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Your Questions About Refrigerator Repair

Sandy asks…

The cooling fan in the freezer compartment of my upright refrigerator isn’t running. What can I do to fix it?

I have a 3 year old Hiaer refrigerator that’s not cooling…I have fixed the freon leak in the cooling system, however the cooling fan in the freezer compartment is not running. How can I fix this?

James Conley answers:

Contact a refrigerator tech to repair it or go to a appliance store and ask someone there.

Sharon asks…

What is causing my refrigerator to run but not cool?

My refrigerator is running but not cold. We vaccumed the coils but still no luck. I am off to check the relay compressor now. Any ideas what it may be if the compressor is fine?

James Conley answers:

One thing to check… Does your refrigerator have a condenser fan motor? This is a cooling fan located down by the compressor… If so is that running? If the compressor is not running most likely you have a bad relay, or a stuck compressor…but if the compressor is running, and all the fans are running and it still doesn’t cool, then most likely you may have a leak in the sealed system… Better call a service tech for that one… You can rule out a thermostat cause if that was bad then nothing would work… And if you do have a leak you need to get it repaired first…. Refrigerators are not supposed to leak out freon like the other guy said…

Ken asks…

Refrigerator question for appliance repair people – I just cleaned the coils, do I need to defrost?

Yesterday, our refrigerator and freezer stopped cooling properly (but is still blowing cold air) and we found some frost in the freezer that had very recently developed – I moved some things around in the freezer earlier this week, and it wasn’t there then. Our power bills have been a little higher than expected lately, so after research, I believe the unit has been under some stress for quite some time.

The coils are underneath the unit. I unplugged it, pulled the refrigerator away from the wall, cleaned behind and under. Then took off the front bottom panel, brushed off the coils I could get to (the back side of the V doesn’t look that bad, but the front was CAKED with cat hair and grime), and vacuumed them with a crevice cleaner. I plan to get some evaporating coil cleaner tomorrow and clean some more, but for now it is significantly improved.

There are no coils on the back of the unit, but I did remove the small cardboard panel from the back and made sure nothing was blocking the fan. There was a metal panel behind whatever motor is in the back so I couldn’t see to the front of the fridge from this angle, but the back section looked pretty clean.

After about 40 minutes and plugged it back in. The compressor cut on and appears to be working properly. The freezer is blowing cold air.

I know there’s a certain wait-and-see element here, but since the frost in the freezer was not too severe – do I need to defrost, or should this be OK as-is? I turned the refrigerator back on because I did not want the food to spoil, but if needed, I can pack the food in dry ice for the day and get back to work.
@ Roy – It’s a Whirlpool with a freezer top. Frost was in the freezer over the lower vents in back, cleared as best I could without defrosting the freezer. No ice on the V-coils in the front, but air flow was severely restricted due to all the gunk. I am a novice with refrigerators, so not sure if there is another set of coils behind them? Thanks for your help so far!!!

James Conley answers:

You did all you could, DO NOT USE EVAPORATOR COIL CLEANER, that’s just for the aluminum cooling coils and you never want to mess with those on a refrigerator.

As for moving stuff around, just make sure nothing gets in the way of the air blowing out of the vents or the areas where the air is drawn back in such as the back wall or front. The air needs to be able to flow over and around the whole area in the freezer to work correctly.

The unit has its own built in defrosting system that will kick in on a regular cycle to melt away ice and frost so it should sort itself out nicely now that you have cleaned it.

In extreme cases where it gets too frozen and the airflow is completely blocked by ice then it cant fix itself through normal defrost cycles and you could turn it off for 24 hours to fully defrost then turn it back on.

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