Our garage refrigerator (Kenmore with the freezer on the bottom) started not cooling in late July. The lights kept working & the freezer kept working, but the top part (the refrigerator section) stopped cooling and the temp adjustment buttons stopped working for the refrigerator section too. We unplugged it for 24 hours & when we plugged it back in, it started working just fine again... until about 2 weeks later when it happened again. This time while it was unplugged, we cleaned & vacuumed under it and behind it really well and when we plugged it back in we made sure it was pulled out a ways from the wall. Again, it fixed the issue and worked fine for maybe another week or so, but then it happened again! So repeated the process and it did the same thing again yesterday! 😩 We have had this (bought it used) refrigerator for about 1.5 years and it has always worked perfectly up until the end of July. Any idea what could be causing this problem???

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. A wild guess is that the duct from the freezer (where the main cooling coil is) to the 'fridge is freezing up. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Sep 12 '19 at 2:10
  • When you say "the temp adjustment buttons stopped working for the refrigerator section", do you mean to say that some electronic display visibly malfunctioned, or just that the unit failed to respond to an adjustment? – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 12 '19 at 2:59

My guess is it is not defrosting properly or a fan has failed. I go with not defrosting because of the 2 week cycle a failed fan it would probably not cool well at all. If not defrosting it takes time for the frost to build to the point of limiting the air flow. The display not properly functioning may point to some type of control board failure. It may be repairable and if you search online with the model number you will probably find the correct board for your model. Some of the sites that sponsor repair parts can be quite useful I have fixed stoves and dryers many times with parts from these sites.

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  • I would second the "not defrosting properly" diagnosis. I had a fridge that did the same thing several times. There was a heating element in the back of the freezer that was supposed to defrost the passage between the fridge and freezer. It failed, which meant every 2 weeks or so, built-up ice would block the air flow and the fridge would get warm and act as if it wasn't responding to the temp controls. – dwizum Sep 12 '19 at 18:48
  • So even though we have never seen any water or anything when it could be “defrosting”? The last few times we have gone through this process, it only works for a week or less before it quits cooling. It also seem more quiet when it isn’t cooling. – Ariel Scott Sep 13 '19 at 13:10
  • The defrost cycle melts the frost it drops to the bottom and drains into a tray on top of the compressor this is done behind the back wall of the fridge you don’t see the moisture as it is evaporated from the heat of the compressor. This is about the only thing I know of that could cause a long cycle like this that is fixed with unplugging. quiet when not cooling blocked air flow would be my guess. Any long cycle of close to a week or more it is not defrosting, a low charge can also also cause icing but that would not explain the controls issue. – Ed Beal Sep 13 '19 at 13:28

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