Side-by-Side Refrigerator Problems

Space saving, convenient and often pretty to look at, side-by-side refrigerators are a moderately modern appliance. They require minimal upkeep and are fairly maintenance-free compared to older refrigerators, which have less functional freezers on top that tend to hold less items and have smaller capacity ice makers. But there are a few problems that side-by-side refrigerators tend to give the owners. These problems are best handled before they build into a big mess.

Open Refrigerator In Modern Kitchen
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Side-by-Side Refrigerator Problems

Frost Build-Up

If you have small ice droplets on the freezer walls, don't panic. That is normal. If you have a coat of frost, you need to get to work to locate the issue. Unplug the refrigerator before you begin working on the appliance. If frost continues to build up on the back panel or coat the sides, it is most often the gasket that is causing you troubles. It may just need cleaning to get errant crumbs or smudges of ice cream out of its crevices for it to seal correctly and keep the cool air in. If it is damaged, a gasket is simple to replace. If you aren't sure, slide a sheet of paper between the door and the gasket and shut the door. If it falls or can be pulled out with the slightest of tugs, then you have a gasket that isn't sealing properly.

Ventilation Matters

The internal vents of the freezer keep the cool air circulating. If the freezer of your side-by-side fridge is packed, it can cause the appliance to work harder to keep all sides at the correct temperature. Check the vents to make sure they are free of packages and no items are backed up against the back wall. This will cause the freezer to get too warm and condensation to build up.

Ice Maker Issues

Ice makers are a must in modern appliances, but they can be a mess. The flap that keeps the ice from falling out can sometimes get stuck in the open position. The slightest opening allows a stream of warm air to ride into the freezer and wreck your frozen environment. Check the ice chute and fiddle with the flap from the inside to make sure it is closing completely. If it is not flush against the housing, take the ice bin completely out, empty it and give it a good washing. Return it and make sure it is snug in its place and the flap can fully shut.

Fridge Not Cool Enough

If your fridge is warmer than it should be, you may just need to give the back a good cleaning. The evaporator fan may be clogged with dust or blocked if your refrigerator isn't getting down to its correct temperature. Check the coils in the back of the fridge and clean them. It's a good idea to clean the dust and debris from the back of your refrigerator once a year. Slide the appliance from its home and unplug it before vacuuming the back and as much of the underneath area that you can safely reach. Remove any covers and give them a wash as well.

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at