The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Refrigerator not cooling are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.
The condenser coils are usually located under the refrigerator. They dissipate heat as refrigerant passes through them. If the condenser coils are dirty, they won’t dissipate the heat effectively. As debris builds up on the coils, the refrigerator becomes less efficient, causing the refrigerator to work harder to cool down. If the coils are significantly dirty, the refrigerator will not be able to maintain the proper temperature. Check the condenser coils to determine if they are dirty—if the condenser coils are dirty, clean them.
The evaporator fan motor draws air over the evaporator (cooling) coils and circulates it throughout the refrigerator and freezer compartments. Some refrigerators have more than one evaporator fan motor. On refrigerators with only one evaporator, the evaporator is located in the freezer compartment. If the evaporator fan is not working, it will not circulate the cold air to the refrigerator compartment. If this occurs, the freezer may still get cold, while the refrigerator will not get cold. To determine if the evaporator fan motor is defective, try turning the fan blade by hand. If the fan blade does not turn freely, replace the fan motor. Additionally, if the motor is unusually noisy, replace it. Finally, if the motor does not run at all, use a multimeter to test the motor windings for continuity. If the windings do not have continuity, replace the evaporator fan motor.
The temperature control thermostat directs voltage to the compressor, evaporator fan motor, and condenser fan motor (if applicable). If the temperature control thermostat is not working properly, it may prevent the refrigerant system from running. To determine if the thermostat is defective, rotate the thermostat from the lowest setting to the highest setting and listen for a click. If the thermostat clicks, it is not likely defective. If the thermostat does not click, use a multimeter to test the thermostat for continuity. If the temperature control thermostat does not have continuity at any setting, replace it.
The compressor is a motor which compresses the refrigerant and circulates the refrigerant through the evaporator and condenser coils. If the compressor is not working, the refrigerator won’t cool. However, this isn’t usually the case. Before replacing the compressor, first check all of the more commonly defective components. If all of the other components are working properly, use a multimeter to test the compressor for continuity. If the compressor does not have continuity, replace it.