Refrigerator: Freezer not cold enough

If your freezer is too warm to keep ice cream firmly frozen, run through the suggested fixes in the troubleshooting section of the owner's manual. If the ice cream is still mushy, the problem could be with the controls or with the sealed refrigerant system. View the following troubleshooting videos to help you find and fix the cause of the freezer cooling problem.

Troubleshooting Videos:

These repairs may help solve your Refrigerator problem:

Replace the refrigerator defrost sensor

Defrost sensor

The refrigerator defrost sensor—also known as the defrost bi-metal termination thermostat—trips when it detects that the temperature of the evaporator is getting hot enough that it might overheat. When the defrost sensor trips, it shut off power to the defrost heater. If the defrost sensor trips because it’s not working correctly, frost builds up on the evaporator fins, eventually making the refrigerator and freezer not cool well.

You can use volt/ohm meter to check the defrost sensor for continuity. Replace the defrost sensor if it shows no continuity at around 0 degrees F.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Clean the refrigerator condensor coils

Condenser

Dust-covered refrigerator coils can prevent the refrigerator and freezer from running efficiently and cooling properly. Follow the instructions in your owner's manual for cleaning the condenser coils. Unplug the refrigerator before accessing and cleaning the coils. On most refrigerators, the coils are behind the bottom front grill. Clean the condenser coils with a coil brush.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator condenser fan

Condenser fan

The condenser fan is in the machine compartment of the refrigerator next to the compressor. It moves air across the condenser coils to help cool the hot refrigerant coming out of the compressor. The refrigerant is cooled before it moves through the expansion device and into the evaporator. If the condenser fan is defective, replace it.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Repair the refrigerator defrost system

Defrost Heater

The refrigerator automatic defrost system periodically melts frost from the evaporator to improve heat exchange. During defrosting, the compressor stops, the defrost heating element turns on, and frost melts from the evaporator fins. The condensate drips to a evaporator drip tray below the evaporator and then flows through a defrost drain tube to a drain pan next to the compressor in the machine compartment. The condensate water evaporates from the drain pan before the next defrost cycled. If the defrost process fails, diagnose and repair the problem.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator compressor start relay

Compressor Start Relay

The start relay is the electrical device that energizes the start windings of the compressor motor when the motor is initially started. The PTC start relay shuts off voltage to the start windings shortly after the compressor starts so that it continues to run using the run windings of the motor. Replace the start relay if it is broken, as the compressor will not get proper voltage to operate. In some situations, a wiring failure could be causing the problem and a repair of the Start relay wiring will fix the problem.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator evaporator fan

Evaporator fan

The evaporator fan is mounted on the evaporator assembly. It moves air across the evaporator fins and through the cabinet for cooling. If the evaporator fan is defective, replace it.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator temperature control board

Temperature control board

The temperature control board—also called the electronic control board—is in the machine compartment next to the compressor, behind a panel on the back of the refrigerator. The temperature control board controls the compressor and other major components in the refrigerator. You can test it using the diagnostic test procedures provided in the tech sheet for the refrigerator. Replace the temperature control board if it doesn't work at all or isn't controlling the components correctly.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator temperature control thermostat

Temperature control thermostat

The temperature control thermostat is also called the cold control or cold control thermostat, and is located in the control housing. The thermostat has a sensor tube attached to it that detects the temperature inside the refrigerator cabinet. The temperature control thermostat controls the temperature inside the cabinet by turning on and shutting off the compressor based on the temperature sensed by the sensor tube. Replace the temperature control thermostat if it fails to sense temperature properly or if it does not cycle the compressor properly.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator thermistor

Thermistor

If the refrigerator is not cooling enough, the thermistor might be faulty. The thermistor sends temperature information to the thermostat, so a broken thermistor will give bad information.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator defrost timer

Defrost timer

The defrost timer is an electro-mechanical device that controls the intervals between automatic defrost cycles in the refrigerator. The defrost timer motor runs and moves the components in the device. When the contacts for the defrost cycle are engaged, the compressor will stop and the defrost heater will turn on for a specified period of time to melt frost off of the evaporator fins. This promotes a more efficient exchange of heat across that component. When the specified period of defrost ends, the contacts will switch back to allow normal cooling operation in the refrigerator. You will need to replace the defrost timer if it does not advance when voltage is applied to it. Faulty contacts in the timer can also cause the defrost heater to either not energize at all or constantly energize. In that instance, the defrost timer will also need to be replaced.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Adjust the freezer or refrigerator door

Refrigerator door

The refrigerator or freezer doors swing on hinges that can be damaged or bent. Over time, the doors may begin to sag, allowing warm moist air into the refrigerator or freezer door that creates excessive frost that can eventually cause the drain tube to freeze. This refrigerator repair involves adjusting or repairing the hinges so that the doors work properly and stay aligned.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the refrigerator compressor

Compressor

Repairing the compressor in the refrigerator usually involves the replacement of the start device and/or overload on the motor. If the compressor looks to be in working order but will not start, then replace the start device and/or overload. If the compressor is locked up, or it runs but will not compress the refrigerant, then replace the compressor. A refrigerator service technician will need to complete this repair since it involves the recovery and recharge of the refrigerant (Freon).

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.