General Question

flo's avatar

Can the fridge be fixed if problem is dial (Defrost Cold etc) related?

Asked by flo (13313points) March 27th, 2018

It was turned further from “Defrost”, (it allowed that to happen I don’t know why, as opposed to on the opposite end, it’s impossible to go any further from “Coldest”. So, is there anything unexpected like slapping the TV would make it start working in the old days), or some other way that can fix the problem?

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17 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

An appliance repair maybe be possible but if it is over 12 years old there is a probability that something else may go wrong. It may only be the dial not the thermostat.

stanleybmanly's avatar

find someone who understands basic electricity. they can bypass the the temperature control by excluding it from the circuit. The compressor should run continuously, and you can quickly determine whether or not you have refrigeration.

kritiper's avatar

The dial is the thermostat (it’s adjustable, like the one on your car and home A/C units.) Have it checked by a reputable repair man!!!
Or, have someone check to see that the probe (that is a temperature sensing component of the thermostat) is firmly implanted in the evaporator (the freezer/cold part). (This is not a wire but a refrigerant filled tube, so be careful it doesn’t get broken.)
I’ve heard it said that some old refrigerators respond well (and I’m not kidding!) to a nice ride on a bumpy road in the back of a pick-up truck.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m not understanding your description / details of the problem, so I’m going to go out on a limb here:

The refrigerator isn’t working correctly, but it’s not clear what the problem is.

Usually, one of two things happens to make a refrigerator malfunction:
1) It either stops cooling the contents at all, or
2) It builds up frost inside because (on modern refrigerators) the “self defrost” has stopped working.

If it’s the first problem, it could be that the condenser has failed, or the motor has quit working or something else has happened to make the refrigerator mechanically “stop working” – you’ll need someone to troubleshoot the problem and fix it for you (probably by replacing at least one component), and I can’t help you with that here.

Alternatively, if the refrigerator is frosting inside where it ought not to do that, or has avoided doing that in the past, it may be that the self-defrost drain lines have somehow gotten clogged, and the inability of the box to drain the normal condensation has caused it to freeze inside, which it should not be doing.

If the refrigerator has frosted up inside, then whatever else is done, it needs to be defrosted, because it can’t work properly if it’s lined with ice inside. It’s a paradox, but modern refrigerators need to be kept ice-free to work properly.

Continuing in that case, the best fixes are to examine the drain pan to make sure that it’s cabable of beind drained into (this will be a wide, flat pan at the base of the box, which is generally able to cope with “normal” drainage of condensate from inside the box, and which will then evaporate into the room – this is how modern refrigerators work. If the drain line is blocked, or if there’s crud on the pan that won’t allow the water to drain into it, then this needs to be cleaned. (If the drain pan is loaded with water, then that might indicate that the fridge has had a problem with too much condensate in the past. In that case, empty the drain pan and keep an eye on things – that pan in particular – as you watch the future performance of the fridge.)

It’s also possible that something has happened inside the refrigerator (or freezer) box to plug the inlet to the drain line (or to fall down inside that drain line) which prevents normal drainage. That needs to be taken care of: the drain needs to work.

The refrigerator’s condenser coils (exposed to room atmosphere at the bottom of the box on most modern fridges, or along the back side on somewhat older models) also need to be kept relatively free of cobwebs and dust (or pet hair) buildup. When they aren’t kept clean, then the refrigerator can’t adequately release the heat that it needs in order to do its function (that is, to bring heat from “inside” the box and release it to “outside”), and the appliance will work too hard, too continuously, and fail prematurely.

johnpowell's avatar

Pins on the potentiometer probably got bent from someone going to hard. Pretty easy fix if you have some basic tools and guts. If it is what I think it is no new parts should be needed.

flo's avatar

Thanks all. I didn’t mention in my detail, but it was refusing to defrost after a day or so of it being left on “Defrost”. Thanks for reminding me @CWOTUS.
@kritiper a nice ride on a bumpy road in the back of a pick-up truck., that’s the kind of thing I was looking for. Same idea as slapping the TV.

The dial shouldn’t have had a give to it, if it ‘s going to end the life of the fridge, IMO.
The dial for the stovetop on an oven allows you to go to maximum heat by going counter clockwise.

flo's avatar

Thanks to all, again, especially some of you obviously put a lot of thought into it.

kritiper's avatar

The dial on a stove and a dial on a fridge don’t quite work the same, so a bad comparison…
The stove is electrical, entirely, where the fridge dial/t-stat has refrigerant (gas) in it.

flo's avatar

@kritiper Ok I can’t claim I know enough t debate that, but isn’t a fridge electrical as well?

kritiper's avatar

@flo Yes, but not the thermostat itself where it senses the temperature of the fridge/freezer. In other words, no electrical wire that goes to the actual temperature sensing bulb. A stove has an all electric rheostat or bi-metal strip connected with electrical wires. (No refrigerant filled tube (capillary).

flo's avatar


Now why does the dial have a give to it (on the Defrost end) when there is no give to to it on the other (Coldest) end?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The way you phrase questions drives me crazy. Are you asking why the knob NOW turns beyond its former fixed stop position?

flo's avatar

@stanleybmanly There are so many questions out there that need answering, and that are cdlear to you. I see questions that I don’t get and that others get, and answering it perfectly.

kritiper's avatar

@flo I would assume that the “bounce” comes from that part of the switch that is closest to turning the refrigerator off, whereas the other end of the switch, where it doesn’t “bounce,” is at the opposite end of the switch’s travel and connects with a stop (limiting) feature to stop the dial from being turned further, breaking the thermostat.
By “switch, I mean exactly that: part of the thermostat controls the refrigerator’s electricity that turns the unit’s compressor on and off, and this compressor control is controlled by the part of the switch/thermostat that is controlled by the refrigerant filled tube/bulb. So one side of the thermostat is electrical, and the other side is refrigerant/pressure.
In the oven, a mercury filled tube is mounted on a adjustable spiral spring that is heat sensitive. When the spring gets hot enough, it expands in a circular direction, tipping the mercury tube to the point where the mercury flows to the other side of the tube. There are electrical contacts at each end of the tube and when the spring and tube coil one way, an electrical connection is made turning on the stove/oven. when it gets hot enough, the spring coils the other way, the mercury runs to the other end of the tube, and the electrical contact is broken.
There are books out there that explain the whole thing. Maybe the subject would interest you…

Response moderated (Spam)
flo's avatar

@kritiper t could be that the Activiry For You wasn’t showing that I have an answer that I didn’t repsond when you posted that.
It’s too complicated (the topic ) for me. Thanks.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It now astonishes me that even at this stage here in 2018, with at least 5 years of experience, I had yet to recognize these questions for what they are.

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