9 Reasons Your Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

Image

If your refrigerator isn’t cooling, you’re in the right place. Thankfully, it’s usually a simple problem to fix that you can do yourself. However, sometimes it’s much harder and will require you to have experience working with electronics, or you may have to call a trained technician to fix it for you.

These are the 9 main reasons your refrigerator isn’t cooling. Simply start with the first reason and make your way down to the end of this article. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will have found the cause and fixed it.

1. Dirty Condenser Coils

The first reason your refrigerator might not be cooling is if you have dirty or faulty condenser coils. When they get dirty or freeze up, your refrigerator cannot cool down to the right temperature.

To check the condenser coils, you need to:

  1. Turn the refrigerator power off.
  2. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall or its cabinet so you can access the back of it.
  3. Take the lower panel of the refrigerator off.
  4. Locate the condenser coils (consult your manual if necessary).
  5. Inspect the condenser coils for any signs of dust or frost covering them.
  6. If dirty, clean them with a vacuum cleaner. If frosted over, keep your refrigerator turned off until they defrost. If they are fine, move on to the next reason.
  7. Once cleaned or defrosted, turn your refrigerator back on and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

2. Faulty Condenser Fan Motor

Next, check the condenser fan motor to see if it is working correctly. The fan blows air over the condenser coils to keep them cool, so if it breaks down, your fridge won’t cool down enough.

To check the condenser fan motor, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the condenser fan motor (check your manual if required).
  3. Remove the cover and then attempt to turn the fan around manually.
  4. If the fan doesn’t rotate around the whole way, replace it.
  5. If the fan rotates around correctly, use a multimeter to check if it has continuity. If the test shows no continuity, replace it.
  6. If the fan is working correctly, move on to the next step. If you do replace the motor, turn your refrigerator back on and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

3. Faulty Evaporator Fan Motor

The next common reason a fridge stops cooling is a faulty evaporator fan motor. Your refrigerator will either have one or multiple fans – it depends on your specific make and model of fridge. The fan(s) is powered by a motor that can sometimes become faulty. When this happens, cold air is unable to circulate from the freezer into the fridge.

To check the evaporator fan motor, you need to:

  1. Turn the refrigerator power back on.
  2. Check to see if you can hear a loud noise coming from the evaporator fan. You can find the fan in the freezer compartment.
  3. If it’s making a loud noise, it will need to be replaced.
  4. If it isn’t making a loud noise, you need to turn the fridge power back off.
  5. Take the cover off the fan, and try to rotate it around manually.
  6. If it cannot move around freely, you need to let it defrost and then check if it works; if not, it will need to be replaced.
  7. If the fan passes the first two tests, you will need to check it with a multimeter to make sure it has continuity.
  8. If it doesn’t have continuity, it will need to be replaced. If it does have continuity, it is working fine, and you can move on to the next reason.
  9. If you replace the evaporator fan, turn your refrigerator back on, and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

4. Faulty Start Relay

The start relay works with the start winding to ensure the compressor can operate correctly. If it becomes faulty, your refrigerator won’t be able to cool down to the correct temperature.

To check the start relay, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the start relay (check your manual if necessary).
  3. Use the multimeter to test the start relay for continuity.
  4. If the test shows the start relay has continuity, it’s working correctly, and you can move on to the next step. If it fails, it will need to be replaced.
  5. Once replaced, turn your refrigerator back on, and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

5. Faulty Temperature Control Thermostat

The temperature control thermostat directs voltage to the evaporator fan motor, the compressor, and the condenser fan motor. When it becomes faulty, it doesn’t correctly measure the temperature, and your fridge won’t cool down to the right temperature. They can sometimes stop working completely too.

To check the temperature control thermostat, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the thermostat (check your manual if necessary).
  3. Turn the thermostat from its lowest setting to its highest setting, and listen to see if you can hear a “clicking” sound. If you can hear it click, it is working correctly, and you can move on to the next reason.
  4. If it doesn’t make a click sound, use the multimeter to test the start relay for continuity.
  5. If the test shows the thermostat has continuity, it’s working correctly, and you can move on to the next step. If it fails, it will need to be replaced.
  6. Once replaced, turn your refrigerator back on, and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

6. Faulty Start Capacitor

The start capacitor helps to power the compressor when it turns on. If it becomes faulty, your refrigerator’s cooling system will stop working correctly.

To check the start capacitor, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the start capacitor (check your manual if required).
  3. Use the multimeter to test the start capacitor for continuity.
  4. If the test shows the start capacitor has continuity, it’s working correctly, and you can move on to the next step. If it fails, it will need to be replaced.
  5. Once replaced, turn your refrigerator back on, and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

7. Faulty Thermistor

The thermistor monitors your refrigerator temperature and “reports” this to the control board. This is so the control board knows when to turn on other components in the fridge to keep it cool. If it becomes faulty, your fridge won’t cool down to the right temperature.

To check the thermistor, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the thermistor (check your manual if necessary).
  3. Use the multimeter to check if the thermistor changes resistance when the refrigerator changes temperature.
  4. If the test shows the thermistor has continuity, it’s working correctly, and you can move on to the next step. If it fails, it will need to be replaced.
  5. Once replaced, turn your refrigerator back on, and check if the problem is solved. If not, move on to checking the next reason.

8. Faulty Compressor

The compressor in your refrigerator is a pump that compresses the refrigerant and then circulates it through the evaporator and condenser coils so that your refrigerator stays cold. If it becomes faulty your refrigerator will not stay cold or cool down at all.

To check the compressor, you need to:

  1. Ensure that the refrigerator power is turned off.
  2. Locate the compressor (check your manual if necessary).
  3. Use the multimeter to test the continuity between the electrical pins that you can find on the side of the compressor unit. 
  4. If the test shows an open circuit, the compressor is faulty and will need to be replaced. If it passes the test, you can move on to the final reason.
  5. The compressor is very difficult to replace and requires you to be experienced working with electronics. Don’t attempt to replace the compressor unless you are qualified to do so. If your fridge is old, you might be better off buying a new one than replacing the compressor unit.
  6. If you do replace it, turn the fridge back on, and check if the problem has been solved. If not, move on to the final reason.

9. Faulty Main Control Board

The final reason your refrigerator isn’t cooling is if the main control board has become faulty. This doesn’t happen often, but if you’ve eliminated all of the other reasons, then you should consider replacing the main control board (as it’s very difficult to test). This is quite expensive, so if your fridge is old, you are better off buying a new one.

Sharing

Leave a Reply