- Fantastic Team
- 9min read
- Published: June 4, 2019
- Views: 114
Fridge not cooling: causes and how to fix them
Imagine the following scenario:
You’ve just finished a long day at work, got home and decided to open yourself a nice, cold beer. You pull the door of your fridge and grab the bottle of bubbly goodness. But wait. What is this? Why is your beer…
Breathe. This is only just a story. Still, if you are:
- experiencing a situation, in which your fridge doesn’t want to cooperate, but your freezer continues to do so,
- wondering how come that the light in your appliance still works, when your fridge is broken,
- just not a fan of warm beer
…we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we are going to discuss all the possible causes for your refrigerated food and drinks being at room temperature and going off in a matter of days. You’ll also learn how to identify any potential issues and deal with them.
Reasons for fridge not cooling
So, let’s see why your appliance might be underperforming or not working as it should. Look at the most common causes for your fridge not cooling properly:
- Power-related problems – is the power cord intact or the device plugged correctly?
- Door issues – damaged door switch or gaskets result in your fridge not cooling efficiently.
- Condenser coils – the coils need to be clean for the fridge to function correctly.
- Problems with the fan(s) – mechanical problems or dust issues with the condenser fan (if there’s one) and the evaporator fan may be the cause for your fridge freezer not cooling properly.
- Bad air flow – overfilled or completely empty fridges won’t be cooling the way they should and will be less energy-efficient. Blocked vents – if the vents are obstructed, this will also affect your refrigerator’s performance.
- The thermostat – if the fridge compressor is running but not cooling, the cold controls could have been tampered with.
How to fix these common problems
One of the first things that you should check is whether or not your fridge has power. This may sound like a no-brainer, but a flipped breaker or an unplugged power cord is a more common issue than you think. Open the fridge door and if the appliance lights up, there is running power. If it doesn’t, check the power cord and if it’s loose, press it hard into the outlet. If the fridge still refuses to light up, go to your electrical panel and look for a flipped breaker. The next step is simple – just switch the breaker back on. If both methods don’t work, proceed to the next issue that we describe.
Faulty door gaskets
The job of a door gasket is to keep your fridge sealed tightly when you shut it. If you happen to own an older refrigerator, there is a high chance that long usage over the years has damaged the gaskets. You see, if these fridge parts get torn or loose, your appliance will start leaking cold air and become warm.
In order to determine if faulty gaskets are the cause for your fridge not cooling, you’ll need to do a test. Get a piece of paper or a 5-pound note and put it in between the door and the fridge. Close the appliance door and try to pull the paper out. You are looking for resistance when tugging on the note. If you have a hard time pulling it out, your fridge seal is Ok. If the opposite happens and the piece of paper just slips out, well, you’ll need to buy new gaskets for your appliance.
As for the installation process, you can find how to replace them in the instruction manual.
Dirty condenser coils
Every refrigerator has condenser coils, which contain a refrigerant. This part of the appliance is not sealed and can get clogged with nasty stuff like hair, dust, and even pet fur. When this happens, the parts stop doing their job correctly, which is to keep the air inside the appliance at a low temperature.
So, if you want to clean the coils, you need to buy a condenser brush. The tool is fairly cheap, around £6, and easy to use. All you need to do is loosen up the dirt with the brush and vacuum it from the ground. Note that these parts of the fridge are located on its back or underside and you’ll need to unplug the appliance before going in with the tool. In order to ensure that your fridge is working properly, clean the coils once every six months.
When you buy a new fridge, typically it will be pre-set to a temperature around 1 to 3 °C. This is the general temperature setting that will preserve your food. Thermostat dials are either placed inside the appliance or outside, on the surface of the fridge. You can bump the internal thermostat by placing your groceries inside the refrigerator without even noticing or get the temperature of the appliance changed by just leaning on a fridge model with an exterior one.
If you happen to own a fancier model with a digital thermostat, it will most likely have a lock setting exactly to prevent mishaps like the above-described. Note that the temperature dial on a side-by-side fridge is placed on its back and an over-under model will have its thermostat located at the bottom of the appliance.
Damaged door switch
A door switch turns off the light inside your fridge when the door of the appliance is closed. Typically, this part of the refrigerator is located at the bottom of the door. If yours happens to be broken or damaged in any other way, your appliance might start acting weird.
Bad air flow
Believe it or not, a fridge, overflowing with food, is actually a bad thing. You see, if you have too many items stacked in your appliance, the refrigerator can’t hold a normal level of coolness. What happens is that the food you’ve placed on the top part in your fridge gets way colder than needed, even to the point of freezing, while the items at the bottom become warmer. Giving your fridge and freezer a good clean every now and then can help increase their efficiency and reduce energy usage.
Also, if there are just one carton of milk, a few eggs and an old ketchup bottle inside your fridge, it can become less energy-efficient. An empty fridge contains just cold air, which heats up far quicker than any items inside when, say, one opens the door. Or in other words, a fridge with nothing in it uses more energy to stay cool. To sum it up: don’t stuff your fridge like your going to feed a whole army and also don’t leave it empty, either.
A vent is an element placed between the freezer and refrigerated part of the appliance which distributes cold air inside the fridge. Sometimes, the vents can get stuffed with pieces of ice that block the airflow in the appliance, resulting in your fridge not cooling. In order to take care of this problem, you need to turn off your refrigerator and let the ice liquify. Once you’ve defrosted the appliance and soaked up all the excess water, turn it back on. That’s it, you are done.
A condenser fan does exactly what you probably thought it did – it cools down the compressor as it works. However, the fan also cools the condenser coils in the fridge. When this part of your appliance becomes damaged or faulty, the temperature inside the fridge gradually increases, resulting in an overheated compressor.
You can find the condenser fan placed right next to the compressor and the coils. With that being said, if you happen to own a fridge model with coils located on the back of the appliance, you probably won’t find a cooling fan installed there. Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to check the cooler. Make sure that the fan is moving without any troubles. Look for caught objects that restrict it from spinning. Sometimes, even dust build-up can stop the fan from moving. If you don’t spot any external issues, the problem most likely origins in the fan motor and you’ll need to purchase a new one. You can buy the new part from a distributor or directly from the fridge manufacturer. Here is how the replacement process goes:
- Unfasten the mounting screws that hold the fan;
- Remove the element;
- Take off the mounting brackets that secure the faulty part;
- Replace the damaged motor with the new one and put the whole thing back on the condenser.
You probably haven’t noticed, but every time you open the door of your fridge a bit of cool air blows out. This is caused by the evaporator fan. Its job is to cool the evaporator coil and to push air inside the refrigerator and freezer. If this part of your appliance is damaged in any sort of way, the fridge won’t generate cool air.
You can find the evaporator fan behind the wall of the freezer. To gain access to the fridge part, you’ll need to remove all of the food and shelves placed in the freezer. Inspect the fan for any issues and if you discover that it isn’t working properly, well, you’ll have to get a new fan motor.
To install the fridge part, you’ll need to remove the evaporator panel from the freezer, find the broken fan, remove the clips that hold it in place, along with the fan blades and wire harness. After that, place the new motor part into the wire harness and set it into the housing. Put back together the fan blades, mount them with the clips, place the panel on top and arrange the shelves.
Hire a professional to fix the appliance
Dealing with a faulty fridge is not a pleasant way to spend your free time. Even if you try to take care of the issues yourself, you will most likely have to deal with the increased risk of damaging the appliance even more. So, why not just call a professional to fix everything for you? We, at Fantastic Services, offer 25+ home care and maintenance services, including appliance repair. You can expect from our expert fridge repair solutions a 1-year service guarantee, free, post-repair appliance troubleshooting, and even spare parts sourcing directly from the appliance manufacturer. Leave the dirty work to Fantastic Services and enjoy your free time by booking our appliance repair service!
- Always turn off the power to your fridge before you proceed with any of the above-described repairs.
- It’s best to buy replacement parts directly from your refrigerator manufacturer.
- We recommend getting help from a professional. Dealing with this sort of appliances is a tricky business and you might end up needing a whole new fridge.
We hope you found our article informative and most importantly – helpful. Leave a comment in the section below if you have any other appliance repair tips or experiences.
Image sources: https://elements.envato.com/
- Last update: October 1, 2019
Posted in Home Improvement
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