Whirlpool Refrigerator Light Not Working: 6 Ways to Fix It

A refrigerator can break in many different ways, but one of the most frustrating things to have stop working is the internal light.

You don’t realize how much you rely on it to see the fridge’s contents until it has broken. And often, it’s not just a simple case of replacing the bulb to fix it, which can make diagnosing the problem even harder.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, then don’t worry! In this article, we’ll explain precisely why this problem occurs and how to easily fix it so you can get your fridge back in working order as soon as possible.

Why is your Whirlpool Refridgerator Light Not Working?

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when the light doesn’t work is that the bulb has blown. 

While this can sometimes be the case, there can be many other potential causes of this problem, leaving many struggling to understand what’s wrong. They may install a new bulb only to find it’s still not working.

Certain user settings within the fridge’s menu may disable the light under certain conditions. Additionally, other component failures may inadvertently affect the light too.

Let’s take an in-depth look at these causes so you can adequately ascertain the root of the problem.

1. Sabbath Mode has been Enabled

To accommodate people’s important religious practices, Whirlpool has implemented a special user-enabled mode that allows you to open and close the fridge without turning on the lights. But this doesn’t only extend to the front panel LED temperature and filter status lights; it also extends to the internal light too.

It’s pretty easy to activate this mode by accident. You’ll know if you’ve done this, as in addition to the internal light not working, the front panel LEDs will have also been disabled, yet both the internal fan and compressor will stay working (you should be able to hear them).

This means the fridge is still completely functional, and a simple user error has been made; by disabling Sabbath mode, you will be able to restore full functionality to the lighting system.

2. An energy-saving feature has kicked in

You may need to leave the fridge door open for a prolonged period in certain situations. Whirlpool has implemented a feature that will turn the light off if the door has been left open for too long.

Usually, this internal timer is 10 minutes, but it can also be shorter depending on the model/settings.

If you do this frequently, it may also wear the light out quicker. So if you close and re-open the door only to find it still won’t switch on, it may indicate that the light has indeed worn out and needs to be replaced.

3. The Light Switch is Faulty

Even though fridges have been slowly moving more towards software and computer-based functionality, one of the elements that remain unchanged is the light switch. Which is still a traditional lever or push switch mounted next to the interior light enclosure.

When the door is closed, it physically depresses the lever/switch, interrupting the circuit and turning the light off. Then when the door is opened it releases the lever or switch, which completes the circuit, turning the light on.

So if anything breaks or malfunctions on the switch, even though the light bulb itself is ok, the light will still not turn on. The most common issue with these switches is that the small spring responsible for returning it to its original position breaks, meaning it stays permanently depressed, even when the door is open.

The switch will need to be inspected to ascertain the cause of the fault and repaired accordingly.

4. The Light Socket has Failed

Sometimes it’s not just the bulb that can malfunction, but the light housing system can also become faulty too.

The light socket should be tested with a multimeter to determine whether it is working. If it’s broken, then the light housing will need to be replaced.

5. A Wiring Harness Issue

The wiring harness is a collection of electric wires and connectors that distribute power to the various components within a refrigerator. Sometimes one or more of these wires may become broken, and their connection to the relevant component severed.

The wiring harness should be inspected to ensure that the connection which supplies power to the light housing is functional.

6. The LED Light has Failed

Of course, despite the myriad of other potential causes, sometimes it’s simply a case of the LED light failing.

While LED lights have a much longer lifespan when compared to traditional bulbs as they cannot blow in the same way, they are also not invincible and may sometimes break. In this scenario, the light needs to be replaced.

How to fix a Whirlpool Refrigerator Light Not Working

Being left without a working refrigerator light can be very troublesome, and you no doubt want to get your fridge back in working order as soon as possible. So let’s look at some easy ways to fix these problems.

1. Disable Sabbath Mode

If Sabbath mode is enabled, it will cause the fridge interior light to stay off when the door is opened during certain periods.

If this mode has been accidentally enabled, it’s very easy to turn it off; although the front menu of the fridge may differ slightly from model to model, the general method is the same.

  1. Locate Sabbath mode under the ‘lighting’ options on the front control panel.
  2. Hold this down for 3 seconds.
  3. You should hear an audible beep which confirms Sabbath mode has been disabled.

2. Reset the energy-saving feature

After 10 minutes of continual use, the light will turn itself off automatically to help you save electricity. Fortunately, we do have some manual control over this. While the feature itself cannot be disabled, there are three easy ways to get the light back on.

The first is to use the main light switch, which is next to the temperature adjustment knob. Flick it off and then on again; it should turn back on and remain on for another 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can use the main fridge menu and find the ‘light’ button; press that, and the light will turn back on. Lastly, you can close the door and re-open it again, which resets the 10-minute timer.

3. Fix or Replace the Faulty Light Switch

If you have manually inspected the light switch and noticed something is wrong, then the easiest thing to do is replace the switch.

This is quite a complicated process and gaining access to the internals is not particularly user-friendly. So our recommendation here is to contact Whirlpool customer support, who will arrange for a technician to come out and fix this for you.

4. Fix the Wiring Harness Fault

Once the wiring issue has been located, you need to disconnect the fridge from the power supply.

Locate the faulty wire within the wiring harness and either fix the broken connection or, if the wire has failed, then it should be replaced.

5. Power Cycle the Machine

As modern refrigerators lean heavier and heavier into computer software to control their features, it’s become far more common to see bugs and glitches cause problems with the lighting of the fridge.

Often performing a ‘power cycle,’ otherwise known as a hard reset of the fridge, can help to fix this problem. To perform a power cycle,   turn off the fridge and unplug it from the wall for about a minute.

Once that’s completed, plug it back in and power the Whirlpool fridge back up. In many cases, this will solve the problem.

6. Replace the Faulty Light

If the whirlpool refrigerator led light has failed, the only solution is to replace it

Whirlpool refrigerators use a special LED light which is relatively easy to access by yourself. You need a replacement LED light fixture which can be purchased both from Whirlpool themselves or a third-party retailer.

  1. Start by unplugging the Whirlpool fridge from the power supply; you should not be working on the machine while electricity is still supplied.
  2. Detach the plastic housing surrounding the LED light array; there are two tabs on either side that need depressing; once those are loose, you can also detach the two tabs on the back.
    Be careful with these are they are just plastic, don’t use too much force, or they may break.
  3. Once the Whirlpool refrigerator LED light fixture is removed carefully, look on the underside and see two wires connecting the light to the fridge. Disconnect them; you can use your hands for this.
  4. Discard the old LED light and take the new one.
  5. Attach the two wires we disconnected earlier to the new LED light.
  6. Take the whole light fixture and press it back up into the fridge. A little bit of pressure is needed to set the tabs in place, but you can do this with just your hands.

That’s it! Your new light is installed, and it should be working normally.

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