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Not Cool: What to Do When Freezer Works But Fridge Doesn’t

Not Cool: What to Do When Freezer Works But Fridge Doesn’t

Woman standing in front of open fridgeHave you ever gone to grab the milk for your morning cereal, only to find the refrigerator no longer feels cool? Stranger still, your freezer seems to be doing its job like always. If your freezer is working fine but your fridge is on the fritz, there’s a few things you should know about the cause of the issue and how best to resolve it.

5 Reasons Why the Fridge Is Not Cold But the Freezer Is

In the event that your ice cream is solid but your produce is wilting, you’ll likely be left wondering what’s going on (and you may also be left with a mess to clean up). When the fridge is not cold but the freezer is, the problem is probably tied to one of your refrigerator’s mechanisms not working as designed.

  1. Evaporator fan: Every refrigerator contains a set of coils called an evaporator, which makes the inside of the fridge cold. A small fan and motor are mounted near the evaporator, helping draw air over the coils and circulate it to the fridge and freezer. If this fan fails, you’ll likely be stuck with a warm refrigerator.
  2. Defrost system: In situations where the defrost heater burns out or the defrost thermostat fails, frost can build up on the evaporator coils. As these coils become frosted over, eventually no air will be able to pass through to provide cooling.
  3. Damper control: The damper control is an automatic or manually operated door that opens and closes to allow more or less cold air into the refrigerator. If this door is stuck or broken, it won’t let in enough cold air to maintain a proper temperature.
  4. Thermistor: A thermistor is essentially a temperature sensor used in refrigerators and freezers. The sensor is supposed to send the temperature reading from the fridge to the control board, but if it’s defective, it’s likely the refrigerator will not cool.
  5. Temperature control board: The control board is like the ‘brains’ of the refrigerator, monitoring the temperature sensors, kick-starting the compressor and fans, and regulating the defrost cycle. A failed board will misread the temperature sensors, meaning the fridge will be unable to cool correctly.

5 Suggestions For What To Do When The Fridge Is Not Working

The above list covers the most common reasons why the top or bottom freezer is working even when the fridge isn’t. From here, we can take a look at corresponding suggestions to detect just which mechanism is malfunctioning and guide you in what to do about it.

  1. Evaporator fan: To determine if your evaporator fan motor is faulty, try turning the fan blade by hand. If the blade does not turn freely or it seems unusually noisy, you’ll want to replace it. Additionally, a multimeter can be used to test the motor windings for continuity; if continuity is lacking, a replacement will also be in order.
  2. Defrost system: If you check the evaporator coils and it turns out they’re frosted over, you’ll want to test each component of the defrost system (defrost heater, defrost thermostat, defrost timer). To temporarily get the fridge up and running, remove the rear panel of the freezer and remove all the built up frost (pouring hot water over the coils is best). If things cool down but fail again after a few days, you may have to replace one or more parts of the defrost system.
  3. Damper control: Checking to see if there’s an issue with the damper is fairly easy — simply stick your hand in front of the vent to test it out. If you don’t feel cool air flowing into the fridge (but you know the evaporator fan is working), the damper is likely stuck or in a closed position. If the vent is removable, try taking it out and manually moving the damper. If that’s not successful, you may need to call in a professional for repairs.
  4. Thermistor: Similar to the evaporator fan, the thermistor can be tested with a multimeter. The thermistor resistance should change in conjunction with the temperature of the refrigerator; if the resistance does not change or does not have continuity, the thermistor will need to be replaced.
  5. Temperature control board: Since the temperature control board is less likely to be the cause of a non-working refrigerator, it’s important to check on the more frequently broken components first. If numbers 1-4 are functioning as they should, a professional may need to come out to diagnose the problem or possibly install a new board.

There are certainly ample online tutorials out there to assist you in tackling these fixes on your own. But rather than diving into a possible DIY disaster or spending money to repair an old appliance, why not upgrade to a fully functional, name brand refrigerator from Rent-A-Center?

With Rent-A-Center, you’ll get free repairs and replacements for the duration of your rent-to-own agreement, an amazing deal and a much simpler solution for those times when your freezer works but the fridge doesn’t. Don’t let groceries spoil or your wages go to waste. Instead, check out all that your local Rent-A-Center has to offer!

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