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Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
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Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
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Whirlpool refrigerator model# XXXXX The refrigerator

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Whirlpool refrigerator model# XXXXX

The refrigerator part does not appear to be cooling, although, the freezer appears to be cold.
Hello, and thank you for using this service. I'll be helping you with your problem today.

So the refrigerator cools by stealing air from the freezer which means that something is stopping the airflow from the freezer up to the refrigerator if the freezer is still cooling. Can you open the freezer drawer and do you hear the fan inside the freezer running? It will be very obvious when the drawer is opened as opposed to closed if the fan is running. Also, look at the back wall inside the freezer and is there frost building up on the back panel?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Tyler,


Fan is running and there is a thin layer of frost buildup.

OK so that frost is a problem. You should see no frost. This means that the coils behind the back panel inside the freezer are completely packed with frost. You'd need to use a hair dryer and thaw all the frost out after removing the back panel inside the freezer, obviously not an easy task. There is a defrost heater below the silver coils and a 1" round device called the defrost thermostat mounted to the top of the silver coils. If you have a multimeter, you can test continuity through each part and if either part doesn't have continuity, then you need to replace it. If both parts check good, the display board inside the refrigerator which controls the defrost cycle needs to be ordered and replaced.

Please remember to rate my service before you leave. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. You can continue asking follow-up questions until you have all the information you need even after rating my service. Thank you!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have removed the ice maker and 4 1/4 inch screws, but am having issue removing the back panel. I just want to ensure the panel comes completely off from the inside before I start wedging it out?


Also, can you provide Whirlpool part numbers for the defrost thermostat, defrost heater, and display board? Are all these parts that can be replaced by myself if I am comfortable, or is an appliance technician required for any reason?

Yes, you need to remove the entire panel from inside the freezer. The vent at the center near the ceiling will just unclip and pull off, then remove all the screws that you see and unclip the little oval sensor cover and the back panel should pull out.

As for the parts, you can replace those yourself if you're handy. The part numbers are 12784415 for the control board, 12729128 for the heater, and w10165425 for the thermostat.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Tyler,


I got the panel off and the coils are all frosted. I noticed the air that was blowing was not cold, does this narrow down which of the 3 parts may be an issue?



Also, am I able to run the freezer with the panel off while I work out what I am going to do with all my frozen food?

Unfortunately that does not narrow down which of the 3 parts is at fault. It still either the control board, defrost heater, or defrost thermostat.

You'll want to unplug the refrigerator while you're working on the freezer. Once you thaw all the frost out, you can re-install the panel and put the food back in the freezer and the unit will work for a week or two while you wait for the faulty part to come in.

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