Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
If your refrigerator runs but it does not get cold, follow these steps to determine the cause and implement a repair.
There are three common causes of this problem. First, the fan in the freezer is not working. Second, the coils in the freezer are frozen with ice. Lastly, the freon may have leaked out of the system.
Solution #1: When the compressor is running (you can hear it), open the freezer and listen for the fan running. It is usually located in the back of the freezer near the top. You can see an opening in the back panel where the air comes out. Hold your hand over the opening to feel for air flow. If there is no air flow or you cannot hear the fan running, this is your problem. Double check with a volt meter to be sure. You can access the fan by removing the back panel from the freezer. With the compressor running, touch the leads on your voltmeter to the terminals on the fan. If you have line voltage, then the fan is bad and must be replaced. You can purchase a new fan at an appliance parts store or an internet parts store. Get the model number from the inside wall of the refrigerator so you can search for parts for your refrigerator.
Solution #2: Remove the rear panel from the freezer. Look if the coils are frozen with ice. If they are, turn the refrigerator off and thaw all of the ice. After reinstalling the rear panel, the refrigerator/freezer will get cold again. In some cases, the problem will reoccur within a few days because of a problem in the defrost circuit. At this point, it will be necessary to get a copy of the wiring diagram for your refrigerator from the manufacturer and test the defrost timer, defrost heater, and defrost temperature sensor. Replacement parts are available from appliance stores. Have your model number handy in order to search for the parts you need. They will have exploded view drawings of your refrigerator to help you locate the component you need.
Solution #3: Remove the rear panel from the freezer to expose the coils. Touch the coils with the compressor running. If they are not cold to the touch, the freon has leaked out or there is a problem with the compressor. It is not a good idea to repair a refrigerator in this case. The repair could cost as much as a new refrigerator, and specialized tools are required.
Posted by David... on
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