How to Add Refrigerant to a Mini Refrigerator

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You can add refrigerant to your mini fridge by yourself.
Image Credit: Pawel Wewiorski/Moment/GettyImages

Countless times per day, you open your refrigerator, grateful for the cool chill that greets your skin as you browse for your item of choice. You take for granted that your full size refrigerator or mini fridge is always cold; however, you may never even think twice about how your refrigerator accomplishes this task.

What some don't consider is the danger and repercussions that mini fridge refrigerant has on the environment, mainly on the ozone layer. But if your mini refrigerator needs to have refrigerant added, it is important to keep in mind that many coolants are slowly being banned from being used due to their environmental effects. You can add refrigerant to your mini fridge yourself, however it is not advised.

Cost Of Reparations

While it may seem simple enough to add refrigerant yourself with the right tools, it is worth looking into how much money will inevitable go into this project. Mini fridge repairs cost less than full-sized refrigerators with average fridge gas refill cost being quoted in the range of $45 - $120 per hour to hire someone to help fix your fridge with the additional cost of a service charge that could range anywhere between $150 - $200. Make sure to do your calculations beforehand as it could be less expensive to purchase a new mini-fridge instead of having the old one fixed. If you still wish to accomplish this task yourself, keep in mind that there will also be costs in needing to purchase all the items or tools necessary to do the job.

Tools Required for the Job

If you want to have an idea of how your handyman will accomplish the job, then the process is relatively simple. They will need a multi-bit screwdriver (without a bit), a piercing valve, a regrigerant gauge and replacing valve, an adapter or conversion valve and, of course, the mini fridge refrigerant best fitting to your fridge.

The first thing they need to do is unplug the fridge from the power supply. Locate the removable panel, which is most likely behind the mini fridge, and remove it with a screwdriver or whatever tool is necessary. There they should find a compressor with a refrigerant tube next to it. The key is to keep the valve as close to the compressor as possible, but with ease of access in case it is needed again in the future.

Adding the Mini Fridge Refrigerant

Now that they have located the right spot to place the valve, they will begin the process of adding the mini fridge refrigerant. The valve may come with different adapters, so it is important to check which one best fits the tube size they are using. Once they have determined the best adapter fit, they will place a piercing valve over the tube and use an allen key to tighten it into place. The piercing valve does exactly as its name promises and pierces a hole to have access to the tube while sealing it off and making it easy to turn the access on and off as desired.

Once the valve is in place, they will only then be able to add, remove or check the refrigerant levels of your fridge to make sure the levels are always where they should be. The next step is to attach the conversion valve so they can open the access on the piercing valve that was just installed to be able to add the mini fridge refrigerant. To get accurate readings on the refrigerant gauge the fridge needs to be plugged in and functioning. They will verify that the appropriate levels of refrigerant needed for your system and these should conform to the numbers found in the owner's manual of your mini fridge.

Putting the Final Touches

With the gauge and recharge hose now connected, they will begin adding the mini fridge refrigerant. the best way to add refrigerant is in small amounts at a time so that they do not need to remove any excess refrigerant from pumping in too much. Once the desired level of refrigerant is obtained, they will proceed to close the access on the piercing valve and remove the gauge and recharge hose. The adapter will be removed so that the cap can be replaced on the piercing valve, making it ready for future use if needed. The final step is replacing the panel on your fridge, and now your mini fridge should be back to functioning order.

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Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with a toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands, I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.

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