How to Repair a Refrigerator That Won’t Get Cold

Alex HRefrigerator RepairLeave a Comment

If the following maintenance tips were consistently adhered to, most refrigerator repair costs could be avoided.

After two weeks of traveling the California Coastline, you come home, open the refrigerator door, and encounter a most hideous smell. Yikes! The freezer seems to be working but the fresh food compartment is warm and muggy as a New York City summer day.
Unfortunately, the first thing you’ll need to do is dispose of all the spoiled food. The next thing to consider is to call a qualified appliance repair company. But before you do that let us see if we can get you back on your feet with the following six troubleshooting tips.

Dirty Condenser Coils

In order to cool the inside of your refrigerator and freezer, the unit utilizes a compressor that pumps refrigerant through a condenser coil and an evaporator coil.
  • The basic purpose of the condenser coil is to condense the refrigerant into a hot liquid. The condenser coil dissipates the heat as the liquid travels through the coils.
  • The coils tend to attract dust, dirt, and hair and it is this debris which prevents the coils from properly dissipating the heat, thus reducing the refrigerator’s power to cool.
  • On most models, the condenser coil is located near the bottom of the refrigerator and the evaporator coils are usually found behind the unit’s back panel.
  • Periodically, use a condenser coil brush or a soft bristle paint brush to remove any debris buildup and ensuring your refrigerator has the best chance possible to cool down.

Condenser Fan Motor Not Working

The purpose of the condenser fan is to help draw air past the condenser coils.
  • A condenser that is not working will fail to draw air past the condenser coils.
  • Inspect the fan blade for damage. Any type of damage will cause the fan to operate at a sub-optimal level and should be replaced.
  • If the fan motor is receiving power but the fan fails to turn, it is highly likely that the motor is bad and should be replaced.

Faulty Evaporator Fan Motor

The purpose of the evaporator fan motor is to draw air over the evaporator coils to circulate and cool the air in the freezer and fresh food compartment.
  • Cold air will not circulate if the evaporator fan is defective.
  • Is the fan motor noisy while operating?
  • Does the fan blade turn freely?
  • If the answer is no to the two following questions, replace the evaporator fan motor.
  • Use a multimeter to confirm that there is a continuous electrical path present in the motor.
  • If the continuity test is negative the component has failed and will need to be replaced.

Faulty Start Relay or Capacitor

The main purpose of a start relay is to assist and provide additional torque to start the compressor.
  • If the start relay is faulty in any way the compressor may fail to properly cycle cool air throughout your unit. Or it may not work at all.
  • Remove the lower back cover to gain access to the relay which is attached to the compressor.
  • Once you have the rear cover removed, don’t forget to clean the debris that has collected on the evaporator coils.
  • Do not plug the refrigerator back in until you have replaced the rear cover. The rear cover must be sealed up for good air flow.

Frosted Evaporator Coils

Unless you own an older model refrigerator, the days of manual defrost are for the most part behind us.
  • Evaporator coils collect frost as air and moisture pass over them. Since frost buildup causes airflow problems the coils need periodic defrosting.
  • Modern refrigerators are now equipped with auto defrost systems, which include a defrost heater, a defrost thermostat, and a defrost control. If anyone of these three components fails, evaporator coils frost over and cause the refrigerator to work harder to keep it cold. At the end of the day, consumers will see higher balances on their power bill. It is best to resolve frosty coils as soon as possible.
  • Before performing any continuity tests, there are a few other things to check first. Ice build up on the inside of your freezer or refrigerator could indicate a faulty door seal. Bad seals allow air to leak inside, mixing with moisture and causing the frost issues that are occurring. If the seal is in good shape, then take a look at the door hinges and ensure they are buttoned down.
  • Is the back of your refrigerator staged a bit too close to the wall? This would cause poor air circulation and result in excessive frost.
  • Check the vents at the bottom of the front of the refrigerator and check any vents to the rear. Are they clean? Or do they appear as if they have never been cleaned since you bought the appliance? No shame there, as these are easy spots to miss.
  • If the ice build-up is focused in the freezer, the freezer drain plug may need to be cleaned out. Remove the inner freezer covers to access the freezer drain and pour hot water into the drain until the ice has melted.
  • You will need a multimeter for the following tests. Make sure you unplug your refrigerator from its power source. Locate, remove, and test the defrost heater for continuity. If the heater tests positive move on to the defrost thermostat.
  • The defrost thermostat opens during the automatic defrost cycle and terminates the cycle to prevent the refrigerator or freezer from getting too warm. This part is attached to the evaporator coil. Use a multimeter to test continuity. Before running this test, however, you will need to get it cold enough to close the circuit. The optimal temperature is around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If this part tests positive, then consider the defrost control board to be the problem and replace it.
  • Access the defrost control by removing the screws that hold the control panel to the roof of your refrigerator. Disconnect the ground wire and remove the screw that holds the damper in place. Remove the two screws that hold the defrost control board in place. Disconnect wire harnesses that hold the board to the control panel. In reverse order, replace with a new control board.

Defective Temperature Control Board

The control board allows the correct level of voltage to be sent to the compressor and fan motors.
  • If the control board is defective, the cooling system will not cycle on. Please note, that this is not a common problem and the previous 5-steps need to be inspected before replacing the control board.
  • If you have determined that all of the other components that control how your refrigerator keeps your food cold are working, you might finally consider replacing the temperature control board.
Feel free to make any comments or questions in the comment section provided. If you have decided this repair may take more time than what you have available, contact us today.

If Your Whirlpool Refrigerator Isn’t Making Ice, Replace the Cycling Thermostat

Alex HRefrigerator RepairLeave a Comment

Your ice maker operates on a strict schedule. Once you flip down the control arm to turn on the ice making cycle, it starts preparing to freeze the ice. The cycling thermostat tells your ice maker when it’s cold enough to start the first steps. But if that thermostat is shorted out or broken, your ice maker will never get the signal to start working and it won’t be able to make any ice.
The cycling thermostat is a part that you can replace on your own. If you have a Whirlpool refrigerator, order replacement part #WP627985 and follow these steps. All you need is the part, a screwdriver, and alumilastic, a sealant compound that helps the thermostat accurately gauge the freezer’s temperature.

1. Unplug the refrigerator.

Whenever you are making repairs to a refrigerator or other major appliance, the first step should always be to unplug the machine. During the course of this repair, you will be disconnecting wire harnesses and removing the ice maker assembly from the refrigerator. Disconnecting the power source is essential for your own safety and the safety of the surrounding area.

2. Remove the ice maker.

Open the freezer section of your refrigerator. First, remove the door to your ice maker so you can access the large parts. Next, take out the shelf on top of the ice maker assembly. It may slide freely out, or you might need to pull it up and back to snap it free from the front retaining arms. Once the shelf is set aside, pull out the ice bin and also set it aside.
Now you can uninstall the ice maker itself. Remove the bottom mounting screw holding the ice maker against the refrigerator wall. The top two mounting screws don’t directly hold the ice maker; instead, the assembly has two hooks over the screws. So loosen the screws just enough that you can lift the ice maker up and away from the wall. Before you completely remove the ice maker, disconnect the wire harness in the rear.
Shut the freezer. The rest of the repair procedure involves only the ice maker.

3. Dismantle the ice maker to reach the cycling thermostat.

The thermostat is in the middle of the ice maker assembly, and you need to remove both the module and the black housing to reach it.

Remove the control module.

First, wiggle the square cap free and set it aside. Then press the locking tab holding the wire harness in place; set the wires aside without completely removing them from the assembly. Next, remove the control arm (the wire arm you press up and down to turn the ice maker off and on) by pulling each side out of the slots.
Next, remove the three screws holding the head in place. Pull the head out and set it aside.

Take off the housing.

Remove the two screws securing the housing to the rest of the ice maker. Two heating pins are also threaded through the housing, so carefully wiggle the housing free without bending or snapping the pins. The cycling thermostat is on the back side of the housing between the two holes for the heating pins.
Press down on the pins of the thermostat to push it out of the housing.

4. Replace the thermostat and retaining clips.

Before you install the new thermostat, remove the old retainer clips and replace them with the clips that came with the new part. These clips help wedge the cycling thermostat into place so it stays firmly in contact with the ice maker and doesn’t shift. It needs that direct contact to read the temperature.
Once the retaining clips are in place, push the new thermostat into the housing so the pins reach through the other side.
Add a thick smear of alumilastic to the flat top side of the thermostat. This compound conducts heat and helps the thermostat gauge the temperature of the ice maker. Make sure the surface has a thick coating; it doesn’t have to be completely covered, especially because the material will spread once it’s compressed against the side of the ice maker.

5. Reassemble the ice maker.

Slide the housing back into place by threading the heating pins through it. Be careful not to touch or smear the alumilastic. Once the housing is firmly in place, inspect it for any excess compound and wipe it away. Then resecure the housing with the two Phillips screws; make sure it’s tight enough to ensure surface contact between the thermostat and the ice maker.
Next, reinstall the control module. You will need to thread the D-shaped shaft through the module, so spin the ‘teeth’ of the ice maker’s water compartment so you can line up the shaft with the module’s hole. Thread the module into position and then resecure it with the mounting screws.
Then put the control arm back in place by slipping each end into the slots. Also plug the wire harness back in and click the cap into place.

6. Reinstall the ice marker.

Start by connecting the wire harness in the back of the ice maker. Then feed the refrigerator’s nozzle into the ice maker’s side cup and push the ice maker a few inches back while also holding it flush against the refrigerator wall. Hook the ice maker over the two mounting screws and let it hang freely as you retighten the two screws. Next, put the bottom mounting screw back in place.
The ice maker itself is fully back in place. Now you can slide the bin back under the ice maker. Slide the top shelf over the small mounting arms and on the rear mounting pegs, and then snap it onto the front arms. Turn on the ice maker by pushing the control arm down before putting the door back over the bin. Then plug in the refrigerator and wait for the freezer to cool down enough to start the next ice-making cycle.
If you have more appliance repairs on your to-do list, search our repair guides at Fred’s Appliance Service here. We can help you make your own repairs or send a technician to your house for tricky part replacements.

How to Replace Your Whirlpool Oven’s Insulation

Alex HOven RepairLeave a Comment

Your oven has a layer of insulation under the surface. Not only does this keep the machine’s heat in place so you can cook efficiently, it keeps the heat from damaging your surrounding cabinets and flooring. But that insulation can get damaged over time. Water might find it’s way in and make the material start to turn moldy. Mice might wedge their way to nest in the warmth if your area has harsh winters. No matter what’s wrong with your insulation, replacing it quickly can save you a lot in your energy bills and replacement costs. Order a replacement layer of insulation for your Whirlpool oven (part #WPW10208653) and follow these steps to replace it yourself.
While replacing the insulation itself is simple, the insulation can be tricky to access. The majority of this process involves dismantling the machine so you can freely access the material on the sides and top of the oven. To do this, you just need a screwdriver and a wood or plastic block.

1. Unplug the oven and move it into the center of the room.

During the course of this repair, you are going to accessing the oven’s internal parts. While you will not be directly manipulating the wiring, leaving the power on will be dangerous. So unplug the oven, or flip the correct circuit breaker if it is wired directly into the house’s power.
Then pull the whole appliance into the center of the room. While you dismantle the machine, you will be removing the side panels. Make sure you have plenty of workspace and room to set down the panels you will be removing.

2. Dismantle the machine

Remove the oven door.

Swing the oven door open and locate the hinges on either side of the bottom. Snap open the hinge locks holding the door in place. Then grab the sides of the door, close it halfway, and slide the door forward so the hinges slip out of the oven. This part is heavy and fragile, so be prepared for the weight. Set it aside on a cushioned surface without putting pressure on the front glass.

Remove the rear access panel.

Go to the back of the appliance. Loosen all ten screws securing the top rear access panel. Then pull the panel free and set it aside. This will let you swing the control panel up and out of the way once you dismantle the cooktop.

Remove the cooktop.

Go back to the front of the appliance and locate the two corner screws under the lip of the stove that are holding the cooktop in place. Unscrew them and set them aside. Then remove the cooktop: lift the front of it at a forty-five-degree angle and then slide the raised back free from under the control panel. Carefully set this part aside.
Now you can see the panel holding the top elements in place. Unscrew the sides so you can lift this panel up later. Do not fully remove it or disconnect the wiring.

Remove the side panels.

The side panels are held in place by screws along the sides of the back panel and more screws under the top control panel. Remove the screws at the back of the machine and then swing the control panel back out of the way to remove the remainder of the screws. Then, starting on one side, lift up the front corner of the element panel and pull on the back of the side panel so it swings free. It may remain secured to the front of the oven on the mounting tabs, so carefully pull or swing it free. Set the first panel aside and repeat this step on the other side panel.

Access the top sheet of insulation under the elements.

While you don’t want to fully remove the remainder of the top paneling, it is blocking your access to the insulation. So tilt the element panel up and set the front on a wooden block. Then unscrew the door latch and set it loosely inside the machine.

Remove the inner side panels.

There is a connecting rod running across the top of the oven under the panel. It is attached to second side panels. Unlatch this rod and set it aside so you can start removing these side panels. Each second side panel has two screws holding it in place. Remove the screws and lift the panels free and set them to the side. Both panels need to be removed.

3. Remove the old insulation.

The insulation should be right under the second side panels you just removed and the tilted top element panel. Carefully start prying the edges of the insulation loose. Excess material will have been pushed under the sides of the appliance. While nothing is holding the insulation into place. the fibers may be caught against any sharp metal edges. Make sure every edge of the insulation is loose and that the material is hanging loosely from the top of the appliance.
Then, at the top of one of the sides, start gently pulling the material across the top to free it. Stop if you feel any resistance and try to remove the insulation in a single sheet. If you’re removing the old insulation because of mice damage, inspect the machine for any loose tufts. Set all of the insulation aside.

4. Install the new insulation

Carefully push a short edge of the insulation across the top panel. The edge with perpendicular cuts should be oriented to the rear of the machine. Once the short edge has reached the other side of the top, start pulling that side down until the material is evenly distributed across both side panels.
Tuck excess insulation under the oven body. Make sure both sides have enough excess material so the friction holds the material in place. The insulation should be taut but not tight, and the material should be slid behind the side panel hinges.

5. Reassemble the machine.

During this step, you are going to follow the steps of dismantling the machine backward. Start with the second set of side panels. Mount them into place and retighten the screws.
Then slip the connecting rod back across the underside of the top. Latch it to both sides of the appliance. Next, reinstall the door latch with the two screws. Remove the block and carefully lower the top element panel back into place.
After that, reinstall the two outer side panels. Slip the front edge of each panel into the mounting tabs, then swing them into alignment towards the rear of the machine. As you’re moving the side panels, make sure the top panel is lifted up and out of the way. Once each panel clicks into place, retighten the screws along the edges of the rear panel and under the top control panel. Then swing the control panel back into position and screw it in place.
Before you reinstall the cooktop, replace all of the screws you took out along the top panel. Then slide the back of the cooktop into place under the control panel and lower the front until it’s flat along the top of the machine. Tighten the screws to lock in place.
Next, put the top rear access panel in position. Then replace the oven door. Make sure you close the hinge locks and make sure the weight of the door is supported before you let the door go.
Now you have new insulation to keep your cabinets protected and mice out of your oven’s inner workings. For more oven and major appliance repairs, go to Fred’s Appliance Service here. We can answer your questions or help with the more complex repairs your appliance need.