You expect your refrigerator to stay cold enough to freeze your meat and keep your produce fresh. But if the bottom cabinet is warm and the top cabinet keeps icing over, check the condenser fan in the rear cabinet of the appliance. If the fan stops spinning, it can remove heat from the refrigerator. The evaporator coil inside the freezer cabinet will build up with ice. Here's how you check and restart the condenser fan.
Learn Why the Condenser Fan Possibly Stopped
Although the condenser fan is small, it's powerful enough to push warm out of the compressor (motor) compartment, which prevents heat from backing up into the fridge. The fan can stop if a string or something else wraps around its blades or shaft. Heat can build up inside the compressor and overheat it.
Dust and other debris can also build up around the fan's motor and keep it from turning on. If the panel covering the rear cabinet is torn or missing, it can allow house dust to coat the motor. With the right tips, you can check for this issue and the problem above yourself.
Check the Fan for Obstructions
First, unplug the appliance to avoid electrical shocks to the skin or body. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall, then access the fan and compressor compartment. There may be a thin panel covering the compartment, so remove it with a screwdriver. If the panel is missing or torn, make note to replace it.
Next, use your hand to manually spin the fan. If the fan is free of obstructions, it should turn easily. If the fan is blocked, it'll spin very little or not at all. Using a toothbrush or another small brush, clean the surfaces of the fan and its shaft and motor. Examine the small black box attached to the fan's motor. The box is the condenser unit. Use a slightly damp cloth to clean it as well.
Finally, check the compressor for debris. If the compressor isn't too hot to the touch, you can use your cloth to wipe down its surfaces. Otherwise, wait until the compressor cools before you clean it.
You can now use a small vacuum to suction clean the rear compartment. To avoid pulling loose the wiring inside the compartment, use gentle movements to clean it out. Return power to your refrigerator and give it time to cool. If the top compartment doesn't ice up, you solved the problem.
If the top compartment continues to freeze up, contact an appliance repair technician, such as from American Appliance INC, for further assistance.