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I have a Whirlpool refrigerator model WRF560SEYM04 (bottom freezer). The refrigerator is not maintaining temperature, but the freezer is working fine. I cleaned the condenser coils, which were fairly dirty, and went to check the evaporator fan motor operation. When I removed the back of the freezer to get to the evaporator fan, the upper right side had a big ice chunk around the two copper pipes going up into the actual refrigerator. Using a hair dryer I melted the ice. When it was plugged in again, the evaporator fan activated. I reassembled the freezer and plugged everything back in again.

I wasn't expecting to find the ice chunk. Is that something I should be worried about? Would the ice have caused the initial problem of the refrigerator not maintaining temperature, but the freezer working?

  • Thank you, Ed. This one uses R134, according to the label on the condenser. I wasn't thinking about a low refrigerant charge since the unit is only 3 years old. – Dustin Standel Sep 16 '18 at 20:58
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The ice chunk is an indication of a low Freon charge, or a evaporator that has a restricted air flow. Some units only actively cool the freezer and use fans to move cold air to the reefer making sure these vents are open and clear may show the problem if the refer has its own coil I would expect a low Freon charge to be the problem. Most refredgerators don't have ports to recharge but one can be added and the Freon topped up. R134a is very common and r404/410 are other types that are common with a few oz added the system will work like new if there are no other problems.

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First thing to check, any air coming into the refer area from the fan? If not then you have a restriction. Second, if this is the case, best thing is to manually defrost the unit. If you can move stuff to a temporary unit (another fridge/freezer, cooler, etc) defrost by unplugging the unit, wait several hours, could be several hours unless you speed it up with warm air introduced to the freezer section. Then once defrosted, restart the unit and monitor to see if it is cooling. Check the temp in the fridge and freezer. If it seems to be working fine and cooling the fridge side, then you have a defrost cycle issue and not a coolant(Freon) issue. This could be a number of parts, a thermistor, defrost heater, timer, circuit board, etc. The first place is to monitor the defrost cycle. If you can manually advance it and it seems to defrost, then you have a possibly timer issue. To monitor the defrost cycle, you need to have a clear view of the coil inside the freezer. If it melts the ice off the the coil, then your defrost cycle is fine. If not, you need to test the thermistor for the heater. If it is good, then the heater. If those are good, then the cycle timer could be bad. Im not sure how to check or manually change the cycle on a newer digital fridge, but older ones you can manually turn the timer to different parts of the cycle. You can turn it and listen carefully to see if it is making noise, also turn it until it clicks then listen for the fridge to do something. If the fridge is cycling on and off or sounds normal, then your issue is not the timer and would lead back to the defrost cycle. Most non-cooling issues I have ever come across (DIY guy that helps friends and family) are the thermistor or the timer.

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