Problems When the Refrigerator Is Not Cold

Written by misty faucheux
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Problems When the Refrigerator Is Not Cold
Fix cooling problems and avoid waiting for service. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

When your refrigerator is working properly, it extends the life of your food by keeping it cold. If it's not working properly, however, your refrigerator won't stay cold, causing your food to go bad. While different model refrigerators have different features, they all have the same basic components and work in similar fashion. Repair cooling problems that are common to all models and avoid service fees.

No Power

If your refrigerator is turning on at all, check that you have turned the control knob to the "On" position. See if the power is on and if the power cord fits snugly into the outlet. Test the outlet with another appliance to see if the outlet is working. Your home has either two fuses or a circuit breaker. Examine the fuses, and change out any ones that are black or broken. Reset the circuit breaker if it was tripped. If your refrigerator still won't turn on, you have a problem with a component like the compressor, wiring or thermostat. Contact a service technician for assistance.

Cooling Poorly

If your refrigerator is running, but is not getting cold enough, make sure that nothing is blocking the air grille. Generally, this component is located in the back of the refrigerator. Move anything that is blocking the grille. Check the evaporator coils, the condenser coils and the condenser. Clean off any frost or lint caught in these components. If the evaporator coils have frost on them, you may have an issue with your self-defrost system. Test the system by removing everything from the refrigerator and it turning off. Leave the doors open. Allow up to 48 hours for the frost to melt. Turn the unit back on. If it works properly, you have an issue with the defrost thermostat, heater or timer.

Warm Interior

Your refrigerator will get too warm if you leave the doors open. Refrain from opening the doors too often and leaving them open. If the doors are not closing properly, make sure that nothing is keeping them from closing, such as bins or food. Check the door gaskets, and clean them if they are sticky or have food on them. Replace the door gaskets if they are falling off. Allow up to four hours for the refrigerator to cool down if you just plugged it in or added a lot of food. The compressor is located on the back of the refrigerator. If it's extremely noisy or not running at all, replace it. Turn the refrigerator thermostat to a lower setting.

Turning Off and On

Your refrigerator normally turns on and off on extremely warm and humid days. This helps keep the interior cool. Check that the doors are closing completely. Raise your set point if your refrigerator is too cool or the set point is too extreme. This can cause your refrigerator to not cycle off. If raising your thermostat doesn't shut off the motor, then you have a problem with your thermostat. Replace it.

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