Several factors can cause your refrigerator to stop cooling. Malfunctions in components like the thermostat, compressor, or evaporator fan motor can disrupt the cooling process, or sometimes it’s as simple as having dirty condenser coils.
This guide will assist you in troubleshooting each possible cause to help you get your fridge working again quickly.
The Condenser Coils Are Dirty
The first possible cause to investigate is dirty condenser coils. The condenser coils release heat from the refrigerant, allowing it to change from a gas to a liquid, which is crucial for refrigeration. If the coils get covered in dirt, their performance can be hindered. Regular maintenance of your condenser coils can help prolong your refrigerator’s lifespan and ensure it operates optimally.
Checking and cleaning the coils is a straightforward process:
- Begin by turning off the power and unplugging the refrigerator. To access the coils, gently pull the appliance away from the wall.
- Locate the lower back panel and remove it by unscrewing it carefully. This will give you access to the condenser coils.
- Inspect the coils for any accumulated dirt and to see if they are frosted over. If they appear clean, they likely do not require attention, and you can check out the next possible cause.
- However, if you find dirt on the coils, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and grime. Follow this up by wiping the coils with a cloth until they are clean. If the coils are frosted over, leave the power to your fridge off to allow them to defrost, and then wipe them clean with a cloth.
- After cleaning or defrosting, reattach the refrigerator’s lower back panel, plug it back into the power source, and turn it on. Monitor the appliance over the next few hours to determine if cleaning the coils has resolved the problem. If the problem persists, check out the next possible cause.
The Condenser Fan Is Defective
The condenser fan plays a critical role in your refrigerator’s cooling system by drawing air through the condenser coils. If this motor malfunctions, it can lead to inadequate cooling.
To assess the condition of the condenser fan motor, follow these steps:
- Ensure the refrigerator remains switched off.
- Find the condenser fan, remove the cover, and then attempt to rotate it manually.
- If the fan cannot complete a full rotation, it signifies a fault, necessitating replacement.
- If the fan can rotate fully, employ a multimeter to test for continuity in the fan motor. Lack of continuity indicates a defect, prompting the need for a replacement. If the motor tests fine, proceed to check the next possible cause.
- After replacing the fan (if necessary), plug in your refrigerator and assess if the issue has been resolved. If not, move on to checking the next component.
The Evaporator Fan Is Defective
The evaporator fan in your refrigerator is essential for circulating cold air from the freezer compartment to the fridge compartment. When the fan malfunctions, it disrupts the cooling process.
To assess the condition of the evaporator fan, follow these steps:
- Ensure the power supply remains off.
- Find the evaporator fan, remove the cover, and then attempt to rotate it manually.
- It should be replaced if the fan cannot complete a full rotation or produces excessive noise during operation.
- Next, test the fan motor’s continuity using a multimeter. If it shows continuity, the motor is functioning correctly, allowing you to proceed to check the next potential cause. However, a lack of continuity indicates a need for replacement.
- After replacing the fan motor, plug in your refrigerator and check if the issue has been resolved. If not, proceed to check the next potential cause.
The Start Relay Is Defective
If you’re still grappling with your refrigerator not cooling, the next component to test is the start relay. The start relay’s role is pivotal in conjunction with the start winding, ensuring the compressor’s operation.
To assess the condition of the start relay, follow these steps:
- Ensure the power supply remains disconnected.
- Locate the start relay. You can typically find it connected to the compressor.
- Employ a multimeter to test the start relay for continuity.
- If the start relay passes the continuity test, it’s in good working order, and you can proceed to investigate the next possible cause. However, if it fails the test, it needs replacement.
- After replacing the start relay, reconnect the refrigerator to the power source and assess whether the refrigerator now cools effectively. If not, check out the next possible cause.
The Temperature Control Thermostat Is Defective
The temperature control thermostat plays a pivotal role in regulating various components within your refrigerator, including the evaporator fan motor, compressor, and, sometimes, the condenser fan motor. When this thermostat malfunctions, it can disrupt the refrigerator’s ability to generate cool air.
To assess the condition of the temperature control thermostat, follow these steps:
- Ensure that the refrigerator remains powered off.
- Locate the thermostat and manually adjust it from its lowest to its highest, listening for a distinctive click.
- If you hear a click, the thermostat is likely functioning correctly, and you can move on to checking the next possible cause. If not, proceed to test it using a multimeter.
- If the thermostat passes the multimeter test, check the next possible cause. However, if the thermostat lacks continuity during the multimeter test, it needs replacement.
- After replacing the thermostat, plug the refrigerator back in and verify if the cooling issue has been resolved. If not, proceed to check the next possible cause.
The Start Capacitor Is Defective
The next cause to investigate is a defective start capacitor. The start capacitor is responsible for powering the compressor during its startup phase. A malfunctioning start capacitor can prevent the compressor from initiating, resulting in improper cooling within your refrigerator.
To evaluate the condition of the start capacitor, follow these steps:
- Confirm that the power supply remains off.
- Locate the start capacitor. It’s typically positioned behind the refrigerator’s rear panel.
- Employ a multimeter to conduct a continuity test.
- If the continuity test yields no positive result, it needs replacement. Conversely, if continuity is detected, the start capacitor is functioning as expected, and you can move on to check out the next possible cause.
- After replacing the start capacitor, switch the power back on to your fridge and monitor if it is cooling effectively. If not, check out the next possible cause.
The Thermistor Is Defective
The thermistor is your refrigerator’s critical temperature monitoring component, relaying temperature data to the control board. When the thermistor malfunctions, it disrupts the accurate regulation of your refrigerator’s temperature.
To assess the condition of the thermistor, follow these steps:
- Ensure the refrigerator is still powered off to ensure safety during inspection.
- Locate the thermistor within the appliance.
- Employ a multimeter to measure whether the thermistor exhibits changes in resistance corresponding to temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator.
- If the thermistor fails to display changes in resistance, this indicates a lack of continuity and will need to be replaced. You can check the next possible cause if the thermistor passes the test.
- After replacing the thermistor, switch the power back on and monitor whether the cooling issue has been resolved. If not, move on to check the next possible cause.
The Compressor Is Defective
A potential culprit behind your refrigerator’s cooling issues could be a malfunctioning compressor, a crucial component responsible for compressing refrigerant and facilitating circulation through the evaporator and condenser coils.
To assess the condition of the compressor, proceed as follows:
- Ensure that the power supply to the refrigerator is completely switched off to guarantee safety during inspection.
- Locate the compressor. It’s typically situated at the rear of the refrigerator.
- Employ a multimeter to perform a continuity test between the electrical pins on the side of the compressor.
- If your test reveals an open circuit, this signifies a defective compressor and will need replacement. If the compressor passes the test, you can move on to check the final potential cause of the problem.
- Replacing the compressor is a complicated and expensive repair, so you should get a qualified technician to do it if you don’t have experience working with them. Alternatively, you might decide it’s cheaper to purchase a new fridge. Once the compressor is replaced, check if your fridge can not cool. If not, proceed to check out the final possible cause.
The Temperature Control Board or Main Control Board Is Defective
The temperature control board supplies power to the compressor and fan motors, while the main control tells all the components within your appliance what to do. If either malfunctions, your cooling system will fail. Testing these boards is very challenging, so if you’ve checked all other components without success, consider replacing one or both boards to try and restore your refrigerator’s functionality. Another option is to get a qualified technician to come and inspect your appliance to see if they can find the cause of the cooling problem.