Your refrigerator is essential in keeping the food in your house at a temperature that is safe for consumption. Temperatures at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit are necessary to keep bacteria from growing out of control and causing illnesses. The FDA recommends keeping a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure temperatures remain consistently cool.
If you notice the internal temperature in the appliance slowly starting to rise, then you need to investigate the issue as soon as possible. In some cases, the problem may be with the refrigerator defrost system. There are a few things you can check and try to repair on your own, so continue reading to learn about these things.
Defrost Timer Issues
Your refrigerator has a compressor, evaporator coil, and a condenser coil that allow the refrigerator to create cool air. A refrigerant runs through the coils with the assistance of the compressor and heat is absorbed by this coolant as it moves through the evaporator coils that sit in the freezer compartment. When heat is absorbed, it leaves behind cool air that freezes the items in the freezer and cools the food in the refrigerator. As the refrigerant runs through the condenser coils on the back part of the refrigerator, heat is released.
Condensation forms on the evaporator coils during the heat absorption process that occurs inside the freezer, and the water freezes to create frost. When too much frost builds, the heat exchange cannot occur properly. The coils in the freezer are defrosted on occasion to prevent this from causing cooling problems inside the refrigerator and freezer. This occurs with the help of a heater secured directly on the evaporator coils, and a timer tells the heater when to activate.
Testing and Changing the Timer
Sometimes, the timer that informs the defrost system to kick on goes bad. This prevents the defrost cycle from starting when frost builds up, and sometimes it even forces the heater to stay on for an extended period of time. The timer for your refrigerator is typically located inside the control panel, and it looks like a small box with a gauge or knob in the center that can be turned.
To see if the timer is working correctly, unplug your refrigerator and remove any screws that keep the device in place. Pull the timer out of its socket gently and look for the two sets of wires that run to the timer. Use a multimeter to test the wire connections and also the terminals on the timer itself. You will need to activate the timer by turning it clockwise a small amount first.
Test for continuity with the multimeter. If the wires inside the refrigerator do not provide a reading, then they may need to be replaced. This is also true of the timer as well. Contact a refrigerator repair specialist for rewiring and also ask this professional for help with purchasing the right timer unit.
Drain Pan Issues
When the refrigerator goes through its defrost cycle, the frost melts and water is then pulled away from the freezer compartment. This fluid moves through a small drain line and into a drip pan or drain pan. In some cases, the drain line can freeze and clog with ice. Food particles from the freezer can also clog the drain. When this happens, water will pool around the evaporator coils and refreeze. The drip pan will likely be dry if this problem is occurring. Remove the front or rear panel from the lower part of your refrigerator to locate the pan.
If the drain pan is dry, use a flashlight to find the end of the drain line that sits in the freezer close to the evaporator coils. Once you find this end, try to pour a small amount of warm water down the line. If you start to see water dripping slowly into the drip pan, then continue adding water to the line until water flows freely through it. If this does not work, then ask your repair specialist to replace the drain line for you.