Our Mission Statement:

       Sub-Zero refrigerators are wonderful, we have fixed nearly every machine we have ever worked on. In only a few instances have I seen a machine that could not be fixed. I am not a hardcore environmentalist, but I do find pleasure in keeping a perfectly good machine well maintained and out of the landfill. Especially when they are being replaced with the over engineered appliances companies sell us today (your refrigerator does not need wifi). Currently, there is no comprehensive guide on how to fix your Sub-Zero refrigerator. There are thousands of these appliances in service across the world. There are little bits of information around the web, even the Sub-Zero official website does not offer a comprehensive guide beyond very basic consumer level issues. On this website you will learn how to find out what is wrong with your machine, perhaps even fix it using Factory Authorized Parts bought from your Sub-Zero parts distributor. The information we will discuss on this website comes from a private technician that has worked in the field for over 20 years, it is not related to the Sub-Zero & Wolf brand in any way. Please exercise extreme caution when working on your machine by unplugging it from electricity when working on it. If you are unsure at any point of your ability to properly work on your unit, stop and call a service provider. If you are located in the Tri-State New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area, call on us to handle your repair.

How to actually fix your Sub-Zero refrigerator yourself.

Your Sub-Zero is not working and you found this page. If you follow this guide you will figure it out. It make take a week or two, you may need some specialty tools. If you can live that long without the machine you’ll probably figure it out. Your best bet is calling someone who fixes these things. If you are in the tri-state area of NYC you can give us a call at 800-200-2306 and we’ll send you a technician that will fix it on the spot. 

General Maintenance

If you have come here looking to fix your Sub-Zero, we must first rule out the possibility of the issue being maintenance related. Almost all mechanical failures stem from neglecting the routine condenser cleanings that all sub-zero refrigerators require. Neglecting your annual maintenance causes inefficiency, longer run times, overheating and eventual failures to critical system components. Let us start by identifying your model number and beginning the cleaning process.

Identify your Model Number for General Maintenance

On the interior of your Sub-Zero unit there will be a Sticker which displays the Model number. Once you have identified the model number you will be able to accurately navigate your Sub-Zero by following our guide. The model sticker will look like the photo posted to the right. It can be found in different places on different units, but the sticker and information is always the same. We want to know what the model number so that we can accurately find our condenser for cleaning. It is also important to know the model number when calling for service, as it is relevant information for any technician prior to arrival at your home.

Click On Your Closest Model Configuration by Door Type

500/600/BI Series- Top over bottom units: Found on the refrigerator door frame up by the hinge. These units have one freezer drawer on the bottom below the refrigeration compartment. 500/600/BI Series- Side by Side units: Found on the door frame inside the freezer upper left corner. 700 Series & IC units-  These have two freezer drawers. Open the top drawer of freezer, look on left side above door track.. Solo IC units-Remove upper vegetable bin or Ice maker tray to expose model number on left side above track.

Remove The Grill to Expose Your Condenser For Cleaning

You probably look at the grill to your mechanical shelf every single day. On most units it is located on top of the doors while others hide the grill underneath the bottom drawers nearest the floor. For most 500 & 600 series units the grill will be located above the unit. To remove the grill first remove any screws which may be holding it in from the upper door frame. Simply open your refrigerator door and look up, you will see screws in the door frame. Some units may not have any screws. Remove the grate by pulling it towards you and removing any hooks (either 1 or 2) which are attached. This will free the cover to be pulled up and out. Once the mechanical shelf is exposed the Condenser will be located on the right side. If the unit has not been maintained the condenser may have a layer of dust covering it. On many other units such as the 700 series, the mechanical shelf will be located below the unit. The grate which covers it can be removed by first removing the lower most drawer and unscrewing the four screws holding the kickplate. Your Condenser will be on the right side. For newer units such as the BI series. the grate is held opened and closed by spring loaded hinges. In order to reveal the mechanical shelf simply lift the cover up with a small degree of force. The cover should stay in place once opened fully, but if it doesn’t stay open try to prop it up with a long screw driver or something similar.

Watch This Video to see a Condenser Being Cleaned.

Important: Wait Two Hours

Ok, we have just cleaned our condenser, waited two hours and nothing has happened. We must realize that we have only just cleaned the front of our condenser. The condenser is about 5 inches thick, and over many years dust gets trapped inside of it. A professional appliance technician would now use a nitrogen tank with a hose attached to  a regulator to blow out the condenser of all dust and debris.

Homeowners Advanced Cleaning Procedure:

Ok, we have just cleaned our condenser but nothing has happened. We must realize that we have only just cleaned the front of our condenser. The condenser is about 5 inches thick, and over many years dust gets trapped inside of it. A professional appliance technician would now use a nitrogen tank with a hose attached to  a regulator to blow out the condenser of all dust and debris. A homeowner has no use for a tank of nitrogen and a regulator. Below is a home owners list of supplies to purchase that will benefit you long term, not only for cleaning your sub-zero condenser, but many household tasks.

Supply List:

Use the Compressor to “blow out” the condenser, Wear a dust mask and have a vacuum ready on the opposite side of the condenser where the fan motor sits to collect the dust. Run the vacuum, cover the mechanical cavity with a towel, and blow air through the condenser. Be amazed at how much dust comes out. If dust is still present due to it being sticky, use the copper brush to scrape the condenser in a vertical motion. This is an “advanced condenser cleaning.”

Check out how I clean a condenser, the advanced way!

Isolating Issues and Identifying Problems With A Routine System Check

Difficulty: Easy. 

Tools Required: 

So, our condenser is sparkling clean and we are still having the same issue we started off with. Have no fear, we should now perform a general systems check. For the sake of learning and understanding the system as much as possible, I will start with an old fashioned analog systems check. There are much more advanced ways of doing this now-a-days and I wouldn’t even bother taking apart the newest units to do this as most of their data is stored in the CPU. For the sake of our tutorial lets start with a 500 or 600 Series unit. The procedure will be the same. 

Let us start by removing our grill and baffle and getting a visual of our mechanical shelf which houses our compressors and fan motor. If there is a particular section of sub-zero giving you the issue we will first focus on that section only. IE, if your refrigerator is at 60 degrees and your freezer is holding steady, we will focus on the refrigerator components. Most units have two compressors, one for the freezer and one for the refrigerator. The freezer compressor is usually twice the size of the smaller refrigerator compressor and is easily discernible. 

  1. Is my compressor being supplied with power and is it currently running?
  2. Is my condenser fan spinning?
  3. Is my interior evaporator fan spinning?
  4. Does my door close well? Are my door gaskets torn all the way through?
  5. Do my lights go off and my fan go on when I close my door?
  6. Do I have any frost or ice building up on the inside of my unit? 
  7. Does my machines freezer defrost heaters work?  

Watch This Video of a Routine Systems Check