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By: Nick

CEO Nick's Appliance Repair

Refrigerator not cooling

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16 Reasons Why Your Refrigerator Not Cooling?

A refrigerator is an essential part of the kitchen. Like your car, a good refrigerator should make all the difference in an efficient household. However, if your appliance isn’t working properly, it can be difficult to tell what’s wrong and how to fix it. Here are seven reasons why your refrigerator is not cooling or not getting cold and what to do about it. You may have even given up on repairing that old refrigerator needing a new one, but don’t. Fixing a broken refrigerator is easy, and you can do it yourself.

Why Is My Refrigerator Not Cooling Enough?

One of the most common refrigerator not cooling problems is that it cannot reach the optimum temperature level required to sustain the freshness of various food items, frozen vegetables, meat, and the fresh food compartment. Anything from an old motor, faulty thermistor monitors, weak power source, or other components could be responsible for this problem. However, a few simple troubleshooting techniques and quick repairs can have you back in business in no time at all.

1) Check the thermostat setting.

The first step in checking your refrigerator not cooling issue is to ensure that it is turned on. It may sound silly, but sometimes you can tell if it isn’t plugged into an outlet or getting power by turning off all the lights in your kitchen. This is an often neglected point but a very simple fix. If there aren’t any lights on in your home, you know that the refrigerator is not getting power. If you suspect this is the problem, check to ensure the refrigerator is plugged into a working outlet. There are no tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses causing the problem.

If your refrigerator has power, set the temperature reading between 3 and 5 (check your owner’s manual for specifics). This will give your refrigerator just enough time to cool down and allow proper airflow for cooling. It is also possible that the desired temperature setting is fine, but the thermostat sensor itself needs replacing.

2) The freezer fan is not working correctly.

The fan in your freezer blows air across the evaporator coils and circulates it throughout both the freezer and refrigerator compartments. If this fan stops working, all that cold air will stay trapped in the freezer. You should check for a broken blade or a damaged fan motor, but if that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to buy a new motor.

3) The evaporator coils are frosted over.

If frost has built upon the evaporator coils, it’s blocking the flow of cold air through the refrigerator. This is usually caused by a malfunctioning defrost thermostat or heater — but be sure to check whether your fridge has an automatic defrost system or if you need to defrost it first manually.

4) The refrigerator’s desire temperature settings are off.

Most refrigerators have separate controls, either a dial, slide or button that allows you to adjust the temperature inside your both freezer and refrigerator compartments. Some models also feature a digital display that shows you exactly what refrigerator temperature is set and allows you to make precise adjustments. Ensure both compartments are set to their coldest settings and any other controls (such as an “energy saver” button) that could be affecting performance.

5) The doors aren’t sealed.

If the doors of your refrigerator aren’t sealed, then cool air will escape when you open them, and warm air will enter when you close them. So your refrigerator has to keep working overtime to keep cool temperatures and maintain a cool temperature inside.

To fix this issue, check if the doors are sealing properly. You need to ensure that they are closing completely and that there is no gap between the door and the fridge where warm air can get in. Ensure that the refrigerator door and gaskets are clean and aren’t damaged or broken. In addition, make sure the doors are closing properly, and there isn’t any gap from which the cold air can leak.

6) The condenser fan is malfunctioning.

This fan is located at the bottom rear of refrigerator side of the fridge. It is responsible for circulating air over the condenser coils. If this fan stops working properly (or if you have an old refrigerator that doesn’t have a condenser fan), it will allow heat to build up in the compressor area, which will prevent your refrigerator from cooling properly. In most cases, you can fix this issue by changing the motor to ensure the fan blades turn freely.

7) The evaporator fan is not working.

This fan circulates air over the evaporator coils and through the freezer. If the fan is not working, the coils will frost up and stop cooling. It may blow air intermittently when you open and close the freezer door, but it won’t run continuously as it should. You may have to replace the fan if it is severely damaged. In some cases, a faulty evaporator coil fan motor hinders the fan blades from turning freely, and you need to replace it.

8) Freezer compartment door gasket seal

Check for any tears or cracks in the seal or any ice build-up on the seal, which could cause warm air to leak into the freezer compartment, making it hard for the freezer to stay cold enough to freeze items inside while keeping the fridge compartment cool enough.

9) The freezer compartment door is left open too long.

Suppose your freezer has been left open for an extended period. In that case, it will take some time before everything gets back down below freezing temperatures again due to all of that hot air coming into contact with frozen foods inside.

10) Condenser coils are clogged with dust and dirt or dirty condenser coils

The condenser coils are located at the backside of the refrigerator, just below its compressor unit. These coils help remove the heat from the inside of the refrigerator and release it into the room air. Unfortunately, when these coils get covered with dust and dirt, they fail to remove heat properly and thus create a cooling issue where the refrigerator is not using hot gas or cooling enough.

11) The condenser fan motor is faulty.

The motor draws air through the condenser coils and over the compressor. If the condenser motor is not working, the refrigerator won’t cool properly. To determine if the motor is defective, first check the fan blade for debris that might prevent it from turning freely; a blocked blade prevents good airflow through air vents, which keeps the refrigerator from cooling properly. If the blade does not spin freely, consider buying a new motor.

12) The air damper is not working.

The air damper is usually located where the freezer and refrigerator meet. It’s possible that your refrigerator may not have an air damper, but most will. The purpose of the air damper is to keep air continues and control the refrigerator’s temperature by allowing cold, cool, or warm air to flow from the freezer into the refrigerator compartment. If it is not working, the air circulation will be disrupted, and the refrigerator is not cold enough.

13) Too old or damaged compressor

If your refrigerator does not produce cold air, it could be the compressor that is damaged or broken. Therefore, check this first with a multi-meter. If you indeed find irreparable damage, consider buying a new compressor. Instructions on replacing this component are expected to be found in your owner’s manual. You can use the help of a professional repair service if you’re unsure of what you’re doing.

14) The refrigerator compressor fan is not working.

The fan also works together with the compressor. Therefore, it is responsible for cooling and the circulation of air in the refrigerator. Therefore, if your refrigerator is not cooling properly, it could be that the compressor fan is damaged or broken.

15) Broken mounting bracket

The mounting bracket of your refrigerator is responsible for securing the compressor to the back of your refrigerator. One of these brackets may be broken, which causes the compressor to move too much and make noise while operating. In addition, it could also cause your refrigerator does not cool enough because the compressor does not work properly anymore. You can fix this problem simply by replacing the old broken brackets.

16) Lose mounting clip

The mounting screws and clips are also located at the back of your refrigerator and connect two important parts of your refrigerator (viz., condenser and evaporator coils). These two parts are very important for efficiently cooling your food products or groceries.


Frequently Asked Questions:


My refrigerator not cooling but freezer is fine; what do I do?

This is another one of the most common refrigerator problems, and there is nothing to worry about. If the refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer is fine, or the refrigerator not cold enough, check the temperature control settings. If they are set to high, it could prevent the fridge from cooling properly.

How do I defrost an over-frosted coil?

Generally, you don’t need to do this by yourself. This is a problem that indicates that your defrost heater is malfunctioning. Otherwise, you can use a hair dryer to achieve the same effect. But make sure that temperature controls and the heat level of the hair dryer is set to low, or you might meet one of the plastic components or break a coil. Also, make sure the power source is off while doing this.

How often should I change the condenser fan?

The most common life of a condenser fan is ten years when running 24/7. When the condenser fans are not working properly, it will cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail. Wait until the air conditioner is not running before changing the fan.

How do I know if my refrigerator is about to fail?

If your refrigerator starts making a loud noise, it could signify that your compressor is failing. This will cause the unit to run continually without cooling down properly. You will also notice that the freezer compartment stops functioning properly freezing items, and food stored in it will have freezer burn on it.

Is it normal for my refrigerator to make a humming or buzzing noise?

Yes. It is normal for a refrigerator to make humming and buzzing sounds, even a knocking noise. The sound may be louder than you are used to if you have a new high-efficiency model and may be accompanied by a little vibration. The noises are caused by the compressor, evaporator fan motor, and condenser fan motor. There should be no more noise than there would be from an electric clock.


This blog mainly focuses on the refrigerator as a standard appliance. Therefore, we have described the main problems and situations you can expect to encounter when using your appliance. We have also provided you with most of the questions about temperature issues you may encounter by using your appliance. Always consult the manufacturer’s manual before seeking assistance with questions or comments.

If you need refrigerator repair service, call us now, and we will help you.