Coolant is arguably the single most important element in a working refrigerator. Without it, the refrigerator won't be able to stay cool. You may notice certain foods spoiling and rotting as mold begins to grow throughout your unit. Unfortunately, there's no way to salvage your food once this occurs, as you'll be forced to throw it out and replace it with new foods. However, you'll need to wait until the problem is fixed before you start adding new food back into the refrigerator; otherwise, it will spoil just as the previous foods did.
Identifying a Leak
First and foremost, you'll want to determine whether or not your refrigerator actually needs more coolant. One of the most common causes of a coolant leak is from owners using an icepick to poke the ice. Since the coils are typically located right around the ice trays, it's all-too-common for people to accidentally hit the coolant areas. When this occurs, you'll see and hear pressurized gas escaping from the refrigerator for a short period of time.
Of course coolant leaks can oftentimes occur without poking around the refrigerator ice trays. Some of the older models may have either low-quality or damaged parts that have deteriorated over time. If a crack occurs in the coils holding the coolant, it will likely escape and drain out in a matter of minutes. You might sense a distinct smell when the coolant begins to leak out, or you can might smell nothing at all. The bottom line, however, is that you need to be aware of how cool your refrigerator is, as this is the most effective way to determine if it's out of coolant.
Unfortunately, there's no easy way to recharge the coolant inside a refrigerator. Yes, it can be done, but you'll need to have an experienced technician come out to perform the job. Trying to handle coolant without a license is both dangerous and illegal, which is why a technician is required. Most refrigerators don't hold a ton of coolant, so a recharge shouldn't burn a hole in your wallet. While the technician is out recharging your unit, have them check to see if there's a leak. If you recharge the coolant without fixing the leak, it will simply drain right out and you'll be back at square one. Depending on your specific model refrigerator, this may or may not be an easy task, but it's necessary if you want to continue using your unit.