And cools poorly. What can be done?
If the refrigerator's light works and you can hear it running but it cools poorly or runs without stopping, any of several problems may be at fault. First, make sure nothing is blocking the passageway between the freezer and 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, and the room temperature is hot. If your refrigerator runs without stopping (unless you turn it off), it may be low on refrigerant. Without a full charge, it 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. If this is the case, the thermostat may be 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 repair person. During the repair, it is a good idea to have the defrost timer and heaters checked to ensure that 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, so clean them. 4) Make sure that the drain line under the evaporator coils, which goes to a pan underneath, is not plugged (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; do not stand in a puddle of water--there is a serious danger of electrical shock! Also be careful not to melt the plastic parts.
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