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:

  • com­pres­sor;
  • capac­i­tor;
  • evap­o­ra­tor;
  • 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.

How a household refrigerator works

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.

See also - Refrig­er­a­tor start-up relay: design and oper­a­tion

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.

See also:


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.

Dry sealant

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.

Broken thermostat

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.

what to do if the refrigerator does not freeze

Motor overheating

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.

temperature sensor

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.

Serious refrigerator problems

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.

Refrigerant leak

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.

Refrigerator No Frost - heating element burned out

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.

See also: