Seeing as your refrigerator is meant to keep things cool, it can be a bit of a shock when part of it is suddenly burning hot. A common issue with side-by-side refrigerators, especially older models, is that the portion between the two compartment doors gets hot. And not just a little warm to the touch, but noticeably hot.
So what causes this? And what can you do about it?
When the center panel gets hot like this but the compartments are still cooling normally, it’s typically a sign that something in your refrigerator isn’t working the way it should. So we’re breaking down a few of the most common causes including problems with:
- The condensor coils
- The condensor fan/motor
- The anti-sweat door heaters
Before attempting to troubleshoot your refrigerator yourself, always make sure to disconnect it from its power source first to avoid risk of injury.
The Condensor Coils
We’ve all heard it time & time again that refrigerator condensor coils need to be cleaned every few months, but most of us don’t usually do it as often as we should (…or at all).
So what happens? Well if you haven’t cleaned your coils in a while and take a look under your fridge, you’ll likely see that they’re gunked up with dirt, dust, and anything else that may have found it’s way under there…
It’s the job of the condensor coils to help remove heat from the fridge. When they’re clogged up like this it’s much harder for them to do that, so the heat stays stored up in your fridge often causing that center panel to get hot.
If you can catch this soon enough, a simple vacuuming and cleaning with a coil brush will usually do the trick. But if you let it go too far, you can potentially cause an issue with our next source: the condensor fan.
The Condensor Fan
When your condensor coils are clogged up, the heat gets trapped. To compensate for this, your condenser fan will often work overtime to try and remove the heat.
Your condenser fan isn’t meant to run constantly. When it does, it can damage or even burn out the motor after too long. This extended use can also lead to damage to the fan blade itself like warping or breaks.
If you notice that you no longer hear the fan running, the first thing you’ll want to check is that the fan blade is intact and clear of any blockages. If it seems to be working normally, you’ll need to test that the motor isn’t damaged, and replace if needed.
The Door Heaters
Certain older models were designed with a heater system running through the center panel to prevent condensation and rust. These heaters span the length of the panel, leaving it feeling warm, but not hot. On newer models this has usually been replaced by the hot condenser tubing to save energy.
If you’ve already checked the condenser coils and motor and are still having this issue, we’d recommend contacting a trained service technician and having them check it over.
We hope you found this helpful! If you did be sure to like this post & share it with a friend. Have a question or another tip, or maybe an idea for our next post? Leave them for us in the comments below & we’ll be sure to check them out.
Don’t forget to check out 1stSourceServall.com for any of your appliance part needs!
Written by: Sarah Walker