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Fridge wont stay cold. Freezer is cold. I tried to clean the coils but could only reach the front.

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The fridge gets its cold air from the freezer through a vent(damper) between the freezer and fridge.The fan in the freezer blows air through it. Make sure this fan is running. You may have to hold the door switch in for it to run. There is a flap you adjust with the fridge temp. control. Make sure it's opening and closing when you adjust the fridge temp.
The problem could be the electronic control if you have one or the mechanical linkages.
OR

The evaporator coil behind the cover on the back wall inside the freezer will ice up under normal conditions. Every 8 to 10 hours for around 20 minutes the defrost timer (or in most newer models the electronic adaptive defrost control) will turn the defrost heater on to melt the built up ice. There is a defrost thermostat which prevents the heater from overheating the freezer by breaking the heater circuit when the temp reaches close to 32 degrees F. The entire cooling system shuts off during the defrost cycle and starts back when the timer advances through the cycle.

If this ice is not melted it will continue to build up until the air can’t flow over the coil to circulate the cold air through the freezer and into the fridge. The temperature change in the fridge is usually noticed first followed by the freezer.

If the defrost thermostat is bad it can prevent the heater from coming on OR it won’t turn the heater off when it gets too warm. It is clamped to the evaporator coil at the top to sense the temp. If it appears to be misshapen it is bad.
With an ohm meter it should show continuity when cold and none when warm.
You can also bypass the thermostat to see if the heater comes on then. If it does then you know the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.

The defrost heater is located on the evaporator. It is in a tube which is at the bottom and can also go up the sides of the evaporator. On some types you can see a burnt spot if it’s bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity from end to end when disconnected from the wiring in the freezer. You can also test the wiring for voltage when it’s in the defrost mode.

If you have a defrost timer you can test it. It can be located under the fridge behind the kick panel on the front. Some are in the fridge with the controls at the top. You can turn the defrost timer till it clicks and everything shuts down. The heater should now come on. If it does, replace the timer because that means the timer is not running. If it doesn't, check the heater and defrost thermostat. Turn the timer again till everything starts back up to end the defrost cycle.

If you have an adaptive defrost control instead of a timer, replace it if the heater and thermostat test good. It is located in the fridge with the controls in some models and on the back in others.

If you need help finding your model number see here> http://www.appliancepartspros.com/modelnumber_locator.aspx

To locate your timer, motherboard, control or adaptive defrost control , enter your model number and search for the part or post back on Fixya.
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdirect/index.action?psid=26129238&sid=PSx20071217x00001a

Posted on Oct 06, 2009

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1 Answer

Freezer only gets down to around 18 degrees but fridge is fine. No frost on the freezer evaporator fan is running


Modern consumer refrigerators only have coils in the freezer. In the lower back of the freezer there is a small fan and possible a damper (flap that opens/closes) to push cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator. Given that the freezer is 18 deg, it's probably cold enough to keep the fridge area at typically 34 deg.
So the cooling system (compressor, coils, thermostat) are not working properly to keep the freezer at, typically 0 deg. Possible causes: partial loss of refrigerant gas, icing around evaporator coils (in freezer), compressor failing, dust clogging condenser coils (under fridge), condenser fan clogged or broken (under fridge), thermostat failure.
I'd start with condenser. Remove the slotted trim at the bottom front and look in with a flashlight. Are the coils clean? Pull out the fridge and remove the lower back cover (usually cardboard). You can now see the coils and fan. Clean and blow them out.
If it's icing, it probably means freezer door not closing tight. If auto-defrost not working properly it would probably get worse over the period of a few days so not likely.

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http://www.partselect.com/Schematics/GE/00113789i02.gif
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Check out these tips...they can help you figure out whats going wrong with your refrigerator and why it is not cooling

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