With every previous fridge we owned, replacing the light bulb was as simple as removing the cover and inserting a new 15W SES appliance bulb. When the bulb blew in our Samsung fridge freezer (model RL38SCTB), it was a rather surprising challenge to replace.
The cover is tricky to remove and the lamp holder base is recessed. Its 40-watt bulb is smaller than a typical GLS size. Even with a bulb that screws in, it may not even light! The instruction manual was anything but helpful, advising to get a service engineer to replace the interior bulb.
Before we get started, we need the following tools:
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Long nose pliers
Before sourcing a replacement light bulb, I recommend removing the failed light bulb to check its base type and dimensions. Before proceeding, unplug the fridge and remove all items from the top shelf.
Removing the lamp cover
To remove the cover, push the bottom tab up with a flat-blade screwdriver (1), then pull the cover out (2):
Choosing the right light bulb
The original bulb from our fridge is 9cm long and 5cm wide. The base is recessed, so the new bulb cannot be any wider than 3cm for about 1cm above the base. For example, a typical golf ball bulb will not fit. If the bulb is longer than 9cm, the lamp cover will not fit.
After looking for potential replacements, I found two LED bulbs that should fit. The Osram “Star Classic” 6W E27 LED bulb and the Philips Lustre 6W. I chose the Osram 6W as it was cheaper. Both bulbs claim to be the equivalent of a 40W incandescent light bulb.
The following image gives a comparison of the Osram bulb to the original fridge bulb (middle) and a standard GLS size LED bulb (right):
When I screwed in the new Osram bulb, it would not light. When I tried it in a table lamp, it lit up fine. Upon closer inspection of the base against the failed bulb, the genuine bulb has a slightly pointer tip, as shown to the left. As a result, the tip did not reach the metal contact inside the lamp holder.
To overcome this, I used a pliers to pull the metal contact out a little, as indicated by the red arrow below.
Caution: Make sure the fridge is unplugged first!
Switching on the light
Close the fridge door and plug in the fridge. Wait about 30 seconds before opening the fridge door. If the fridge door is open while plugging it in, it will not power the bulb. Finally, fit the lamp cover by sliding it directly to the back until it snaps in place.
The following shows our fridge lit with the Osram 6W bulb. It appears to light the fridge just as evenly and bright as the original bulb.