A Whirlpool fridge not cooling means a shorter preservation life for all your refrigerated food than you're expecting. Before your food begins to spoil, follow a short troubleshooting list to see if you can take care of the problem first without having to call a refrigerator technician. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that some solutions are easy to diagnose and resolve, even if you're typically not a fix-it guy or gal.
New Whirlpool Fridge Not Cooling
If your Whirlpool refrigerator is newly installed, cooling is not instantaneous; it takes a little while for it to cool completely. Allow 24 hours from the time you connect power to your new fridge and turn on the cooling feature before you put food inside. If you add food before this initial cooling period, it may spoil. Resist the urge to adjust the cool settings lower than the recommended temperature in an effort to reduce the initial cooling period of 24 hours; Whirlpool notes that doing this will not cool your fridge any faster during the initial cooling period.
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Recommended Refrigerator Temperature Setting
Whirlpool presets the refrigerator cooling control at the factory to 37 degrees F (0 degrees F for the freezer). And for the most part, these are also the temperatures at which you want to maintain your fridge's settings.
But if you do need to adjust the temperature to a cooler setting, do this by setting the control only 1 degree F lower at a time. After lowering by 1 degree F, wait 24 hours to see if this incremental change sufficiently cools your food. If not, lower it by 1 more degree F and wait another 24 hours, repeating this procedure if necessary.
Dirty Condenser Coil
A common solution for your fridge and freezer not cooling requires a little housekeeping. As refrigerant moves through a fridge's condenser coil, the coil removes excess heat, which maintains the efficiency of the coil as it keeps your refrigerator cool. But because this coil typically is located at the bottom of a refrigerator, it can become clogged with dirt, dust and pet hair. If the coil becomes clogged with this debris, it loses its ability to remove excess heat and the refrigerator has to work harder just to keep food cool.
Before you attempt to clean your refrigerator's condenser coil, unplug your fridge or turn off the circuit breaker that supplies power to it. Consult your user manual for the exact location of the condenser coil and the removal steps for the metal grille or kick plate that covers the coil. Generally, you'll remove this grille by pushing down on it and snapping it off or by removing screws that hold it in place.
With the grille removed to expose the condenser coil and your fridge unplugged, use the hose end of a vacuum cleaner to suction all the debris from the coil. Replace the grille, restore power to your fridge and wait 24 hours before checking to see if the food inside is cool.
Problems With Compressor
For a fridge compressor running but not cooling, the problem can lie with the compressor or with the components that help it work, such as the start relay and start capacitor. The compressor is the pump that circulates refrigerant through the condenser coil. The start relay is what signals the compressor to run, and the start capacitor boosts power to the compressor when it starts. Diagnosing, repairing or replacing these components are tasks best left to licensed refrigerator technicians.