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What to do when your side by side fridge stops cooling

A side-by-side fridge that’s no longer cooling can be a cause for concern, especially when it comes to preserving the freshness of your food. Before calling in professional help, there are a few self-diagnosis tips you can try to identify and potentially resolve the issue. 

When dealing with any brand of fridge not getting cold, there might be simple, brand-specific solution. Peruse your appliance’s user manual for relevant fridge troubleshooting steps, tips, and error codes.

1. Check the Thermostat Settings:

Begin by checking your fridge’s thermostat settings. Sometimes, the temperature controls may have been accidentally adjusted, causing the fridge to be warmer than intended. Ensure that the thermostat is set to the recommended temperature (usually around 37°F or 3°C for the fridge and 0°F or -18°C for the freezer).

2. Inspect the Door Seals:

Examine the door seals on both the fridge and freezer sections. A damaged or dirty seal can allow cold air to escape, leading to inefficient cooling. Clean the seals with warm soapy water and a soft cloth, and check for any cracks or tears.

You can test your door seal using a money note as follows:

  • Grab the note and open the fridge door,
  • Hold the note in place where the seal and fridge meet and close the door,
  • Pull out the note without opening the door,
  • If you feel resistance when removing the note, the seal is still working. If the note slips out easily, however, you’ll need to replace the door seal.

3. Clean the Condenser Coils:

Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on your fridge’s condenser coils, affecting its cooling efficiency. Locate the condenser coils (usually found at the back or bottom of the fridge) and use a coil brush or vacuum cleaner to gently remove any dirt and dust. Remember to unplug your fridge before cleaning the coils. Clean them once or twice annually to keep your fridge cooling properly.

4. Examine the Evaporator Fan:

The evaporator fan circulates cold air throughout the fridge. If it’s malfunctioning, your fridge won’t cool properly. To check the evaporator fan, unplug the fridge and remove the cover panel to access the fan. If the fan isn’t running, it may need to be replaced.

5. Assess the Condenser Fan:

The condenser fan helps dissipate heat from the condenser coils. If it’s not functioning correctly, the fridge may not cool efficiently. Like with the evaporator fan, unplug the fridge, access the condenser fan, and check if it’s running. Replace the fan if necessary.

6. Inspect the Compressor:

The compressor is responsible for pumping refrigerant through the fridge’s cooling system. If it’s not working, your fridge won’t cool. Listen for any unusual noises coming from the compressor. If it’s excessively noisy or not running, you may need a professional technician to assess and repair or replace the compressor.

7. Air vents:

Cramming too much food in too tight of a space is a common cause of not cooling, as items grouped tightly near a vent can block airflow. Keeping plenty of food products in your fridge helps it maintain a cool temperature, but don’t pack the compartment so tightly that air can’t circulate easily from shelf to shelf.

If none of the above self-diagnosing tips work, the cause might be a defective mechanical component. While it isn’t too difficult to replace some fridge components, pinpointing the exact problem can be tricky and require specialized equipment. Some service and parts might be so costly that you’re better off replacing a refrigerator that’s stopped cooling, but that should be a last-ditch option.

Contact our service department if you need help with a faulty appliance. Our fully licensed technicians are ready to help you.

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