How do I know if my thermostat is bad in my refrigerator?

The most common sign of a bad thermostat in your refrigerator is when the temperature inside is either too cold or too warm. A faulty thermostat can cause your refrigerator to run constantly or not at all, resulting in spoiled food and wasted energy. In this article, we will explain how a refrigerator thermostat works, how to test it, and how to replace it if needed.

How a refrigerator thermostat works

A refrigerator thermostat is a device that regulates the temperature inside the refrigerator by turning the compressor on and off. The thermostat is usually located in the back of the refrigerator, behind a panel or knob. The thermostat has a sensor that detects the temperature inside the refrigerator and sends a signal to the compressor. The compressor is the part of the refrigerator that pumps refrigerant through the coils, which cools the air inside the refrigerator.

When the temperature inside the refrigerator rises above the set point, the thermostat signals the compressor to turn on and start cooling. When the temperature drops below the set point, the thermostat signals the compressor to turn off and stop cooling. This cycle maintains a constant and optimal temperature inside the refrigerator.

How to test a refrigerator thermostat

If you suspect that your refrigerator thermostat is bad, you can test it using a multimeter, a device that measures electrical resistance. You will need to access the thermostat by removing the panel or knob that covers it. You will also need to unplug the refrigerator from the power source before you begin.

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To test the thermostat, follow these steps:

  • Locate the two wires that connect to the thermostat terminals. They are usually color-coded, such as red and black, or white and black.
  • Disconnect the wires from the terminals by pulling them gently. You may need to use a screwdriver to loosen the screws that hold them in place.
  • Set your multimeter to the lowest ohms setting, which measures resistance. The symbol for ohms is Ω.
  • Touch the probes of the multimeter to the terminals of the thermostat. You should see a reading on the display. If the reading is zero or close to zero, it means that the thermostat is closed and working properly. If the reading is infinity or very high, it means that the thermostat is open and faulty.
  • To confirm the reading, adjust the temperature knob on the thermostat to the highest and lowest settings. The reading should change accordingly. If the reading does not change, the thermostat is defective and needs to be replaced.

How to replace a refrigerator thermostat

If you have determined that your refrigerator thermostat is bad, you can replace it with a new one. You will need to buy a compatible thermostat for your refrigerator model, which you can find online or at a local appliance store. You will also need some basic tools, such as a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a wire stripper.

To replace the thermostat, follow these steps:

  • Unplug the refrigerator from the power source and remove the panel or knob that covers the thermostat.
  • Disconnect the wires from the thermostat terminals and remove the thermostat from its mounting bracket. You may need to use a screwdriver to unscrew the bracket or a pair of pliers to unclip the thermostat.
  • Install the new thermostat in the same position as the old one and secure it with the bracket or clip. Make sure that the sensor bulb is not touching any metal parts or wires, as this can affect its accuracy.
  • Strip about half an inch of insulation from the ends of the wires that connect to the thermostat terminals. You can use a wire stripper or a sharp knife to do this. Be careful not to cut the wires or yourself.
  • Connect the wires to the thermostat terminals according to the color code or the instructions that come with the new thermostat. You may need to use wire nuts or electrical tape to secure the connections.
  • Replace the panel or knob that covers the thermostat and plug the refrigerator back into the power source.
  • Adjust the temperature knob on the thermostat to the desired setting and wait for the refrigerator to reach the optimal temperature.
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Conclusion

A refrigerator thermostat is an important component that keeps your food fresh and your energy bills low. If your refrigerator is not cooling properly, you may have a bad thermostat that needs to be tested and replaced. By following the steps in this article, you can diagnose and fix the problem yourself, or hire a professional if you are not comfortable with the task. A new thermostat can restore your refrigerator’s performance and efficiency, and save you money and hassle in the long run.