You reach into the fridge for your favorite chilled beverage, only to find it’s lukewarm. What’s wrong with the refrigerator?
Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to a fridge cooling malfunction. Refrigerators are becoming ever more complex pieces of equipment and there are a number of issues that can cause your refrigerator to not cool sufficiently.
Refrigerator Cooling Malfunction Checklist
Before you call for refrigerator repair, check the following:
- Check to make sure nothing inside the fridge is blocking the door from fully closing and sealing.
- Check to see if any large food containers are pressed against the back wall of the refrigerator, blocking air flow.
- Determine if it’s just the fridge that’s warmer than it should be. If the freezer is warmer too, first listen for a few minutes to see if you can hear the compressor kick on.
- If the compressor is running, first check the temperature control settings. Some models have a dial allowing more or less of the cold air to be shunted to the freezer. Kids sometimes fiddle with them, or they can be bumped into another position, depending on where they’re located.
- If the compressor is running, and temperature control settings are in normal positions, check the coils (underneath the food storage compartments on some models; on the back on others). If they are dirty, vacuum the coils. If they are frozen over, call a professional refrigerator repair technician; this indicates a part failure. Unplug the refrigerator before cleaning the coils and plug it back in when you’re done.
- Evaluate how full the refrigerator is. A fridge that is almost empty and opened frequently is harder to cool, because food itself helps keep the refrigerator cool and moderates temperature swings from cold air escaping every time the door is opened.
If none of these are causing the problem, it’s time to call professional appliance repair technicians.
Common Issues Requiring Professional Refrigerator Repair
The following part malfunctions can prevent your refrigerator from cooling properly. A certified refrigerator repair technician will diagnose the problem by examining the following components:
- Defrost heater assembly: The defrost heater prevents the coils from frosting over, so air can freely pass over and between them.
- Evaporator fan motor: The evaporator fan draws cold air over the coils and circulates it through the food storage compartment. If the motor is malfunctioning and failing to turn the fan or failing to turn it at the proper speed, less or no cold air will reach the food compartment.
- Damper control assembly: The air damper controls the amount of cool air entering the refrigerator. If it is broken or stuck, it can prevent cold air from reaching the food compartment.
- Thermistor: The thermistor monitors the refrigerator temperature and sends the reading to the control board, which regulates power to the compressor and evaporator fan based on thermistor readings. If it is defective, the compressor and evaporator fan may not run when needed.
- Temperature control board: The temperature control board provides voltage to the compressor and fan motors. If it is faulty or malfunctioning, it may stop sending voltage to the compressor or fan motors.
- Defrost control board: The defrost control board controls the refrigerator’s defrost cycle; if it is defective, frost will accumulate on the coils and the refrigerator will have to work harder to remove heat, and ultimately may be too warm.
- Defrost timer: The defrost timer regulates the defrost heater; if it is faulty the coils can frost over.
- Defrost thermostat: The defrost thermostat monitors temperature of the coils; when they drop below a set temperature, the thermostat contacts close, allowing power to flow to the defrost heater, which melts any frost that may have accumulated on the coils. If the defrost thermostat is defective, the thermostat contacts will not close, and no power can flow to the defrost heater.
- Main control board: The main control board is the refrigerator’s nerve center, controlling all the various systems. It is usually not the cause of refrigerator malfunctions.
- Compressor: The compressor is essentially what “makes” cold air by compressing coolant and squeezing heat out of it in the process, so if it’s shot or malfunctioning, the problem isn’t that cold air can’t reach the fridge – it’s that cold air isn’t being generated.
As you can see, your refrigerator problem may be caused by a number of different part failures; a certified refrigeration technician has the tools to easily diagnose the problem and the training to replace faulty parts. If you’re in need of refrigerator repair in Little Rock or central Arkansas, contact Central One Service. We’ve got almost 40 years of experience in professional refrigerator repair.