Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
If the refrigerator’s light works and you can hear the refrigerator running but it cools poorly or does not stop running, make sure nothing is blocking the passageway between the freezer and the refrigerator compartments. If airflow is restricted by, for example, a loaf of bread situated in front of the passageway, the refrigerator won’t get cold. Be aware that a refrigerator will tend to run longer when it’s full of food, the door is opened frequently, or the room temperature is hot.If your refrigerator runs without stopping, it may be low on refrigerant and cannot reach the low temperature that the cold control dial summons. More likely, it is a defrost problem in which a component in the automatic defrosting system is faulty. This could be a defrost heater, a defrost timer, or a defrost terminator.
Before you call a repairperson, do the following:
1) Determine whether the refrigerator section is being cooled. If you see frost at the top of a “frost-free” refrigerator even when the cold control is set low, it means the refrigerator probably has a full charge of refrigerant and it is the thermostat that is faulty or out of calibration.
2) Try turning the cold control both up and down. If the compressor doesn’t shut off, the cold control may be broken. Call a repairperson. During the repair, it is a good idea to have the defrost timer and heaters checked to ensure they are working correctly.
3) Look at the condenser coils, located at the bottom of the refrigerator (behind the kick plate) or, in some cases, at the back. These coils disperse heat from inside the refrigerator out into the room with the aid of a fan. If the coils are dirty, the refrigerator won’t operate efficiently. You must clean them regularly.
4) Make sure the drain line under the evaporator coils, which goes to a pan underneath, is not plugged up (water should drip into the pan when the refrigerator is defrosting).
5) To put off having the refrigerator repaired for a few days, you may be able to defrost it manually with a hair dryer—if you can access the cooling coils in the freezer section. Excessive moisture in the coils can turn into a frozen mass, reducing efficiency. Be very careful when using the hair dryer near a water source as there is a serious risk of electrical shock. Also be careful not to melt the plastic parts.
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