A refrigerator might be the most used appliance in your household. Just imagine how many times you open your fridge on a daily basis. One of the most odd problems that some people face is when their freezer is working properly but their fridge stops cooling. Why exactly would a refrigerator not cool but the freezer is still working properly?!
I have found that an overloaded refrigerator is a common reason refrigerator for the freezer to be working but the fridge isn’t. However, sometimes it can also be an issue with the control panel or evaporator fan, the defrost system, damper control, thermistor not working properly and a malfunctioning temperature control board. Most of these are easy fixes and we’ll walk you through them!
When half your refrigerator is working it can not only be frustrating but also perplexing as it is not an issue you’re used to facing. I know I wasn’t.
Let’s see how you can identify and deal with these problems quickly and affordably…
Most Common Reasons Your Fridge Isn’t Cooling
An Overloaded Fridge
A lot of people think that as long as they can close their fridge doors, the appliance isn’t overloaded. I mean if there is space left in your refrigerator then why not use it right? Wrong.
Refrigerators have vents which help in circulating the cold and warm air inside both the fridge and the freezer. This is one of the ways how the produce stays fresh in your appliance.
But overloading the fridge can stop this airflow. This leads to a lot of issues including stale smell from the food, frost buildup, excessive condensation etc.
It can also lead to the fridge not cooling the compartments anymore.
The best way to find out if this is the issue is to clear out the fridge and clean the compartments properly.
Turn off the refrigerator and unplug it before you start working with it as electrical appliances can be dangerous. Turn it on once the cleaning is done.
If the refrigerator starts cooling again then most probably this was the issue. If this is the case then you don’t have to worry too much, just make sure that you don’t overstuff your fridge in the future.
Problem With The Evaporator Fan
Most of the refrigerators cool the air the inside the fridge by pulling in air from the outside through a fan and running it over a set of coils which in turn cool the air.
These set of coils are called evaporators and the fan and the motor are mounted near these coils.
If this fan stops working or is not as effective, then no air will be pulling into the fridge. The easiest way to find out if this is the issue is to get access to this fan.
You can usually find this on the backside of the refrigerator, you might have to remove the back panel to gain access to it.
Once you gain access try to move the fan blades by your hands. If there is a weird noise coming or if there is some kind of resistance, then most likely this is the case behind the issue.
One thing you can do is to clean the blades of the fan properly, over time a lot of dust can be accumulated on the fan which might create a blockage. Another sign of fan damage can be a weird noise while the fridge was running.
Try applying some lube or oil on the part where the blades are connected. If the issue still persists, I recommend that you call a professional or contact the customer care of the company.
Don’t worry, usually this problem only requires a replacing of the fan and nothing more.
Problems With The Defrost System
Right next to the fan we just talked about is the coil which sometimes can get frosted over.
If this happens than no air will be able to pass through it and reach the fridge. Once you gain access to the fan during the above section, you can also check if there is any frost buildup on the coil.
If there is frost, the quick and easy thing to do is to pour hot water over it to defrost it or use a hair dryer to melt it.
This will get the fridge up and running temporarily but there is a high chance that it might fail again.
You will have to check the individual components here including the defrost heater, defrost thermostat, defrost timer. I
f you don’t have much experience with handling electrical components you should call a professional to do this for you, especially if the problem occurs again.
Remember that you can get a serious electric shock if you are not careful.
Restricted Air Flow Due To The Damper Control
Near the coil and the fan, there is a door on the refrigerator which controls the amount of cold air flowing into the fridge.
This door can be both automatic or manual depending on the age and model of your refrigerator. If there is a problem with this door, then the air might be cooling but it won’t be able to reach the fridge.
If you know that the fan and the coil are working properly, then checking for an issue with the damper control is pretty easy.
All you have to do is keep your hand near the air vents of your fridge. If you feel a flow of air, then this is likely not the issue.
If you can manually take out the vent and move the damper yourself, this issue will be quite easily solved. But if you don’t know how to correctly do this, I suggest calling a professional.
Thermistor Not Working Properly
The thermistor is basically a thermometer for your fridge which continuously sends the temperature reading to the control board.
This is how the fridge controls the temperature inside the fridge. It doesn’t let it become too cold and too warm.
But if this sensor is defective then the control board might be getting the wrong temperature readings.
In this case the control board won’t send the signal to cool the fridge as it believes it is already cold. You can check if the thermistor is working or not using a simple multimeter. Remember that its resistance should change with the temperature.
In case you get confused about how to do this or if you don’t have experience with electrical appliances then you should immediately call the customer service.
The Temperature Control Board
The chances of this being the issue is less likely than the ones I have mentioned above. For a home user checking the control board can be fairly complicated.
So, if you have checked the above issues and neither of them seems to be the issue, I would recommend that you call a professional to check it out.
Getting your refrigerator working again is one of the highest priority things in your household.
Some of the issues I have mentioned above can be easily diagnosed and fixed while some might require basic technical knowledge.
Make sure you have unplugged and switched off the fridge before you tinker with it.
And if you don’t know how to fix electrical appliances then don’t be hesitant to call a professional.
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