Sometimes an unpleasant situation happens with household refrigeration units — the freezer works, the refrigeration compartment does not cool. It seems that the refrigerator did not break down, but it performs its functions poorly.
This situation is not only unpleasant for the owner, but can also be quite dangerous. If you let the situation take its course, the refrigerator may break down completely, and repairs will cost a pretty penny. Yes, and non-compliance with the temperature regime can not only lead to additional costs, but also seriously harm the health of households. It’s not worth waiting for. It is best to find a malfunction at the first sign, find out its cause and take appropriate measures.
How a household refrigerator works
Before finding out why the refrigerator began to freeze badly, it is worth talking about exactly how the refrigerator is designed and works. In principle, there is nothing complicated about this. The household refrigerator system includes 4 main components:
- tubing system.
In a hermetically sealed system, a special gas circulates — a refrigerant. It has a low t˚С of evaporation and boiling. When the refrigerant expands, it absorbs heat, and when compressed, it returns it back through condensation.
The refrigerant in home refrigerators is usually Freon. It is absolutely harmless, non-flammable substance. The liquid refrigerant enters under pressure into the capillary tubes, and then into the evaporator, where it begins to “absorb” heat. As a result, the surface of the refrigerator compartment cools down. This process is repeated from the beginning until the set temperature is reached in the refrigerator. Next, the temperature controller will work, which opens the electrical circuit and forces the compressor to stop. The temperature controller is necessary to protect the compressor from overloads and save electricity.
After some time, when t˚С in the refrigerator rises again, the circuit will close again and the cycle will repeat from the beginning.
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Primary diagnostics of the refrigerator
If you notice that the refrigerator does not freeze food or has begun to do it poorly, first of all, carry out a visual diagnosis of the device. Sometimes a malfunction may not be related to a breakdown, but is a consequence of the inattention of the owners.
- To begin with, make sure that the refrigerator is level, there are no distortions and nothing prevents the door from closing.
- Check if the refrigerator is connected to a separate outlet or if it works through a tee or extension cord. Sometimes the reason that the refrigerator has stopped freezing normally is that there is not good contact between the plug and the outlet.
- Carefully inspect the button labeled “Defrost”. In some models of refrigerators, the button may be accidentally jammed when the products are not placed correctly.
- Examine the thermostat. If the room is very hot, and the freezer is running at maximum, it is likely that the refrigerator simply cannot cope with such a load. This is especially true for refrigerators with one compressor. In such units, the refrigerating chamber works according to the “residual principle”. That is, the set temperature in the freezer is first reached and only after that the refrigeration compartment begins to cool. What to do? To solve the problem, set the temperature in the freezer to ‑10 — 12˚С, and in the refrigerator compartment, turn the thermostat knob to the middle position.
- If you have a No Frost fridge, check out the freezer fan. If it is frozen and does not work, then the cold will stop flowing into the refrigerator compartment. You don’t need to disassemble the freezer for this, just listen carefully. If you don’t hear a low, steady hum when the freezer door is open, defrost the refrigerator for 10–12 hours. This time is enough for the ice to completely melt and the situation to return to normal.
Finding minor bugs
If none of the above actions brought results, then it’s time to look for the reasons why the refrigerator stopped freezing. All breakdowns of a household refrigerator can be divided into two groups: small and large. First, let’s talk about small malfunctions, the repair of which will be relatively inexpensive. So, if the refrigerator works, but does not freeze, pay attention to its “weak” points.
There is a special rubber seal around the perimeter of the refrigerator door. It serves to ensure the tightness of the refrigerator and freezer. It depends on how tightly it fits to the door whether additional heat will enter the compartment from the outside. If it is dry, cracked and no longer fits snugly against the door, then you need to replace the seal with a new one.
To determine such a breakdown, you will have to use a tester. With the refrigerator turned on, “ring out” the node. If there is no voltage, the part will have to be replaced with a new one. Read on our website about how to replace the thermostat in the refrigerator yourself.
If the refrigerator light is on and the temperature is not dropping, touch the engine. It is likely that due to the high temperature it overheated, the thermal protection worked and the motor turned off. This is another reason why the refrigerator began to freeze badly.
Turn off the refrigerator and defrost it completely. Make sure the engine is completely cool and turn on the refrigerator again. If everything works, move the refrigerator away from the wall and other objects so that the motor can cool better.
Place an ordinary household thermometer in the refrigerator compartment and after a while compare its value with the readings of the temperature sensor. If they do not match, the sensor will have to be changed.
Serious refrigerator problems
If the refrigerator does not freeze, you did not find any small “sores” in it, which means that everything is much more serious. Most likely, the breakdown is related to one of the main nodes.
Fan motor failed
If this happens, you won’t have to search long. The fact is that the fan motor makes a very characteristic sound during operation, a uniform buzz. If you can’t hear it, the damage is obvious. It’s possible he just froze. But if prolonged defrosting did not help, you will have to call the master.
Compressor burnt out
If your refrigerator has only one compressor, you will immediately find a breakdown. Neither the freezer nor the refrigerator compartment will freeze. Most likely, next to the refrigerator you will very soon find a large puddle.
But if you have a two-compressor refrigerator, the problem may not be noticed immediately. In such models, each compartment has its own compressor. That is why the freezer can work normally, but the refrigerator compartment will be warm. Be that as it may, you are unlikely to be able to replace the compressor yourself, without the help of a specialist.
Clogged cooling system
Sometimes the filter drier, through which the oil for the electric motor moves, becomes clogged with waste or burnt particles. A good master will quickly determine the malfunction. Also, the system of thin tubes through which the refrigerant circulates is often clogged. It is impossible to eliminate such a breakdown without special equipment. It is necessary to thoroughly blow out the pipes under pressure and refuel the freon.
If you notice that although the engine is running, the condenser remains cold all the time, then there is a freon leak and the refrigerator is circulating air. Another sign of such a breakdown is rusty streaks inside the freezer located below. The cause of the leak may be microscopic cracks in the evaporator. That is why it is strictly forbidden to “help” the refrigerator with defrosting, scrape off snow and break off pieces of ice in the freezer.
Microcracks could also be formed due to the strong vibration of the refrigerator if it is installed unevenly. If you have recently moved the refrigerator, the pipes between the compressor and the evaporator have probably broken. In general, there can be many reasons.
If the crack is implicit, it will not be possible to detect it without a special device. In addition, in order for the refrigerator to work normally, after soldering, the system must be refilled with freon.
Refrigerator No Frost
Do you have a No Frost refrigerator? There is another reason why the No Frost refrigerator does not cool. For units with a dry freezing system, the heating element sometimes burns out. This node is needed in order to periodically defrost the cooling system. If the heating elements burn out, the fan will freeze into ice. To fix the problem, the refrigerator must be thoroughly defrosted and the thermal electric heater replaced.
Rules for handling refrigeration equipment
Of course, it is impossible to completely rid the refrigerator of malfunctions. But, following some rules, you can delay the onset of trouble:
- never put warm or hot food into the refrigerator;
- once or twice a year, clean the back of the refrigerator with a vacuum cleaner and a damp sponge; this must be done very carefully so as not to damage the tubes and wires;
- plug the refrigerator into an individual outlet so as not to disturb the wire when turning on other household appliances;
- when turning off the defrosting device, first turn the thermostat knob to the “0” position, and then unplug it;
- place the unit away from the stove, radiator and sink — the presence of an additional heat source next to the refrigerator creates an additional burden;
- move the unit away from the wall and other objects at least 5 cm — this will create normal conditions for proper cooling of the compressor.