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Refrigerator Adjusting Temperature Controls. At initial startup both fresh food and freezer controls should be set at the normal setting or mid point settings. Temperature controls can be found in the back of the fresh food compartment, near the top of the fresh food compartment, or on the dispenser panel.
Open the fresh food compartment and locate the two temperature control dials. Each dial is labeled for the compartment that it controls.
Rotate the dial to increase the temperature setting by one to lower the temperature of the compartment. Rotate the dial to decrease the temperature setting by one to raise the temperature of the compartment.
Wait 12 hours to allow the temperature in the compartment to stabilize before increasing or decreasing the temperature further.
Make sure the freezer drawer and the refrigerator door are shutting properly. Sounds like air is getting in causing the frosty crust. Also be sure to reset the controls back to the original mid-way settings and allow a day or so for it to balance, if you have turned the fresh food compartment down to a lower temp it may cause a similar condition.
Many residential refrigerator / freezers are designed to work at temperature considerably above above freezing. Most modern refrigerator / freezer have a single electric thermostat - located in the fresh food compartment. This lone thermostat will control the compressor to keep the fridge (fresh food) section at the desired temperature (usually between 34 - 38 degrees F). The freezer will get colder regardless of how cold it is already whenever the fridge thermostat turns the compressor on.
Now that you see how the thermostat works, let's look at what happens when the fridge is placed in an unheated space - like a garage. In winter time, the temperature can drop considerably below 38 degrees. If the outdoor temperature remains cold enough, for long enough - it will affect the thermostat in the fridge. The temperature inside the fridge could drop below 38 degrees, preventing the thermostat from telling the compressor to turn on. Meanwhile, the temperature in the freezer compartment slowly rises from the normal -10 to 0 F degrees. It will continue to rise until it is the same temperature as the fresh food compartment or until the thermostat in the fresh food compartment tells the compressor to turn on again. This means the freezer contents will thaw.
If the temperature in the garage is even in the 40 to 50 degree range, the loss of cold in the fridge may not happen often enough to keep the compressor coming on often enough to keep some freezer items frozen solid - such as ice cream. Remember, water freezes at 32 degrees F, other products may require lower temperatures to remain frozen, and could thaw at 28 or other temperature.
The settings are "relative". Someone with this fridge in Montana may need to run the same fridge with different settings than someone in Texas to get the same temperatures.
Many manufacturers recommend that the fresh food compartment should be 34 degrees F, and the freezer -10 to 0 degrees F. To set this properly, place a thermometer in the freezer (that can display temperatures as low as the desired temperature). Adjust the thermometer for the correct freezer temperature before going on to the fridge. A fully stocked freezer could take 12 hours or more for temperatures to stabilize after making changes to the thermostat. Once the -10 to 0 degree temperature has been achieved, set the fresh food compartment temperature.
Place a thermometer (that can display below freezing) in a 6 (or so) oz flexible plastic cup of water and place on a shelf in the fridge. A glass of water could break if the temperature gets below 32 degrees if the water turns to ice. The water acts as a buffer to rapidly changing temperatures when the door is opened to read the thermometer. If the fridge is "full", allow 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize before making changes.
If the fridge and freezer are empty, changes may be seen in just a few hours or less. Otherwise, wait the 12 / 24 hours for the freezer / fridge compartments.
The factory presets your temperatures to the MID / MID setting of 0? for the freezer and 37? for the refrigerator. Refrigerator adjustment range is -15? to +15? in the freezer and 33? to 47? in the refrigerator. Depending on ambient temperatures the temperatures will be + or - 6? the set point. Whenever you make a temperature adjustment, you need to wait 24 hours to notice any temperature difference.
To adjust your temperatures: Adjust controls according to your Use and Care guide. Start out by making sure your settings are at the factory setting of MID / MID. Make only one adjustment: Adjust one control and wait 24 hours before making another adjustment.
To measure temperatures: If you try to measure temperatures, it is important to follow these directions: Fresh Food Section: Put thermometer in a glass of water. Check the temperature during the first door opening after a long (8+hours) non-usage period (such as overnight or when you arrive home from work). Frozen Food Section: Put thermometer between two bags of vegetables. Check the temperature during the first door opening after a long (8+hours) non-usage period (such as overnight or when you arrive home from work). For more information it may be helpful to look at http://www.whirlpool.com/ or contact your local whirlpool support number
* the "damper control assembly", which is located in the upper left side of the fresh food compartment. This control regulates the amount of cold air originating from the freezer compartment that enters the fresh food compartment.
* there may be an issue with the "fresh food temperature control assembly"
Check the temperature settings in the fresh food compartment (should be located up front). I recommend the "one-half way mark" for both freezer and fresh food compartments.
The compressor is cycled on/off by the fresh food temperature setting. The freezer setting controls a panel, or door if you will, that allows cold air to be blown into the freezer.
Since both compartments are getting too cold, the most likely culprit is the fresh food thermostat control, since it controls the compressor cycle. Try setting it to a higher setting, even if it's above normal. Use a manual thermometer to check the temperature of the fresh food compartment and compare it to the control setting. The readings should be the same or very nearly the same.
I assume your refrigerator is controlled by a solid state controller (i.e. a printed circuit board). Some of these allow for calibration of the thermostat to coincide with the actual temperature of the fresh food compartment. That would most likely have to be done by a service technician unless you have expertise in the field.
If calibration is not an option, if you can live with the thermostat setting not reflecting the actual temperature, a free fix is to simply set it higher than you actually want it to be, recognizing that the actual temperature is 'X' degrees lower than the thermostat setting.
The freezer compartment temperature will be similarly affected, and can be controlled by the freezer temp setting, which is actually nothing more than setting the position of the panel which allows or restricts air from being blown into the fresh food compartment from the freezer. Again, the compressor is cycled on and off by the thermostat in the FRESH FOOD compartment which gets its cold air from the freezer compartment.