Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
If the mullion (rail between the fresh food section and the freezer section) on your refrigerator is hotter than normal this tip will help identify and remedy the issue hopefully before it gets to the point of loosing the cooling.
Refrigerated surfaces will attract moisture, especially in the warmer more humid areas and times of year. Since the refrigerator and freezer are cold moisture can accumulate near the door from normal use, this moisture can get into the door seals and cause them to not seal properly, mold and otherwise cause a nuisance.
To keep the moisture from accumulating on this surface the refrigerator manufactures have run part of the hot condenser tubing inside the cabinet close to that rail, under normal running circumstances this rail will be slightly above room temperature and the amount of heat not noticeable. The condenser is the set of coils that are on the back or bottom of the refrigerator and disperse the heat from the unit. If the condenser is very dirty or the fan that keeps the condenser cool is not running then the condenser coils and thus the mullion (rail) gets very hot and overheats. This heat will eventually cause the compressor to work harder and possibly overheat and turn off occasionally to cool itself. This will lead to reduced cooling in the freezer and refrigerator.
Fix: If the coils are under the refrigerator, pull the front grille off of the bottom, check if you feel air coming out, if not then the fan is not running, look for dust and dirt build up on the coils, clean with a brush and vacuum, do not be afraid to get aggressive with the brush. If the fan is not running you will need to go to the back of the refrigerator and unplug the power cord. Remove the back panel off the bottom and you should see the fan. It may have some dust or other debris blocking the fan blade from turning. If so clean that out very good, clean the coils from the back if accessible also. Be sure to put the back panel on as it is there to direct the air flow across the compressor and coils, without that panel the condenser will overheat.
If the fan does not run after cleaning it you will need to replace the fan motor, it is a common part that should be available at most retail appliance part dealers. Just be sure to get your model and serial number before calling.
Posted by Philip on
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