Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator [Issues & Solutions]

A Whirlpool refrigerator evaporator plays a crucial role in cooling the unit. This article is on how to troubleshoot and solve evaporator issues in simple steps.

Whirlpool refrigerator evaporator
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Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Location

The evaporator coil on a Whirlpool refrigerator is usually in the freezer compartment. The rear wall of the interior part of the freezer covers the coil, so you have to remove the panel to access the evaporator. The coil looks like a radiator and has an evaporator fan installed close to it. This location applies to all Whirlpool refrigerator models. You will also find a defrost heater attached to the base of the coils and a defrost thermostat fixed to the top or any other part.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Coils Freezing – What to Do

The evaporator coils in a Whirlpool refrigerator should be cold because the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air while in the coils, leaving the air cold. This, in turn, cools the coils, but they should not freeze. Therefore, check the defrost system if the refrigerator has an automatic defrost system. Otherwise, check the door gasket and any other opening that may let warm air into the refrigerator, as this article explains.

Furthermore, check the refrigerant level. When the refrigerator’s sealed system begins to leak, the refrigerant level drops and increases the pressure in the coils. As a result, the evaporator coils freeze. You will need professional assistance to determine the level of the refrigerant in the unit and add the gas if necessary.

Additionally, the main control board may be faulty. If nothing else seems to cause the accumulation of ice on the evaporator coils, test the main control board on the refrigerator. You will find it on the back of the unit; follow the instructions in the user manual to check the board and replace it if it is malfunctioning.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Not Working – Solved

If the evaporator fan in your Whirlpool refrigerator is no longer working, the problem may stem from the motor. But before checking the motor, inspect the entire fan. You will find it in the same compartment as the evaporator coils because it blows the cold air from the coils into the freezer, from where it flows into the refrigerator through vents.

Empty the freezer compartment and remove the shelves. Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power; unplug it from the wall outlet or turn off the circuit breaker. Next, unthread the screws holding the inside rear back panel in place. Lay the access cover and screws in place and inspect the fan. The fan may be attached to the cover on some models, so lower it carefully.

Turn the fan’s blades with your hand to check how well they turn. If they are stiff, the motor may be affected. Moisture, poor usage, and age can wear out the motor or cause it to fail prematurely. Ensure the blades are in good working condition; they must not be bent or damaged. Replace the baldes if they are damaged. Also, ensure the blades sit properly on the shaft and apply a little gear oil to see if the problem is friction.

But if the blades remain stiff, it means the motor bearings are worn. The bearings tend to wear out over time and since you cannot repair them, the only solution is to replace the motor. However, if the bearings seem to be in order, the motor may lack continuity. Get a multimeter and test the motor for continuity. If you find no continuity, replace the fan motor.

Note: If ice accumulates on the fan and coils, check the defrost system. Also, check the door seal to ensure it is working; it may be weak, letting warm air into the unit to build condensation on the cold coils and lead to an ice accumulation.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Noise – Quick Fix

The evaporator fan becomes loud and noisy if the motor is failing or there is an ice buildup in the fan compartment. Note that the fan may make a normal noise like buzzing when it is trying to optimize its performance. After a few seconds, the sound stops and the refrigerator returns to normal. So, if the fan buzzes or hums for a few seconds, it may be normal.

However, if the fan makes a grinding, squealing, or squeaking noise, checking it is crucial. First, ensure the noise is coming from the fan; open the freezer door while the fan is running. The noise should stop when you open the door because the door switch is deactivated. But activating the switch turns the fan on again. If the noise starts when the fan runs, inspect it.

Turn off the refrigerator and open the fan compartment. If there is ice, it may explain the grinding noise from the compartment. The same is true if there is a foreign object or debris stuck in the blades. Use a hairdryer to melt the ice if you want quick results or leave the freezer door open until the ice melts. If the problem is dirt, thoroughly clean the fan and ensure there is no debris left.

But if no ice or debris is obstructing the fan, the noise may come from the motor. Typically, you will hear a loud squealing noise as the fan runs if the motor is faulty. If that is the case, use a multimeter and test the motor for continuity. If the motor has continuity and you can bear the noise, consider using the fan for some time and save money. Replace the motor if the noise is unbearable or there is no continuity.

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Whirlpool Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Runs Continuously – How to Fix

A lack of cooling causes the fan to run constantly because it is part of the cooling system. The system comprises the compressor, evaporator fan, and condenser fan. While the fan runs, check to see if the compressor runs all the time. If that is the case, the refrigerator has a cooling problem.

Before you check any components, ensure the temperature control is correctly set. The temperature of the refrigerator must be set at 37 degrees Fahrenheit and must not exceed 44 degrees. The freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and must not exceed 5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Incorrect temperature settings can cause the fan to operate all the time as it tries to provide cool air. You can contact Whirlpool for the recommended refrigerator and freezer temperature settings.

Condenser Coils

But if the temperature settings are correct, the condenser coils may be dirty. The coils, which sit at the back or under the refrigerator, dissipate heat from the refrigerator as the refrigerant absorbs it from the air. If the coils are dirty, the dirt insulates them and prevents the efficient heat transfer from the unit. Consequently, the heat restricts the refrigerator’s cooling capacity.

The cooling system will run all the time to maintain a cool temperature. So, inspect the coils and clean them with a vacuum if they are noticeably dirty. Also, clean the area around the coils to ensure they do not get dirty soon after cleaning them. Then, wait for a little for the refrigerator to run to check if there is an improvement in the temperature. The fan should run normally if the temperature improves.

Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils produce cold air in the refrigerator. The process is that refrigerant flows from the compressor through the valve and into the evaporator coils. There, the coolant absorbs the heat in the air and cools it. During that process, the evaporator coils also become cold. But the defrost system usually warms the coils to prevent freezing. But if there is a significant amount of ice on the coils, the defrost system may have failed.

Thaw the ice by manual defrost; disconnect the refrigerator from electric power for a few hours, and leave the freezer door open for the duration. Another option is to use a hairdryer to melt the ice. But while this method is faster, it may not be safe to use a hairdryer for this purpose. The ice acts as insulation that prevents the release of cold air into the refrigerator. Consequently, the evaporator fan constantly runs to maintain a cool temperature.

Check the door seal, defrost timer, defrost heater, defrost thermostat, and the defrost control board. You can also check the main control board if the defrost system is in good working condition.

Whirlpool Gold Series Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Motor Replacement

Before starting the replacement process, disconnect the refrigerator from electric power. Open the freezer drawer and lift the bin or basket out of it. Using a large flat-head screwdriver, release the retaining tabs that secure the rail assemblies. Once loose, pull the freezer drawer assembly out.

Next, get a quarter-inch nut driver or socket and unmount the screws holding the left side rack support rails in place. Do the same with the right side rack support rails. Unlock the retaining tabs to release the gear support brackets to the left and right sides. Lift up the rails and remove the rack from the freezer.

Now, you have access to the back access panel in the freezer. Using the nut driver, loosen the screws that secure the access panel. Use a flat-head screwdriver to unlock the retaining tab so you can release the sensor cover. Detach the sensor from its cover and lay it aside.

Next, unlock the tabs on the fan cover and release it. You can remove the access panel from the freezer; ensure you set it aside out of the way. Locate the wire harness on the defrost heater and disconnect it. Also, remove the defrost thermostat from where it is attached to the evaporator coils and disconnect the green ground wire. Then, disconnect the primary wire harness.

There are two screws securing the motor housing to the access panel from the freezer. Lift the housing out of the freezer and pull off the fan blade from the motor shaft. Detach the wire retainers and unhook the wires from the clip so you can separate the old fan motor from the housing.

Move the support bushings from the defective motor to the new one and align the motor in the motor housing. Next, align the support bracket on the new motor and snap it into place. Hook the wires back into the clip and secure the wire retainers in their place. Install the blade on the motor shaft and set the motor housing on the panel to secure it with the screws you removed earlier.

Reconnect the primary harness, fix the ground wire, and connect the defrost thermostat to the coil. Reconnect the wire harness to the defrost heater and position the access panel over the compartment, ensuring the sensor is visible and extends from it. When properly aligned, mount the screws to secure the panel in the freezer and snap the cover in place. Retrace your steps to reassemble the freezer drawer to its original position.

Replacing the Evaporator Fan Motor in Other Models

Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power and open the freezer section. The evaporator fan is behind the inside back panel of the freezer, so you need to empty the section. Remove food items, shelves, racks, and bins. Also, remove the light cover if your model has the light on the back of the freezer.

Use a screwdriver to unmount the screws holding the access panel in place. Set the screws aside and lift off the panel from the section. Lay the panel aside and carefully pull the fan blade off the motor shaft. Next, disconnect the wire harness from the motor and remove the lower motor mounting bracket. Then, lift the old motor out of the unit.

Install the new fan motor and align it in the mourning bracket and push the shaft through the grommet. After that, snap the lower mounting bracket into the upper one to secure the motor. Now, connect the wire harness and install the old blade on the shaft of the new motor. When everything is in place, fix the access panel in place, align it accordingly, and secure it with the mounting screws.

Put the light cover back in place, ensuring it is secure. Replace the shelves, racks, and bins, ensuring none is sticking out so that they do not keep the door from closing. Put the food in the freezer and reconnect the refrigerator to electric power.

Contact Whirlpool if you need professional assistance to fix the evaporator fan motor or service the entire refrigerator. Alternatively, employ the services of an independent but qualified appliance technician for further assistance.

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