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Kathy Hirsh
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Why are my fridge and freezer not cooling?

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Earlier today I noticed that a bottle of juice I put in the fridge last night wasn't cold. The temperature control for the freezer said -10 (should be 0) and the fridge said 57 (should be 37). I've tried to reset the controls, to no avail. I unplugged it, vacuumed off the back (although there wasn't much to vacuum) and plugged it in again. It's only getting warmer. Any ideas? I don't remember exactly when I bought the fridge, but I believe it's less than 10 years old.

UPDATE: The fridge is 7 years old. Also, the freezer is now at 2 and the fridge is at 63. So the temp of the freezer is moving in the right direction, but the fridge is definitely not.

I sure hope AB Cellars sees this. He was amazing when I posted about my clothes dryer.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The GE Technician just arrived. It's the freezer sensor (aka thermistor). I'm getting 50% off parts and labor, so my total cost is $146.77 (including the service call).

Thanks everyone for your help! Mayer... you nailed it. The evaporator coils were covered in ice.

Edited by: Sam Lionheart ( ) , Kathy Hirsh ( )

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mayer
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Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils or a condenser that is clogged with dust, lint, and dirt.

Evaporator coils

Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils. You can't see these coils without removing a panel on the inside of your freezer. A sure sign that there is a build-up is the presence of any frost or ice build-up on the inside walls, floor, or ceiling of the freezer. Such a frost build-up usually indicates a problem in the self-defrosting system or damaged door gaskets.

The refrigerator is supposed to self-defrost approximately four times in every 24 hour period. If one of the components in the self-defrosting system fails, the refrigerator continues to try to cool. Eventually, though, so much frost builds up on the evaporator coils that the circulating fan can't draw air over the coils. There may still be a small amount of cooling because the coils are icy, but with no air flow over the coils, cooling in the refrigerator compartment is quite limited.

Here's an inexpensive, though inconvenient, way to determine if the problem is with the self-defrosting system. Remove all of the perishable food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn the thermostat in the refrigerator to Off, and leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours. (Be sure to have several towels ready in case the melting frost and ice causes the drip pan to overflow). This allows the refrigerator to defrost "manually." When the frost and ice build-up has completely melted away, turn the thermostat back to a normal setting. If the refrigerator then cools properly, it indicates a problem with one of three components in the self-defrosting system:

The defrost timer

The defrost thermostat (also called the bi-metal switch)

If it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level or the compressor. You may need to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to further diagnose the problem

Condenser

Self-defrosting refrigerators all have a set of coils and a cooling fan, usually under the refrigerator, that need to be cleaned regularly. If these coils get coated with dust, dirt or lint, the refrigerator may not cool properly. The coils may appear to be a thin, black, wide radiator-like device behind the lower kick-panel. To clean them, disconnect the refrigerator from the power source, use a refrigerator condenser brush and your vacuum cleaner to clean the coils of any lint, pet hair, etc. You may not be able to get to all of the condenser from the front, it may be necessary to clean the remainder of the condenser from the rear of the refrigerator.

Edited by: mayer ( )

Thanks for your very detailed answer, Mayer. I'll let you know what happens.

Kathy Hirsh,

Mayer's answer is spot on here. Given the era of the refrig, your best way to determine the root of the problem is to put it in diagnostic mode. How to do that can be found in the service manual or perhaps calling the manufacturer customer service, Whirlpool at one time put it in the owners manual. Most likely cause here is related to air flow. as you have 2F in the freezer. You could have a blocked air port, bad evaporator fan, bad door switch, temperature sensor or controller board.

ABCellars,

Cellers - you've been missed, Hope that sciatica isn't eating your a** to badly ;-)

mayer,

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Larry Butler
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Kathy, there is a circulator fan blowing from the freezer into most fridge compartments. Do and did you used to hear/feel this little fan blowing when you open the door? Sounds like the fan has locked up and needs replacement. You have good cooling if the freezer is 2F. The fridge compartment temp control just opens and closes a shutter this fan blows through to cool the unfrozen stuff.....

90%+ of modern, frost free, residential refrigerators turn off the evaporator fan when the refrigerator door is opened. You will need to hold the door switch closed to check for air flow there.

ABCellars,

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lloyd
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We had the same problem and numerous engineers who havent a clue how to rectify and had we found out to our cost these can be complicated appliances to work on and Ge doesnt operate in the uk and all their service calls are contracted out to various service companies who in turn subcontract the work out to other companies in the hope they can fix your appliance. In the end we got lucky when an engineer from a company agsrefrigeration who service the london and surrey area came out to look at a colleague of mine at work he passed his number on to us and it has been a couple of years now and we have had no further problems.

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kodom ali
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Temperature is the main factor.You need to know about fridge and freezer temperature.Otherwise You have problem in your fridge and freezer.

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Cathy
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My freezer and fridge are not getting cold. The appliance is 12 years old. Does it cost about $700.oo to replace the coils. Thanks.

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Glo Jean
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Ge refrigerator freezer stopped approx. 8 yrs.old.

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trb2005
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Freezer and fridge not cooling.

Action: I plugged it out about 2 hours ago. What could be the problem?

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djlburners
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hi my fridge is not making cold but the compressor is so hot it burns your hand if you feel it

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Danny Omar
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how you guys are doing. Today i had my fridge check and i kinda had an idea of what the problem was. I went on youtube and google it to find some kind of idea of what the problem was but none of them weren't. In one occasion someone on youtube mention that it could be a relay malfuntioning; and guess what it turned out to be the relay capasitor that operates the compressor. I am glad i didnt buy a new fridge. I did pay the technician for checking that out thou but it wasn't much. so if your fridge isn't cooling check your compressor relay

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Norm
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I was wondering if I could get your opinion. I have a 10 year old Kenmore, which I bought for $399. Yesterday, the fridge and freezer stopped cooling at all. Is it worth having it fix or just buy a new one?

Thank you very much in advance.

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Danny Omar
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hey i just saw you comment. I would suggest that you get check firts before anything else. it might be something simple instead of spending lots of money on buying a new one. like i said, my had a problem where it wasn't cooling and thought of getting a new one but didnt' and only spent $75 for getting it fix.

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jljabt
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I have a GE Profile Refrigerator model SPPSS26SHRSS. 2 days ago the ice and water dispenser stopped working. But the freezer continued to make ice. About one hour ago, open the freezer door to get a piece of ice and notice the ice was 1/2 melted. Check the temperature for the freezer it said 35 and the refrigerator was at 57. Emptied out everything from both side. Temperature only increase by 3 degrees. Can you advise what we should try doing or what parts may need to be replaced.

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