Refrigerators are a staple appliance in every kitchen and should be serviced regularly, still, issues arise now and then. Nobody likes a scenario where the fridge is not cooling its contents enough – it means the food will go bad, the ice cream will melt, and the beer at the end of the day will be warm.
After reading this, you are probably wondering where to start. You will need to troubleshoot your fridge to see what component causes the problem. Depending on which part is at fault, you might be able to fix it yourself. However, keep in mind that in the majority of cases, the issue might require more experienced hands.
It’s important to note that unless you have the required license by the law in your state, it’s illegal to do complex electrical appliance repairs. Given the risk of injury, as well as the risk for your property and the appliance’s warranty, the safest option is to hire a certified technician.
If you’ve just discovered your fridge is not cooling, though, there is still something you can do about it. And that’s to turn your fridge off, inspect and attempt to determine what’s causing the problem, along with some simple fixes. Keep reading to learn the most common reasons why your refrigerator might be having a hard time keeping your food cold and what are the available solutions.
Necessary fridge repair tools
In most cases of a faulty fridge that does not cool its contents properly, the repairs you can attempt do not require specific tools. Occasionally, the problem could be easily fixed right away. Still, you’ll definitely need help, especially when it comes to replacing parts or working with wiring. Again, the latter can be legally done only by an accredited expert.
How to fix a fridge that is not cooling
The reason your fridge is not cooling could be a fault in one of several components. So try to check where the problem originates.
The first reason why your fridge is not cooling (but the light might be on) is…
The thermostat is broken or has a wrong setting
Your refrigerator’s thermostat is the component that tells the compressor when it should turn on. Sometimes, while placing your food or beverages inside, you might change the thermostat setting unintentionally.
If that’s the case, then all you need to do is turn the thermostat setting back to what it was before. The perfect fridge temperature is between 1°C and 4°C.
In case of a faulty thermostat, however, the replacement has to be done by an appliance repair technician. You can purchase a new thermostat, though, compatible with your fridge by yourself from the local supply store. Check the exact model and consult with a specialist at the store. Of course, you can leave this to the technician if you want to be 100% sure that it will fit.
If your fridge is not cooling, but the freezer works fine, the problem is probably lying around the evaporator fan. Every refrigerator has an evaporator system that consists of cooling coils that take the heat out of the appliance and a fan that cools those coils.
When the fan goes bad, the coils do not get proper cooling and would definitely pose a problem. The freezer could still be cold, but the fridge would be warm. The faulty fans often start making strange sounds that get louder when you open the freezer door.
Usually, evaporator fans are located at the back wall on the inside of the freezer or inside the fridge itself. Since you cannot directly access the fan for inspection, we would advise you to leave this to a specialist. The latter could either clean or directly replace a faulty fan.
The vents airflow is blocked
It’s important to make sure your refrigerator is well-positioned, leaving all internal and external vents open. The smooth airflow circulation keeps the consistent temperature inside. Sometimes we place food or other objects too close to the vents, blocking the flow.
Check and clear all ventilation openings inside and out of the fridge. Clean them regularly. Use the hand attachment on a vacuum cleaner for the external ones. They are often blocked by dust and debris, which can also affect the temperature inside or the efficiency of the compressor and the other components.
Over time, the seals can wear out or become dirty, preventing the door from closing tightly. This can directly affect the temperature inside the fridge and makes the compressor run longer. Whatsmore, despite influencing the cooling abilities of the appliance, poor sealing can increase your electricity bill.
So, if you notice that your fridge is not cooling enough and the compressor is working more than usual, it’s worth checking and cleaning your fridge’s door seals.
Wipe the gaskets and the places they touch the fridge with soapy water. However, if you still have doubts about the seal’s effectiveness, maybe it’s time to have it replaced.
The fridge compressor is not working
If you’ve checked the thermostat and evaporator fan, and neither is the cause of the problem, the next logical step is to check the compressor. A refrigerator’s compressor is the appliance’s main component.
It increases the pressure in the warm parts of the circuit, so the liquid refrigerant evaporates. When that happens, the warm vapour is pushed into the cooling coils, turning back into a liquid state.
There’s an easy way to check the compressor’s working capability. Simply leave the refrigerator door open, and listen. The compressor should turn on after some warm air has entered your fridge. It doesn’t work correctly if the fridge compressor is working but not cooling or making a louder noise than usual.
If the compressor does not turn on altogether, the time for fixing it is due, and a replacement is in order. In either case, a faulty fridge compressor is not that simple to repair or replace by yourself, so it’s best to leave this job to a professional fridge technician.
Expert fridge repair services available close to you! Get a specialist as soon as possible to solve any fridge problems!
Your refrigerator’s defrost system has a straightforward purpose – to melt any frosting that might appear on the cooling coils.
If the defrost process is interrupted, the refrigerator’s airflow will worsen over time and lead to your fridge not cooling well. This kind of problem is the opposite of a fridge water leak. There are three main reasons why your fridge might not be defrosting:
Faulty defrost timer – it controls the defrost cycle. When this component breaks, your fridge does not switch between cooling and defrost mode.
Bad defrost heater – it melts the frosting off the cooling coils. When this component does not work as intended, the cooling coils cannot do their job because of the accumulated frosting, which negatively affects the airflow inside your fridge.
Defective defrost thermostat – it checks the cooling coils’ temperature. When this component stops working, your fridge does not recognise when to defrost, leading to excessive frost build up on the cooling coils.
Replacing a defrost timer, heater or thermostat is a bit complicated and dangerous to try alone, and we have to advise you again to seek an expert’s assistance.
The refrigerator’s temperature control board is defective
The temperature control board is the brain of your fridge – it controls every process in the cooling cycle, from refrigeration to defrosting. The control board takes input from a thermally-dependent resistor called a thermistor. The main issue with finding a fault in one of these two components is that it’s hard to tell which one has gone bad.
On top of that, running diagnostics on them requires sophisticated electronics and specific skills with electrical repairs. If you’ve checked everything else so far and nothing seems out of the ordinary, then the temperature control board or one of its thermistors is faulty. In that case, a professional electrician can conduct the necessary fault-finding and repair.
Your fridge has lost its cool? Book a professional and help it chill today!
Always turn your fridge off before you attempt diagnostics or repair.
Check the easier to troubleshoot components first, like fans, thermostat or door seals.
If possible, carry the component with you when you purchase a new one. Nowadays, there are so many fridge models, it’s easy to buy something incompatible.
Avoid handling sensitive circuit boards and wiring, as this poses a risk to your health, your fridge’s warranty and could violate the legal regulations in your state. Any electrical appliance repairs are best handled by a licensed specialist.
Disclaimer: We are a commercial home maintenance service provider. Our purpose with this blog is to provide valuable and accurate content for solely informational purposes. We strongly advise our readers to consider all the risks and health concerns before taking a DIY project. We also highly recommend you get fully informed about the laws and regulations regarding electrical, plumbing and other work in the different states of Australia.