Question about Whirlpool GD5SHAX Side by Side Refrigerator

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Stopped cooling My Whirlpool Refrigerator just all of a sudden stopped cooling and all of our food was ruined. The refrigerator was still running so it was not a breaker that had flipped. I didn't see any ice on coils that needed to be defrosted. What would be my next step?

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  • 10,865 Answers

First, check to see if the light comes on or if there is any fan, motor, or other sound coming from the appliance? If so, the refrigerator isn't really completely stopped--go to the specific problem you are having. If not, try adjusting the thermostat to a colder setting. If that doesn't work, read on.

Second, check to see if there is power getting to the refrigerator. To do that, plug a lamp or other device into the same outlet the refrigerator is plugged into. If there's no power, check the fuses or circuit breakers. If the fuses or breakers aren't the problem, contact a qualified electrician to restore power to the outlet.

If there is power to the appliance but it still seems to be stopped, there may be a problem in one or more of these:

  • Wiring

  • Thermostat

  • Defrost timer

  • Compressor

  • Overload and/or relay

Unfortunately, we can't describe all of the possible problems and repair solutions here. If you are unable to troubleshoot the problem from here, you may need to contact a qualified appliance repair technician.

It's not cool If the refrigerator isn't cool, you need to answer some questions, then see if the compressor is running.

First, answer these questions:

  • Is the refrigerator completely dead? If so, see “It's stopped completely.”

  • Is the thermostat knob turned to the proper setting? If not, reset it.

Next, see if the compressor motor is running

The compressor is a football-sized case with no apparent moving parts. It's on the outside of the refrigerator at the back near the bottom. If it is humming or making a continuous noise and your refrigerator is still not cooling, there may be a more serious problem with one or more of several different components, we recommend contacting a qualified appliance repair technician for further help.

If the compressor is not running but you do have power to the refrigerator, there may be a problem with one or more of these:

  • The compressor

  • The Thermostat

  • The overload, relay, or capacitor

  • The defrost timer

  • The condenser fan motor

Cooling is poor For an overall understanding of how refrigerators should work, read about refrigerators in the How Things Work section of our website. A refrigerator or freezer that is cooling, but cooling poorly, may have a problem in one of several areas:

Evaporator coils
Condenser
Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils or a condenser that is clogged with dust, lint, and dirt.

Evaporator coils Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils. You can't see these coils without removing a panel on the inside of your freezer. A sure sign that there is a build-up is the presence of any frost or ice build-up on the inside walls, floor, or ceiling of the freezer. Such a frost build-up usually indicates a problem in the self-defrosting system or damaged door gaskets.

The refrigerator is supposed to self-defrost approximately four times in every 24 hour period. If one of the components in the self-defrosting system fails, the refrigerator continues to try to cool. Eventually, though, so much frost builds up on the evaporator coils that the circulating fan can't draw air over the coils. There may still be a small amount of cooling because the coils are icy, but with no air flow over the coils, cooling in the refrigerator compartment is quite limited.

Here's an inexpensive, though inconvenient, way to determine if the problem is with the self-defrosting system. Remove all of the perishable food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn the thermostat in the refrigerator to Off, and leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours. (Be sure to have several towels ready in case the melting frost and ice causes the drip pan to overflow). This allows the refrigerator to defrost "manually." When the frost and ice build-up has completely melted away, turn the thermostat back to a normal setting. If the refrigerator then cools properly, it indicates a problem with one of three components in the self-defrosting system:

  • The defrost timer

  • The defrost thermostat (also called the bi-metal switch)

  • The defrost heater

If it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level or the compressor. You may need to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to further diagnose the problem

Condenser Self-defrosting refrigerators all have a set of coils and a cooling fan, usually under the refrigerator, that need to be cleaned regularly. If these coils get coated with dust, dirt or lint, the refrigerator may not cool properly. The coils may appear to be a thin, black, wide radiator-like device behind the lower kick-panel. To clean them, disconnect the refrigerator from the power source, use a refrigerator condenser brush (see the Appliance Accessories section) and your vacuum cleaner to clean the coils of any lint, pet hair, etc. You may not be able to get to all of the condenser from the front, it may be necessary to clean the remainder of the condenser from the rear of the refrigerator.


Posted on May 23, 2009

  • Joe Hogan May 23, 2009




    First, check to see if the light comes on or if there is any fan, motor, or other sound coming from the appliance? If so, the refrigerator isn't really completely stopped--go to the specific problem you are having. If not, try adjusting the thermostat to a colder setting. If that doesn't work, read on.

    Second, check to see if there is power getting to the refrigerator. To do that, plug a lamp or other device into the same outlet the refrigerator is plugged into. If there's no power, check the fuses or circuit breakers. If the fuses or breakers aren't the problem, contact a qualified electrician to restore power to the outlet.

    If there is power to the appliance but it still seems to be stopped, there may be a problem in one or more of these:



    • Wiring


    • Thermostat


    • Defrost timer


    • Compressor


    • Overload and/or relay

    Unfortunately, we can't describe all of the possible problems and repair solutions here. If you are unable to troubleshoot the problem from here, you may need to contact a qualified appliance repair technician.





    It's not cool

    If the refrigerator isn't cool, you need to answer some questions, then see if the compressor is running.

    First, answer these questions:



    • Is the refrigerator completely dead? If so, see “It's stopped completely.”


    • Is the thermostat knob turned to the proper setting? If not, reset it.

    Next, see if the compressor motor is running

    The compressor is a football-sized case with no apparent moving parts. It's on the outside of the refrigerator at the back near the bottom. If it is humming or making a continuous noise and your refrigerator is still not cooling, there may be a more serious problem with one or more of several different components, we recommend contacting a qualified appliance repair technician for further help.

    If the compressor is not running but you do have power to the refrigerator, there may be a problem with one or more of these:



    • The compressor


    • The Thermostat


    • The overload, relay, or capacitor


    • The defrost timer


    • The condenser fan motor







    Cooling is poor

    For an overall understanding of how refrigerators should work, read about refrigerators in the How Things Work section of our website. A refrigerator or freezer that is cooling, but cooling poorly, may have a problem in one of several areas:

    Evaporator coils
    Condenser
    Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils or a condenser that is clogged with dust, lint, and dirt.





    Evaporator coils

    Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils. You can't see these coils without removing a panel on the inside of your freezer. A sure sign that there is a build-up is the presence of any frost or ice build-up on the inside walls, floor, or ceiling of the freezer. Such a frost build-up usually indicates a problem in the self-defrosting system or damaged door gaskets.

    The refrigerator is supposed to self-defrost approximately four times in every 24 hour period. If one of the components in the self-defrosting system fails, the refrigerator continues to try to cool. Eventually, though, so much frost builds up on the evaporator coils that the circulating fan can't draw air over the coils. There may still be a small amount of cooling because the coils are icy, but with no air flow over the coils, cooling in the refrigerator compartment is quite limited.

    Here's an inexpensive, though inconvenient, way to determine if the problem is with the self-defrosting system. Remove all of the perishable food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn the thermostat in the refrigerator to Off, and leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours. (Be sure to have several towels ready in case the melting frost and ice causes the drip pan to overflow). This allows the refrigerator to defrost "manually." When the frost and ice build-up has completely melted away, turn the thermostat back to a normal setting. If the refrigerator then cools properly, it indicates a problem with one of three components in the self-defrosting system:



    • The defrost timer


    • The defrost thermostat (also called the bi-metal switch)


    • The defrost heater

    If it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level or the compressor. You may need to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to further diagnose the problem





    Condenser

    Self-defrosting refrigerators all have a set of coils and a cooling fan, usually under the refrigerator, that need to be cleaned regularly. If these coils get coated with dust, dirt or lint, the refrigerator may not cool properly. The coils may appear to be a thin, black, wide radiator-like device behind the lower kick-panel. To clean them, disconnect the refrigerator from the power source, use a refrigerator condenser brush (see the Appliance Accessories section) and your vacuum cleaner to clean the coils of any lint, pet hair, etc. You may not be able to get to all of the condenser from the front, it may be necessary to clean the remainder of the condenser from the rear of the refrigerator.




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