigerators typically use a 25W or a 40W standard appliance bulb. Some models use a T8 intermediate base light instead.


When the light goes out in the fridge, it might be tempting to replace it with whatever you have in the house. That's not the best decision because many of today's products for standard fixtures produce too much heat for the appliance.


Refrigerators create vibrations while operating that the filament must endure. A standard light bulb doesn't have the resistance needed to maintain its integrity as time passes.


An appliance light bulb uses a more rugged filament while offering the appropriate base size and recommended wattage.


What Light Bulb Type Should I Use for My Refrigerator?


When shopping for refrigerator light bulbs, you'll find four primary types available to consider. Each one has specific features to review, although some options are far less beneficial than others because of how they're constructed.


Here's a closer look at each type and how they operate.


Light Bulb Type

Features of This Light Bulb Type

  • This light bulb typically contains a tungsten filament.
  • It uses an electric current to heat the filament to create light when opening the appliance.
  • A glass or stem mount at the base works to prevent air from leaking from the unit.
  • Small wires get embedded into the step to support the filament.
  • Inert gas or a vacuum environment protects the product from evaporation.
  • This product uses the halogen cycle to create illumination for appliances.
  • The halogen gas works to redeposit tungsten on the filament to provide a longer product life.
  • All other functions are like what an incandescent bulb provides.
  • This light uses a compact fluorescent design that requires electricity to be emitted from cathodes that excite mercury vapor.
  • The atoms inside the bulb produce UV light that causes phosphors to glow, producing light.
  • A glass envelope contains a noble gas, such as argon, and phosphors.
  • This light bulb type uses diodes and microchips to create illumination that uses far less energy when producing light.
  • Appliance-rated models can withstand the temperatures found inside a refrigerator while meeting the T8 or A15 shape requirements.
  • Most products in this category offer a 2,700 K or 3,000 K color temperature rating.
  • Lifetime ratings for LED bulbs are superior to all other types.


How to Replace the Light Bulb in a Refrigerator


You know it's time to replace the light bulb in a refrigerator when it fails to engage after opening the door. Since this product only turns on when you're looking for something in the appliance, it usually needs one or two replacements over the unit's lifetime.


When you replace the current light with a refrigerator-rated LED bulb, you might never need to go through these steps again.


1. Remove the Outer Cover

Most refrigerators have an outer cover that protects the light bulb. You'll need to take it out of the appliance to access the malfunctioning product. Most will snap out when pressing small tabs on the side, but some might be screwed into place.


If you need to use tools in the refrigerator to remove the light bulb cover, it is a good idea to turn the power off to the appliance before proceeding.


2. Check the Light Bulb

Once you have access to the light bulb, you can check to see if it requires replacement. Most will have dark areas burned into the glass or a loose filament you can hear rattling when handling the product.


The light bulb for a refrigerator twists out like any other fixture. Since moisture can be in the environment, the base might be a little stuck. If firm twisting isn't giving you any movement, a little mineral oil can provide some extra lubrication.


3. Inspect the Socket

If the light bulb looks like it is still in usable condition, the socket could be an issue. Before proceeding with this step, you must turn the power off to the appliance.


Some sockets break or get dirty as time passes. If you clean the area with a lint-free cloth and warm water, you can restore the contacts to operating condition.


Replace the light bulb to see if it functions and restore power to the refrigerator. If it works, you can replace the cover. If not, you'll need a new bulb.


4. Check the Switch

If your bulb and sockets look good, there could be an issue with the refrigerator switch that prevents the light from engaging. Look for a plunger-style lever in the door frame. If you depress and release it without the light coming on, try repeating that process a few times to remove stuck grease, dirt, or dust.


Cleaning the switch with warm water can help restore its functionality.


Older appliances can have this part wear out. The only way to restore power to the light is to replace the switch. You can purchase a replacement from an authorized dealer, remove the components from its wire leads with the power off, and install the new one.


Additional Items to Check on a Refrigerator


The most common reason for a refrigerator light to stop working is that the power cord was tripped, or the circuit breaker engaged. Check both components, especially if you don't hear the appliance operating.


Power cords can fail, as can electrical outlets. If you have a GFCI outlet, it might have tripped if moisture contacts it.


With this information, you can find the correct bulb for your refrigerator and replace it. 


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