Serving the Lower Mainland

Refrigerator stopped cooling? here is what you should do

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Imagine you had planned to do a barbecue on the weekend. You bought all your meats and drinks the day before. The morning comes, and you notice an unpleasant smell as soon as you open the fridge door. All the meats you bought are not cold. Your barbecue is ruined. This type of unfortunate incident makes you realize the crucial role that your refrigerator has in your household. There is no doubt that when your refrigerator stops cooling can result in unexpected trouble.

There are various reasons your refrigerator may not reach the needed cooling temperature. Among the most common ones are:

Electrical Power

This may be obvious, but your refrigerator may not be powered on. Therefore, the first thing that you should check is if your fridge is plugged in. If you observed the refrigerator is connected to the outlet but still not working, proceed to your breaker panel and search for a flipped breaker and switch it back if this is the case. Is your fridge still off? Let’s try other possible causes.

Wrong Thermostat Setting

In newer refrigerator models, thermostats are set between 35ºF and 37ºF. Some digital ones can even be locked at specific temperatures. However, suppose you haven't locked the temperature or have an older model. In that case, it is possible that the thermostat temperature got changed by accident when loading groceries into the fridge, or your little ones play with it. Either case, check your thermostat, and if you have any doubts about its proper functioning, use an external one to check if the indicated temperature is correct.

Damage Door Seals

If you notice that your refrigerator seems to be working fine, the light is on. The temperature appears correct but still is not cooling correctly; it may be the door gaskets. The seals on your fridge doors are also called gaskets, and with time and use, it is possible that the magnetic seal will wear off.

Using a dollar bill, you can test if your door seals are still locking the cool air properly. Place the bill halfway through the door and close it. Then proceed to pull it. If you feel some resistance, your gaskets are working. On the contrary, if the bill slips easily, you need to replace the fridge door seals.

Replacing your refrigerator gaskets is inexpensive and easy enough for you to do if you like to take on small household projects from time to time. We recommend you check your refrigerator owner's manual to get the appropriate door seals for your refrigerator model and installation instructions.

Unlevel Fridge

This may not be obvious at a glance, but it is possible that your fridge is not leveled correctly, and this is causing the cool air to escape. If you have performed the dollar bill test described above and concluded that your door gaskets are in good condition. But still, your fridge is not cooling. It may be that your refrigerator is not leveled and allows the cool air to escape. Get a carpenter’s level, and set it up on top of your fridge. If you see the bubble is not in the center, adjust your fridge legs until the carpenter's level shows it. If you are unsure how to adjust your refrigerator's legs, consult your owner’s manual. In most cases, these can be regulated with either a hex wrench or adjustable pliers.

Blocked Vents

Vents are placed in various strategic areas within your refrigerator, such as the back or sidewalls. These allow the cool air to flow between the freezer and refrigerator compartments. When your fridge is not cooling, it may be that some of the vents are blocked either by some products or frost buildup.

To allow proper airflow in your fridge, you should try not to cramp it, restricting the airflow between shelves. Leave space between your items for the cool air to circulate. Another possible cause for your fridge vents to be blocked is frost build-up in the freezer. If you notice that your freezer has accumulated a large amount of frost, your best option is to clean it by allowing the ice to melt by unplugging the fridge. After the ice has melted and you plugged your fridge back, it should typically be cooling again.

Be aware that if your freezer is heavily frosted, the accumulated ice may take a whole day to melt. Therefore it is convenient that you plan ahead where to store all your perishable products or to wait when your refrigerator is almost empty to unplug it.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Every refrigerator comes with condenser coils, usually located at the bottom or back of your fridge, filled with refrigerant. As they are exposed to your fridge, they tend to get dirty by accumulating dust, hair, fur, and more.

When the condenser coils are caked with debris, it makes it hard for your compressor to work as it finds it difficult to release the heat produced by your refrigerator. However, cleaning dirty condenser coils is an easy task you can do yourself at home. You just need a condenser coil brush and a vacuum. If your refrigerator is located in a place prone to accumulating dust, hair, or any other debris, schedule a cleaning regularly to prevent any possible issues.

Not enough space clearance

Not everyone has big homes or kitchens. Sometimes the space to place your appliances in your home can be limited. However, your refrigerator needs a minimum of clearance to be able to work correctly. Therefore make sure to place it in an area with at least ½” of space on the sides and 1 inch in the back. When your fridge goes through the cooling process, it needs to release heat when the vapor refrigerant condenses into a liquid form.

Check the condenser fan

The condenser fan is essential for the proper functioning of your fridge. There can be one or more in your unit, located behind your refrigerator most of the time. The condenser inside the compressor compartment converts highly compressed refrigerant from gas to liquid. Then the fan forces environmental air through the condenser. This function helps transfer the coil's compression heat to the ambient air.

When the condenser fan stops working because something got stuck in it or broke, it causes the temperature to rise, and the compressor overheating can result in severe failure, which can be a costly repair. This issue needs to be looked at by a certified professional.

Faulty circuit board

The electronic board is basically your fridge's brain and controls major refrigerator components such as fans and compressors. If a circuit board fails, your unit will not be able to cool correctly. The lifespan of a refrigerator circuit board can be anywhere between 7 to 17 years, depending on the brand and model of your fridge.

Common signs of a circuit board not working are cooling problems, erratic behavior, or your fridge stopping working altogether. Refrigerator circuit boards are susceptible to power outages, surges, spikes, and sometimes static electricity.

Because this is a complex component of your fridge is better to call a specialized technician to asses and resolve the issue. 778-941-7758