A refrigerator is one of the most common appliances in American homes. Everybody loves the freshness maintained by refrigerators, not to mention the cooling effect on a hot day. Unfortunately, whenever refrigerator malfunctions, most of us are quick to call for a technician even before attempting to find out the problem.
A thermostat is an essential component of the refrigerator that regulates temperature. As such, a faulty thermostat could result in poor refrigeration performance. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to test a refrigerator thermostat despite the simplicity involved. This ultimate guide will help you troubleshoot problems associated with the thermostat before calling for a handyman or buying a new one.
What is the purpose of a thermostat in a refrigerator?
A thermostat is an electrical component that regulates refrigerator temperature. Have you ever left your refrigerator overnight to wake up and find that the foods are either unusually cold or just as you placed them? These are some of the signs that the refrigerator thermostat might be faulty. Depending on the foods you wish to preserve, the thermostat allows you to set the desired temperature via the controls. The thermostat on the outside can also affect the performance of a freezer if it’s left in a place like your garage. If you don’t purchase a garage ready freezer, then the thermometer will turn off the compressor and thus ruining the food inside of the freezer.
How can you tell when the thermostat of a refrigerator is faulty?
Even though you may not have an idea of how to test a refrigerator thermostat, it is easy to tell when it is faulty. Here are some things that may indicate a problem with the thermostat.
If you have noted that your refrigerator is not sufficiently cooling foods as usual or the temperature is inappropriate, this could indicate a thermostat problem.
The refrigerator gets unusually cold.
Not unless you have placed foods in the freezer compartment in a bottom freezer refrigerator, finding foods frozen in other compartments could mean a malfunctioning thermostat.
Abnormal temperature fluctuations
In the normal setting, a refrigerator operates at temperatures in the range of 320F to 400F. If you note abnormal fluctuations in temperature, then it’s high time you familiarize yourself with how to test a refrigerator thermostat.
How to test a refrigerator thermostat step by step
Knowing how to test a refrigerator thermostat could save you money and time spent when seeking professional help. If you note any of the above danger signs, testing the thermostat is one of the quickest things you can do to troubleshoot the problem. Here are four simple steps you can follow to test the functionality of your thermostat.
Step 1: Check the thermostat control
If you have always wondered about how to test a refrigerator thermostat, the first thing you do is check the thermostat’s temperature control. If you find that despite having the best bottom freezer refrigerator, all the food you place gets frozen, it is important to check that you have not set the temperature too high. Spoilage due to high temperatures may also occur if the temperature is set too low.
Step 2: access the thermostat
If you found no problem with the control, the next step in how to test a refrigerator thermostat is accessing it for a checkup. Before doing anything else, ensure that you unplug the refrigerator from the power supply. Clear the fridge of all contents to create space for accessibility. Using a torch to illuminate the dark interior as the lights are off, locate the thermostat hidden by a plastic cover with a dial knob for opening. Remove the dial and the cover to expose the wiring of the thermostat.
Step 3: Check the thermostat readings
If you don’t know how to test a refrigerator thermostat, using a multimeter might sound like rocket science. Surprisingly, it is a simple step that begins by setting it to the coolest level. After this, detach the thermostat from the refrigerator by removing the two lead wires connected to it. Set the multimeter to RX1 and then place the probes on each of the thermostat terminals. What readings do you see on the screen? If it’s a zero, your thermostat may require a replacement.
Step 4: confirm the functionality of the thermostat in a functional refrigerator
Despite recording a zero on the multimeter, there are chances that your thermostat could still be functioning. That means you could do a confirmation that requires a functional refrigerator. Remove the thermostat and then set the temperature to the warmest level. Install it in the fault-free refrigerator and run it for about half an hour, after which you take the readings again using a multimeter, as explained in step 3. If the reading shows an infinite value, you can smile, knowing that it is still functional. However, if the reading shows a zero, then you have to buy a new one for replacement.
In case the thermostat is fine, install it back and check for other possible sources of the refrigeration problem.
Although it is a major cause of temperature problems, most people don’t know how to test a refrigerator thermostat to see if it’s the cause of the problem. Nevertheless, following the above steps is a sure way to tell whether you need to replace it or find the problem elsewhere, in which case you can call a technician.