Refrigerators are sturdy appliances that can last for decades with only a few minor repairs. But one of the most breakable aspects of a refrigerator is the handles. Your refrigerator handles see a great deal of use, every time you open or close the fridge. So it should come as no surprise when one eventually cracks or comes permanently loose in a way that requires you to replace them. Or perhaps your refrigerator handles are just so scuffed that the whole appliance would look better with a new set.
Today, we’re here talking about french door refrigerator handles. These are sometimes also called double-door fridges, side-by-side fridges, or upright refrigerators to differentiate them from other models. French door refrigerators are quite popular and the good news is that changing out the handles is remarkably easy. If you know what you’re doing. However, to get started, you have to know about the trim.
1) Gather Your Supplies
This repair is quick and easy. You don’t even need to unplug your refrigerator because the door handles are in no way connected to the electrical components. All you need to replace your door handles are the replacement handles and both types of screwdriver. Be absolutely certain of your fridge’s make and model, and of the right replacement part number, before buying your replacement door handles.
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Surface Cleaner
- Replacement Door Handles
2) Remove the Trim
The secret to replacing your french door fridge handles is in the trim. The first step is to remove the trim and reveal the mounting screws that are usually hidden for aesthetic purposes. For a vertical or french door model. there are four pieces of trim. One above and one below each door handle.
- Push Up on the Top Trim
The trim hides the mounting screws for the handles. To start, press up toward the ceiling on the trim above each handle. It might slight upward freely but if it doesn’t, don’t worry yet.
- Push Down on the Bottom Trim
Make the same movement on the trim below the handles, only push downward toward the floor. If it doesn’t come loose, don’t worry.
- Pry As Necessary
If any of the 4 pieces of trim doesn’t budge, use your flat screwdriver to pry them away from the handles in the correct direction. Once they pop away, you should be able to push the trim upward or downward and release it.
- Remove the Trim
When the trim is free, lift or lower, then pull it away. You will see the slotted mounting brackets on the inside. Set the trim aside for now, unless you have new trim.
3) Unfasten the Door Handles
Because the trim has revealed the mounting screws, you are now able to unfasten and remove your old broken door handles. For most models, these screws require a Phillips head screwdriver but not all models are the same and you may need to check your toolkit for the right driver.
- Remove the Mounting Screws
The door handle screws should now be exposed. Use your Phillips screwdriver to remove the four mounting screws per handle. You should notice the handles coming loose as you complete this task.
- Take the Old Handles Away
Pull the handles directly away from the fridge and set them aside. Take the mounting screws, you’ll need them in a moment.
- Clean the Surface
With your surface cleaner, wipe down the space where your door handles and trim used to be. This is a good practice any time you replace an exterior non-electrical part.
4) Install the New Handles
The new handle should match the make, model, and replacement part number of your refrigerator perfectly. While there is some crossover in sizing and replacement parts, the best fit and the only guarantee will come with following the manual. Make sure you have the correct replacement handle and get ready to install it.
- Align the Handles
Pick up your new door handles and make sure that all the packaging is fully removed. Then align the handles with the mounting brackets on each refrigerator door. Make sure they are facing the correct way up.
- Fasten the Mounting Screws
Place and fasten the 4 mounting screws per handle. Tighten them when all four screws are aligned to ensure the handle fits correctly into place.
5) Return the Trim
Finally, you’re ready to put back on the decorative pieces that hide the entire mounting assembly. Once you reinstall the trim, the repair will be complete and your kitchen will look as seamless and shiny as it did before your fridge handle broke.
- Align Brackets with Mounting Pins
Now to replace the trim. Align each piece of trim so that the mounting ins fit into the slotted brackets on their backs. Be sure that you’re placing the correct piece of trim for each segment.
- Align the Inner Tip With Handle Grooves
The trim should slide into place. As the trim is sliding toward the handle, make sure that the inner tip slides over the grooves in the handle end. This is what will make your fridge look as seamless as it did before this repair.
- Press Down on Top Trip
Press down to lock the trim above each handle into place. You should hear a soft click as the plastic settles home.
- Press Up on Bottom Trim
Press up to lock the trim below each handle into place. Again, you should hear a soft click.
6) Enjoy Your Handles
Congratulations. You have just completed the full replacement of your french door refrigerator’s handles. You can now return to enjoying your fridge freely. Give it a few test-swings to confirm that each handle has set firmly and that the trim looks natural set back into place. With this trick under your belt, you’ll be able to reveal the secret hiding place of fridge mounting screws to anyone with french doors and a screwdriver. For more insights into appliance repairs and how to do them safely step by step, contact us today!