Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Hot apartment + fridge melted = is it broken?

Hi all,

I have an apartment style Frigidaire Refridgerator (10 years+) in my condo - top is freezer, bottom half is fridge. Ive never had issues with it prior.

This past week, it was super hot outside and the temperature in my condo was an uncomfortable 33 degrees C/92 F for about 3 days.

I had also had the fridge + freezer turned to low because I rarely use it and do not put much in either compartment.

A pool of water began dripping on both sides of the fridge doors and inside it was hot air blowing around (damp smell) and the freezer had pools of water inside the seals where the doors are.

I wiped up all the water and turned the temperature dials to the coldest possible and left it for 3 days.

The lights are on - and I hear the motors running. However, inside it is still hot air and no cold/freezing.

I unplugged it and moved it out to look at the back - it has outside coils.

I'm not sure if there is an easy fix or if I should call a service person?

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Condenser Coils are Dirty

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the condenser coils may be dirty. The condenser is like a radiator and must stay clean in order to dissipate the heat which was removed from the inside of the refrigerator. As the coils get dirtier the refrigerator becomes less efficient, which makes it work harder to cool down. If the coils are dirty enough, the unit will never be cold enough and will not be able to cool the inside of the refrigerator to the proper temperature.

Evaporator Fan Motor

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the evaporator fan motor might have failed. Every refrigerator has a set of coils called an evaporator. The refrigerator may have one or more evaporator fan motor(s) depending on the model and evaporator locations. The evaporator fan motor circulates the cold air from the coils thru the compartment. If there is only one evaporator it is in the freezer side. If the fan is not working, no cold air will get to the refrigerator compartment. The freezer may still get cold.

Condenser Fan Motor

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough there might be something caught in the condenser fan motor blade, or the condenser fan motor might be defective. The condenser fan motor draws air over the condenser coils to cool them. The condenser fan motor is located underneath the refrigerator near the back. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and remove the access panel to access it.

Start Relay

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the start relay may be defective. The start relay is a small device mounted to the side of the compressor. It provides power to the run winding along with the start winding for a split second at start-up to help get the compressor started. If the start relay is defective the compressor may run intermittently or not at all and the refrigerator will not get cold enough. The start relay should be replaced if defective.

Temperature Control Thermostat

How it Works:

If the refrigerator does not get cold enough the temperature control thermostat might be defective. The thermostat allows power to flow through to the compressor, evaporator fan and condenser fan. If the cooling system fans and compressor are running, but the refrigerator or freezer is not cooling correctly check for an airflow or defrost system problem.

Start Capacitor

How it Works:

If the refrigerator isn't cold enough the compressor might be having difficulty starting. The start capacitor serves as a battery to give the compressor a little boost during start-up. If the start capacitor is burned out the compressor might not be able to start and run as often as it should. Test the start capacitor first with a capacitance meter, they don't fail often. If it's defective, replace it.

Thermistor

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the thermistor might be defective. The thermistor is a sensor which monitors the air temperature. It is connected to the control board. If the thermistor is defective the refrigerator does not cool or may cool continuously.

Temperature Control Board

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the temperature control board might be defective. The temperature control board provides the voltage to the fan motors and compressor. These boards are often misdiagnosed. Check all other components to be certain this is the cause of the problem.

Compressor

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the compressor might be defective. The compressor is a motor which compresses the refrigerant and circulates the refrigerant through the evaporator and condenser coils. There are several other components which are more likely to be defective if the compressor doesn't work. If the compressor itself is defective a licensed professional will need to replace it.

Main Control Board

To see parts for your refrigerator, you need to enter your model number on the right. The system will then display parts that are associated with your refrigerator.

How it Works:

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the main control board might be defective. This is not common. Check the defrost system, cooling fans, and cooling controls first.

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