Fridge Not Cooling:
Some refrigerators are very quiet and smooth when they operate. If you cannot hear your refrigerator running or feel the compressor vibrating, your refrigerator is not working properly and you must investigate further. The chances are your refrigerator is not cooling or not cold.
First, try turning the cold control to the "off" position or unplugging the fridge; this will stop the compressor. Do you hear or feel a difference? If so, the compressor was running. WAIT SEVERAL MINUTES before turning the compressor back on for your diagnostic checks. The reason for waiting before you restart it is explained in section 3-4 (7).
If you perform the above test and do not feel a difference, try "listening with a screwdriver." Access the compressor by opening the back panel and place the metal end of a long screwdriver against the compressor and your ear against the plastic end of the screwdriver. You should hear the compressor running. If you are still unsure and you own an ammeter, test the current draw of the compressor at the compressor leads. If the compressor is running, it should draw about 6 amps.
If your compressor is running and your refrigerator is warm in both compartments (or not as cold as usual, i.e. chilly but meats are thawing,) first check your CONTROLS. You never know if your kids got in there and messed around with them. Set them on mid-range settings. See section 7-1 on KID CAPERS for some interesting stories about this subject.
Inside either the freezer or refrigerator compartment you will generally find at least two dial type controls.
One of them, called the cold control, is an electric switch that starts and stops the compressor based on the temperature that it senses inside the compartment.
The other dial is an air door that controls the small amount of air that passes to the food compartment while the evaporator fan is running. (See Section 1-3)
In some refrigerators, the movement of these air doors is not manually controlled. They may be controlled thermo-mechanically, or even electrically, by a computer board such as the ADC (Adaptive Defrost Control.) But there is usually a knob for setting the temperature that you want in each compartment.
Either dial may be marked with any one of a dozen different labels: "refrigerator control," "freezer control," "food compartment control," etc. Determining which is which can get a bit confusing. If the knob has an "off" setting which stops the compressor from running, it is the cold control.
In the absence of an "off" setting, the easiest way to tell them apart is to pull the plastic knob off the control. The cold control will usually have a wide tang and a narrow tang. (See Figure 8) The air door will usually have a plastic or metal "D"-shaped shaft (a round shaft with a flat) to which it attaches, although this is not always the case.
If the knobs will not come off with a firm pull, or you are still unsure of which control is which, try putting your hand in front of the air vents in the food compartment and manipulating the controls. Make sure the evap fan is running; you may have to tape the door switch so it stays on. If you are manipulating the air door, there should be a detectable difference in the strength of the air draft from the low setting to the high setting.
Often, the first thing that folks do when their refrigerator starts to feel warm is turn both controls on the coldest settings. This is exactly the WRONG thing to do. Turning the cold control to the coldest setting will keep the compressor running longer and make lots of cold air.
But turning the air door to the coldest setting closes the airway to the food section. Lots of cold air is made, but most of it stays in the freezer section, and the food section actually gets warmer.
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