My refrigerator does not stay cold anymore. It blows warm air. What should I do?
Ed from Las Vegas, NV
Thirty+ years ago I repaired refrigerators for a living. There have been some changes, mostly in the electronics that control them, but here are some things you can do.
First, make sure the condenser coil is clean. This is a (usually) black coil of tubing that is either underneath or behind your refrigerator. It is normally warm when the refrigerator is running. If it is clogged with dust or pet hair that may stop the refrigerator from working.
You said it "blows warm air", is that inside or outside? It should blow warm air outside, that's the heat that is being removed from the interior.
Does it need defrosting? If it is a "frost-free" model then that means it defrosts itself automatically. The defrost cycle may not be working, and diagnosing and repairing that is probably not something you can do yourself unless you're comfortable with an ohmmeter. If the refrigerator is less than about seven years old it will have electronic, not electric controls and there's no way out but to call a service tech with the proper diagnostic tools.
I had to call one myself a couple of years ago, the motherboard had gone bad. Up until then I didn't even know that refrigerators had motherboards. But being familiar with both computers and refrigerators I was able to order the part and replace it myself, saving $80 for the second service call. (02/14/2008)
This happened to me 4 days ago. I called my friends who seem to know alot about refrigerators. All of them said that my defrost cycle thermostat was "stuck". They told me to prop the door open for 4-5 hours and the motor would start again. It did. Now, this may or may not be permanent. It might happen next week or never again. But, it worked! (03/24/2008)
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