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Whirlpool Side by Side, refrigerator cooling at 50 freezer at 35 deg

cleaned coils did not help should I start with thermosat replacement

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Can you run a side by side out in the cold weather


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Evaporator Fan Motor

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the evaporator fan motor might have failed. Every refrigerator has a set of coils called and evaporator. The refrigerator may have one or more evaporator fan motor(s) depending on the model and evaporator locations. The evaporator fan motor circulates the cold air from the coils thru the compartment. If there is only one evaporator it is in the freezer side. If the fan is not working, no cold air will get to the refrigerator compartment. The freezer may still get cold.

Condenser Fan Motor

If the refrigerator is not cold enough there might be something caught in the condenser fan motor blade, or the condenser fan motor might be defective. The condenser fan motor draws air over the condenser coils to cool them. The condenser fan motor is located underneath the refrigerator near the back. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and remove the access panel to access it.

Start Relay

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the start relay may be defective. The start relay is a small device mounted to the side of the compressor. It provides power to the run winding along with the start winding for a split second at start-up to help get the compressor started. If the start relay is defective the compressor may run intermittently or not at all and the refrigerator will not get cold enough. The start relay should be replaced if defective.

Temperature Control Thermostat

If the refrigerator does not get cold enough the temperature control thermostat might be defective. The thermostat allows power to flow through to the compressor, evaporator fan and condenser fan. If the cooling system fans and compressor are running, but the refrigerator or freezer is not cooling correctly check for an airflow or defrost system problem.

Start Capacitor

If the refrigerator isn't cold enough the compressor might be having difficulty starting. The start capacitor serves as a battery to give the compressor a little boost during start-up. If the start capacitor is burned out the compressor might not be able to start and run as often as it should. Test the start capacitor first with a capacitance meter, they don't fail often. If it's defective, replace it.


If the refrigerator is not cold enough the thermistor might be defective. The thermistor is a sensor which monitors the air temperature. It is connected to the control board. If the thermistor is defective the refrigerator does not cool or may cool continuously.

Temperature Control Board

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the temperature control board might be defective. The temperature control board provides the voltage to the fan motors and compressor. These boards are often misdiagnosed. Check all other components to be certain this is the cause of the problem.


If the refrigerator is not cold enough, the compressor might be defective. The compressor is a motor which compresses the refrigerant and circulates the refrigerant through the evaporator and condenser coils. There are several other components which are more likely to be defective if the compressor doesn't work. If the compressor itself is defective a licensed professional will need to replace it.

Main Control Board

If the refrigerator is not cold enough the main control board might be defective. This is not common. Check the defrost system, cooling fans, and cooling controls first.

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Damper Unit

There is another thing to check which is a common problem. The evaporator fan motor circulates the cold air from the coils through the freezer compartment and via a channel into the fridge compartment. That cold airflow into the fridge compartment is usually regulated by an actuator which opens and closes a baffle, sometimes referred to as a damper. If this component fails it will usually do so in the closed position - which means the freezer works fine but the fridge side doesn't stay cold.

Locate the damper unit which is normally at the top of the fridge compartment and on the side nearest to the freezer compartment on a side-by-side model, and check that the baffle isn't stuck and that the actuator is opening and closing it correctly according to the temperature inside the fridge when the door is closed. You should feel cold air blowing in from the freezer evaporator fan (you might need to hold the door switch closed). If not you probably have a faulty damper unit, broken baffle slider or the thermistor, control board or cable that powers the unit is faulty.

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This was great inspiration for what turned out to my problem: The small piece of plastic pipe on the freezer side of the damper unit had filled up with frost. This prevented any air movement, and I am confident that clearing this out has solved my problem. Thank you for the inspiration.


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It transpired that although I had vacuumed the grill at the front when I took this off the grill was totally blocked. This prevented air circulating and the freezer cabinet froze up keeping the fan running all the time.

Cure -clean all inlets thoroughly , open doors and thoroughly defrost for at least 24 hours.

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Same thing happened with my Whirpool side by side. Freezer was cold, fridge was not.

Found my evaporator fan was not spinning due to ice buildup. Did a quick defrost with a hair dryer which did seemed to work but wasn't drawing enough cold air to the fridge compartment. At this point I thought it was the diffuser between the freezer and fridge. I took it apart and saw it was fine. At that point I was desperate and tried to think simple; let the fridge defrost naturally for 24 hours. I did that, started back up, and after a day of running the fridge side is nice and cold. Didn't need a relay that I bought, didn't need a thermistor. To add to this, I did clean the coils before (thinking it was bad heat xfer) with a $5 Lowe's coil brush front and back side (have to take off cardboard cover off rear).

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