Help! Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Partially Frozen!

Evaporator coils reduce the humid air in your refrigerator. So, when your Whirlpool fridge starts melting your food items, it means your evaporator coil is freezing. 

Once the evaporator coil starts freezing, it affects other components of your refrigerator because its performance is unusual. 

For this reason, you must fix the issue as soon as you notice it. In this article, we will find out why the evaporator coil of your appliance is malfunctioning.

If your fridge evaporator coil is partially frozen, your thermostat is faulty. Use a multimeter to test for continuity; if there is continuity, the fault is from another source. These faults include a defective timer, an inoperative heater, or a defective door seal. Once you notice the frost on your evaporator coil, contact a professional to fix the issue.

Why Is My Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Partially Freezing Up?

Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Partially Frozen

Your refrigerator evaporator coil partially freezes up due to a defective cooling or temperature component in your Whirlpool fridge. 

The temperature thermostat might be defective, or your defrost timer is unresponsive. It could also be due to a defective door seal.

However, before going ahead with repairs, you must know what problem you are dealing with.

The temperature control thermostat directs the voltage movement to the compressor, its motor, and the evaporator motor. 

Therefore if the control thermostat is faulty, the refrigerant in the evaporator coil will run for longer and start freezing up.

To check if the thermostat is defective, manually increase the thermostat level from low to high and listen for a click sound. If you hear the sound, then your thermostat is in good condition. 

However, if you do not hear any clicking sound, use a multimeter to run a continuity test on the thermostat. If there is no continuity, you have to change the thermostat.

#1. How Does the Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Work?

The evaporator coil plays a major role in the refrigerator cooling system. It works hand in hand with other main components of the refrigerator.

These components include the condenser, compressor motor, and expansion device, which also help cool the refrigerator. 

The main function of the evaporator coil in the fridge system is to convert heat in the fridge’s air, food, or water substances.

The evaporator coil is a heat exchanger that helps transfer heat from the food items out of the fridge and, in turn, maintains a cool temperature in the refrigerator. 

Therefore, when your refrigerator evaporator coil malfunctions, it will not effectively perform its job and start freezing. 

#2. Reasons Why Your Evaporator Coil Is Partially Freezing?

Various issues could cause your evaporator coil to fully or partially freeze. 

Having an idea of the issues can help you determine the cause, which saves you time and costs on unnecessary repairs.

Here are some possible reasons your evaporator coil is freezing:

#1. Dirty Refrigerator Evaporator Coil

This problem is the first potential issue you should inspect in your fridge. If your evaporator coil has dust, pieces of dirt, or any form of grease on the coil, it will reduce the efficiency of the coils.

The coils will not be able to absorb or release heat from the fridge, and this will cause the coils to freeze halfway or fully. 

To fix this issue, you need a piece of clean microfiber cloth and water to clean the coils. Ensure to clean the coils constantly to maintain the fridge.

#2. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat will not let the defrost heater turn on and melt the frost on the evaporator coil. 

The heater constantly turns on at several intervals to heat the coils and defrost any ice gathered on the evaporator coil. 

However, before the heater can function, the thermostat must detect the low temperature of the evaporator coils. The standard temperature for the heater is below 30° F.

Therefore, if the thermostat is faulty, the heater will not function, and the coils will continue decreasing in temperature and eventually freeze over.

If you want to confirm the functionality of the thermostat, test the continuity of the defrost thermostat with a multimeter. If there is no continuity present, you need to replace the thermostat.

#3. Defective Defrost Timer

The defrost timer controls the heater and turns it on constantly to deflect any accumulated ice on the evaporator coils. 

If the timer stops functioning, it will not be able to turn on the heater. Once this happens, the ice accumulates on the fridge evaporator coils and eventually ices over.

For the timer to turn on the defrost heater, it must be able to advance its level to the defrost cycle. Therefore, you need to fix the timer for it to advance to the required cycle. 

To check the functionality of your Whirlpool fridge defrost timer, use a screwdriver to turn the timer slowly until you hear a clicking sound.

When the defrost timer clicks, the fridge compressor and fans will turn off immediately. The defrost heater will start functioning if your thermostat and heater are in good condition.

Once the heater is functioning because you manually advance the timer to the defrost cycle, your defrost timer is faulty and needs replacement.

#4. Faulty Door Gasket

The refrigerator’s door plays a major role in keeping the fridge’s interior regulated and keeps air from flowing in or out of the fridge.

If the door seal is defective or the gasket is unreliable, hot air can leak into the refrigerator. If the air flows to the coils, it condenses and becomes frozen on the evaporator coils.

If this becomes regular, the coils will keep freezing, and the defrost cycle and thermostat will be at a different pace than the freezing coils. 

Test the reliability of the door seal by placing a dollar bill between the door and the gasket. Try to remove the bill after closing the fridge door.

If you can remove it, the seal is defective. However, if it does not, try the process in different parts of the door gasket. 

If you can pull out the dollar bill at any point, you must replace the door seal.

#5. Faulty Heater

Like the thermostat, the heater also affects the functionality of the evaporator coils. It turns on intermittently to defrost the evaporator coils. 

However, when the heater malfunctions, the frost on the evaporator coils will accumulate and start frosting.

To check if the heater is defective, test the heater for continuity using a multimeter. If there is no continuity, replace the heater.

#3. Causes and Fixes for Your Refrigerator Evaporator Coils

Dirty Evaporator coilCarefully clean the evaporator coils with a piece of cloth and clean water
Faulty HeaterIf the continuity test is negative, purchase a new heater and replace it
Defective ThermostatReplace the thermostat if it is not functioning
Faulty TimerReplace defrost timer if the continuity test is negative
Broken Door SealChange the door seal to prevent the inflow of humid air.

How Do I Stop My Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator From Freezing Up?

The best way to stop your fridge evaporator coil from freezing up is by performing regular maintenance on your appliance. 

However, if your refrigerator evaporator coils have started freezing, you can check the varying components that affect the functionality of the evaporator coils.

Refrigerators have a lot of components, and it can be difficult to locate them. However, you can check the components if you know what to look for.

Some of these components include the defrost timer, the heater, the door gasket, and the thermostat. Perform tests on these components to ensure they are in optimal condition. 

Below are some ways to stop your Whirlpool refrigerator evaporator from freezing up:

#1. Clean the Evaporator Coils

Check the evaporator coils for any signs of dirt or debris. If there is any dirt on the coils, use a clean cloth to wipe off the dirt on the evaporator coil.

You can find the refrigerator coils at the back of the appliance. You might have to unscrew the back cover if your fridge is a new model.

#2. Replace Defrost Heater

The defrost heater is close to the evaporator coil, usually above or below the coils. Before replacing the heater, use a multimeter to test the current. 

You should change the defrost heater if there is no continuity in the multimeter.

#3. Replace Defective Thermostat

The thermostat tells the defrost heater when to function and melt any frost on the evaporator coil. You can find this component on the back panel of the refrigerator. 

If the thermostat is malfunctioning, the heater will not perform its function. Use a multimeter to check if the thermostat is working. 

If there is zero current, purchase a new thermostat to replace the defective one.

#4. Change the Faulty Timer

You can find this fridge component on the right-hand side of the control panel. If you turn the timer to its defrost cycle, the heater and defrost, the thermostat will start functioning.

However, this also means that your timer is defective, and you need to replace it.

How Do I Know if My Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Is Frozen?

Once your refrigerator seems warmer than usual, there is a fault somewhere. This problem is a power issue or frost on the evaporator coil. 

If the former is not the issue, you have to access the evaporator coil and find out the cause of the problem.

Locating the evaporator coil is quite easy, especially if you know where to look for it. You can identify this component at the back of the fridge compartment of your fridge.

To access the evaporator coils, you need a screwdriver to open the back cover that covers the fridge compartment.

To locate the evaporator coils:

  • Empty the fridge of all food items and keep them somewhere clean. Then, unplug your fridge from its power source.
  • Clean the fridge and use a towel to dry any wet part of the fridge. If you have an ice maker in your fridge, remove it from the mount with a screwdriver.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the fan motor and pull it out. Next, unscrew all the nuts holding the back panel to the fridge and remove any plugs carefully.
  • Pull off the back cover to access the evaporator coils and fan to perform the necessary maintenance check.

What Is the Quickest Way to Defrost a Whirlpool Refrigerator Coil?

The quickest way to defrost your whirlpool refrigerator coil is by turning off your thermostat to allow the heater to melt off the ice on the evaporator coil.

However, if your fridge is an old model, you might not be able to defrost it with a thermostat; you will have to use the manual defrost method.

Most new appliances can automatically defrost the ice on the evaporator coils, so you will not require a manual defrost method.

Here is the quickest way to defrost your evaporator coil by heater defrosting:

  • Take out all the food items in the fridge, including fridge trays. Set the defrost thermostat to zero.
  • Once you set the thermostat to the lowest temperature, it will turn on the heater, and warm air will flow through the fridge.
  • Open the appliance doors to allow the air to circulate through the fridge. Then, empty the drip pan at the bottom of the fridge as it fills up with water.
  • Once you have defrosted the coils, reset the defrost thermostat and allow the fridge temperature to get back to normal (about 42°F).
  • Return the food items to the fridge once the temperature is stable and cool.

However, suppose your fridge is an old model. In that case, you can defrost your evaporator coil manually by following the steps below:

  • Before manually defrosting your evaporator coil, ensure you have removed all the food in the fridge and defrosted the freezer.
  • Place towels under the fridge to collect the defrosted water.
  • Set the thermostat to the lowest level and disconnect your refrigerator from the unit. You can also use a hair dryer to quicken the defrost process.
  • Dry the fridge, freezer, and coils before connecting your fridge to the power source. 
  • Increase the thermostat and allow it to get to a cold temperature before replacing the food items in the fridge.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coil?

Replacing your Whirlpool refrigerator evaporator coil will cost you about $700 to $2,000, depending on the model of your Whirlpool refrigerator.

It also depends on the size and brand of your evaporator coil. The coil can cost about $200 to $1500, while the installation can cost between $250 to $1200.

Evaporator coils are essential for your refrigerator to cool properly. The coils circulate refrigerants to condense humid air and maintain a low temperature. 

Perform regular maintenance on your Whirlpool fridge to avoid future damages from lack of maintenance.

Final Words

Your Whirlpool fridge evaporator coil is partially freezing due to faulty components like the defrost heater, thermostat, timer, and refrigerator gasket.

If your evaporator coils are partially frozen, they can gradually completely freeze over.

Therefore, once you notice the signs, contact an expert to perform the necessary repairs before it worsens.

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