You don’t fully appreciate how vital the lights inside your refrigerator are until they stop working. Not only does it make it difficult to see what food you have available, but it also makes taking the right items you need out challenging.
So if you’re experiencing this problem, I’m sure you’re keen to get this fixed up as soon as possible.
So in this article, I’m going to explain why this problem occurs and how to get it fixed so your Whirlpool refrigerator light can be restored to working order as soon as possible.
Why are your Whirlpool Refrigerator Lights Not Working?
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Sometimes this problem can be caused by something as simple as clicking the wrong button on the control panel and can be easily fixed in a few seconds. Other times there may be an electrical problem that needs solving.
Let’s take a better look at the potential causes so you can better diagnose what’s wrong with your refrigerator.
1. The Door Switch isn’t Working
When a fridge door is closed, it depresses a small lever which severs the connection to the lights, turning them off. Then once the door is opened, the lever is released, which completes the circuit, turning the lights on.
Sometimes this lever can get stuck and doesn’t fully release when the door is opened, or the contact may have gone bad and require replacing before the light can turn on again.
2. The Lightbulb has Blown
Fridge bulbs are designed to last for a long time and have a general life expectancy of about 1000 hours. That being said, the light bulbs can still be prone to burning out unexpectedly due to something like a power surge or a manufacturing defect.
Once the fridge bulb has burned out, replacing it with a new one is the only option.
3. A Power Supply Problem
A fridge requires a stable power supply for the light to work, so if the lightbulb is not working, combined with other components behaving strangely, it may indicate a power supply issue or a power outage that needs addressing.
Sometimes a simple power cycle of the fridge can solve this, but if it doesn’t help, it may indicate a faulty wire that needs addressing.
4. The Wrong Mode is Being Used
To accommodate specific religious requirements, Whirlpool has implemented a special mode called Shabbat. This will allow the fridge to continue cooling and keeping the food fresh, but it will disable all light sources on the fridge even when you open the door or press the control panel.
Assuming you don’t currently need to utilize Shabbat mode, it can be disabled to restore functionality to the lights.
5. An Automatic Shut-Off has Occurred
Most fridges have a built-in function that automatically turns the internal light off if the fridge has been left open for over 10 minutes.
This will often catch people off guard if they haven’t completely shut the fridge door; when they return to it later and open the fridge, they will find the light not turning on.
Simply closing and re-opening the fridge should reset the automatic shut-off timer. However, if this doesn’t help, it may indicate a wiring problem or an issue with the door switch.
6. The Light Assembly is Defective
Most modern refrigerators don’t use the old traditional lightbulbs; instead, they utilize a light assembly which is a pre-made structure that houses LED lights inside. LED lights generally last longer and require less energy to run, so they are more commonly utilized.
However, if the assembly the fridge lights are housed in is defective, then the light won’t turn on, even when the lights themselves are functional. Light assemblies are usually sold as a single complete unit, so the usual course of action is replacing the entire assembly.
7. There is a Main Control Board Issue
The purpose of the main control board is to act as the brain of the fridge, taking the commands issues on the front control panel and then instructing the relevant components to turn on.
If the control board is running into issues, it can potentially affect the functionality of the lighting.
These complicated devices are very challenging to repair on a component level, so the usual course of action is just to replace the entire control board with a new one.
How to Fix Whirlpool Refrigerator Lights Not Working?
Now that you have a better idea of what causes this problem, we can take a look at how to get your non-functional light fixed up and back in working order.
1. Fix the Light Switch
If the door switch isn’t working, then the circuit which turns the light on won’t complete when the door is opened, causing the light to remain off. The first thing to do is check that the door switch physically releases when the door is opened.
If it’s becoming stuck due to something like a sticky spillage, you should clean it out with some isopropyl alcohol and a cloth to remove any residue.
You may find that the light switch still doesn’t work even though it lifts up correctly, which usually indicates it’s broken and it needs to be replaced with a new switch.
- Start by unplugging the fridge from the power supply.
- Using something flat like a butter knife or a flathead screwdriver, you can pry off the door switch; just be careful not to damage it.
- The door switch will be connected to the light assembly by a wiring harness; disconnect it, and the old door switch can be discarded.
- Take the new door switch and install the wire harness and snap it back into place.
- Plug the fridge back in
2. Replace the Blown Bulb
While some more modern fridges will utilize an assembly that is easier to replace, older models may still use a bulb that can be manually replaced. The first thing to do is refer to your user manual to check the exact bulb type your fridge requires, then you should order the replacement.
Once it arrives, you just need to unplug the fridge from the power supply and lift up the translucent plastic housing cover. Unscrew the old light bulbs and screw the new ones in their place.
Plug it back in, and you’re done!
3. Power Cycle the Fridge
Many modern, computer-controlled fridges tend to run into strange power issues that can commonly be fixed by power cycling the fridge. All this requires is to unplug the fridge from the power source and leave it off for 1-2 minutes so the capacitors completely discharge.
Once enough time has passed, plug the fridge back in. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you will need to inspect both the power cord and the outlet the fridge is plugged into for functionality and fix them accordingly.
4. Turn Off Sabbath Mode
Sabbath or Shabbat mode will turn all lights on the fridge off while still allowing it to continue cooling. The method by which you enable/disable this mode will differ depending on which appliance you have, so if you are unsure, you can refer to your user manual.
For the majority of Whirlpool fridge models, you can disable Sabbath mode by holding down the ‘mode’ button for 3 seconds. There will be a 3-second countdown, and then the lights will turn back on.
5. Reset the Automatic Shut-Off Mode
In order to save electricity, the fridge will turn the lights off if the door has been left open for 10 minutes.
The simplest and quickest way to get the lights back on is just to close the door and re-open it again. You will be given another 10 minutes before it turns off again.
6. Replace the Light Assembly
More recently, Whirlpool refrigerator models will make use of a LED lighting assembly that houses the lights inside of it. These refrigerator LED lights need to be replaced as an entire unit. So once you have ordered a replacement from Whirlpool, here is how to install it:
- As always, start by removing the fridge from the power supply.
- Locate the two tabs on the front of the light switch assembly and press them in using a flat tool. Something like a flathead screwdriver can work for this.
- Once the front tabs are freed, you need to repeat this process on the back two tabs.
- The light assembly will now be free, be careful as you pull it down, as the wires will still be attached. Gently unplug the two wires to free the old assembly. This can now be discarded.
- Take the new light switch and plug the two wire connectors into it using the same orientation as they were installed on the old one.
- Now firmly press the light assembly into the slot so all 4 tabs re-attach.
7. Replace the Control Board
The control board is a complicated component to repair, so generally, the whole board needs to be replaced. In this case, we recommend contacting Whirlpool customer support, who will assist you with both sourcing a replacement board and arranging for a qualified refrigerator technician to help you install it.