The thermostat is one of the most crucial components of a refrigerator. It may be small, but if it isn’t working correctly or has become broken, it will cause the whole system to malfunction. In which case, it would result in temperature-related problems in the refrigerator unit. When it’s cooling too much to the point that even the fridge is freezing up, even with some temperature fluctuations, it will cause food spoilage.
While thermostat problems are serious, they are among the most common refrigerator problems and can easily be fixed without a professional’s help. Here are the various reasons why your thermostat could be malfunctioning and what you could do to fix it.
Why is my fridge thermostat not working?
Rule out the possibility of human error
If you are dealing with an unusually cold fridge or hot freezer, it is first crucial to rule out the possibility that the thermostat is set on the wrong temperature setting. This usually happens if a family member has turned up the dial too high or too low unknowingly. This may also happen with older refrigerators when the marking is already gone.
Debris and dirt has damaged the thermostat
This is a common problem that affects the functionality of refrigerator thermostats. Over time, the buildup of debris and dirt in the back panel, where the thermostat is mounted, not in the dial, which is the thermostat’s external control, may cause it to malfunction.
The thermostat has just reached its lifespan
Refrigerator thermostats aren’t precisely long-lasting. This is why they are easily replaceable. In which case, they just stop working correctly over time with age.
What happens if my fridge thermostat is not working?
As mentioned, it is quite challenging to isolate the thermostat to be faulty first, without looking at other components. This is because the thermostat is connected to other parts of the refrigerator unit and generally affects the system. This is why a problem that is noticed from another component can be linked to the thermostat.
The compressor may be running continuously
The fridge’s compressor isn’t supposed to be running for the duration that the fridge is plugged in. Moreover, this should be a severe concern whenever the compressor runs when it isn’t supposed to; the refrigerator is consuming additional electricity. The compressor runs when you can hear the “hum” that comes from the back of the refrigerator.
Since the thermostat is connected with the compressor, as it “tells” the compressor to work and maintain temperatures whenever necessary, a faulty thermostat would be a likely culprit to a continuously running compressor.
The compressor may not be running at all
The alternative to the first scenario is the compressor may not be running even if the thermostat is on the highest ceiling. You can usually do a simple test to determine if this is the case.
Use a wire bridge and hook it up in between the thermostat terminals. This will essentially remove your thermostat from the equation while still providing its function for the compressor. If the compressor starts in this setup, then the thermostat is the one that isn’t working correctly, not the compressor.
The whole unit is freezing up entirely or not freezing at all.
If the thermostat is broken, the overall temperature regulation and maintenance of the fridge will be disrupted. Since the thermostat is responsible for signaling the start or end of the cooling process, it will just affect the fridge’s temperatures as a whole. This is also connected to the fact that the compressor is the machine that powers up the whole refrigeration process.
What could I do to fix my fridge thermostat?
Replace it. Simple as that.
It is far easier and cheaper to replace your thermostat than to get it serviced and fixed. In which case, getting it fixed will only lead to more breakage in the future. Moreover, you can easily replace it at home without a service agent’s need, with the help of a few tools that are easy to use.