Refrigerator: Not cooling at all

If your refrigerator's not cold enough, first check whether containers are blocking air flow at the vents; the owner's manual usually shows where the vents are. High temperatures are also a sign of a control system problem, a failure in the air control damper, low refrigerant charge and other malfunctions. Check out the following videos for expert advice on resolving refrigerator cooling issues.

Troubleshooting Videos:

These repairs may help solve your Refrigerator problem:

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 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.

Replace the refrigerator electronic control board

Electronic control board

The electronic control board—also called the main control board or the power control board (PCB)—controls the compressor and the defrost cycle. When it senses that the compressor must run to keep the refrigerator cool, it sends voltage to the compressor and fans. The electronic control board also receives signals from temperature sensors to monitor the temperatures inside the refrigerator and freezer. With this information, the electronic control board controls the defrost cycle. You can usually do a diagnostic test on the electronic control board to see how well it's working. The test varies by model, but the most common is the Forced Defrost test. See the tech sheet for instructions on running the diagnostics. Replace the electronic control board if it's not working correctly.

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 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 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.

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.