I have a 5 year old "top freezer" style freezer-refrigerator: Whirlpool, Model: WRT318FZDB02

It looks like the pic attached. The lower section is called the Refrigerator, the upper section is called the Freezer.

The problem:

  • Certain foods left in the middle of the Refrigerator tend to freeze.
    • However, the top shelf of the Refrigerator doesn't have this problem (probably because relatively warmer air circulates to the top of that section).
    • This problem happens regardless of the "coldness setting" of the Freezer or the Refrigerator. And I've tried switching off the fridge for a whole day a few times, and the problem returns.

I'm guessing some temperature sensor likely stopped working. They're usually quite cheap to buy online, and easy to install (I've replaced a defrost sensor on another fridge, but that fridge had a whole other sort of problem).

My question: based on the information available, what is your diagnosis of the problem? (Or diagnoses.)

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  • Do you have any ice forming on the bottom of the refrigerator cabinet—below your crisper drawers?
    – Huesmann
    Jun 28, 2023 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


Is your fridge over-stuffed? If you are unable to remove items in the back without clearing everything out in front, it is most likely too full.

An over-stuffed fridge does not circulate properly and creates dead-zones. Those areas can either stay too warm, or too cold. It has these localized temperature differences because air gets trapped and doesn't circulate.

  • I suspect that my freezer may be too stuffed. Jun 29, 2023 at 16:49

Do you have any problems in your freezer section with temperature control?

First thought is if there's a air circulation fan that should be running to help circulate cold air in your refrigerator section, and that's not working to even out air in the refrigerator. My parents-in-law had a similar type of unit where there wasn't good cooling throughout, and there was a common fan that circulated air throughout the unit. Once the fan motor was replaced, everything cooled well again.

If there's a circulator fan and that's blowing well, do you have the refrigerator packed so full that air can't circulate well throughout the refrigerator section?

  • These are all comments, not answers...
    – FreeMan
    Jun 28, 2023 at 13:50
  • Than you for the suggestions. I'm going to investigate if there's air circulating in the Refrigerator section, and if not, I'm going to look into how to reach the part and replace it. Jun 28, 2023 at 18:06

Based on quick inspection of a parts diagram for that model number, it appears to me that your unit has only one evaporator which is located in the freezer compartment. That's the common configuration for top-freezer basic-model refrigerator/freezer appliances.

This style of appliance works by actively cooling the freezer section and sharing the freezer's cold air into the refrigerator compartment.

Sometimes there is a fan whose job is to push or pull air so that warmer air from the fridge is pushed into the freezer while colder air from the freezer returns to the fridge. Other times, especially for a top-freezer design, there's simply a door. The door opens to allow more dense/heavy/cold freezer air to sink into the refrigerator while warmer refrigerator air rises into the freezer section. A better appliance probably has both a fan and a door.

With a more careful study of a parts diagram you might be able to determine whether there's a fan, or a door, or both that control passage of air between the fridge and freezer. The faster approach is probably to just disassemble the cover over the freezer evaporator coil, and probably the cover over the duct in the refrigerator section, to see how it works.

From there, yeah, you have to figure out with an ohm meter, a volt meter, a power supply, etc how to test the temperature sensor and the actuators to find the fault. Don't overlook the possibility that there's a blockage or even a broken bit of plastic on a moving part causing the malfunction.

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