Refrigerator won’t cool - How to fix a refrigerator that is not cooling

Posted by Alexandra Ulici on 8/3/2017 to DIY
Refrigerator won’t cool - How to fix a refrigerator that is not cooling

There are several possible reasons your refrigerator is not cooling, before attempting a complex repair check out these most common problems and short solutions to help you determine the problem in your refrigerator.


Dirty compressor

Clean the condenser fan and coils

Compressor won’t start

Failed capacitor - replace capacitor

Compressor not starting

Bad relay - replace relay

Failed compressor

Replace compressor

Failed door seal

Replace worn out door seal

Defrost timer malfunction

Replace defrost timer

Temperature turner to low

Turn temperature to colder

Circuit breaker tripped

Power spike – Reset circuit breaker


There are three main parts in your refrigerator that are most important in helping your refrigerator cool and those are the evaporator fan, condenser fan, and the compressor. If any of these parts are broken or malfunctioned, it will make the cooling process in your refrigerator more difficult or nonexistence. If you find that one of these parts is the problem, we have step-by-step instructions on fixing these parts.

Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan powers the fan that circulates air and it helps remove heat from the freezer. If you hear the compressor running but the refrigerator isn’t cold, the problem is either a broken evaporator fan or clogged evaporator coil. When evaporator fans go bad, it often chirps or squeals, you will know the evaporator fan is the problem if the noise gets louder when your open the freezer door. Here are step-by-step instructions for replacing this part.

  1. Remove the cover to have access and inspect the evaporator fan, it should be covered with plastic plugs that you can take out.
  2. If there is a cover over the fan, remove the screws that hold it in place then remove the cover to have better access to the fan.
  3. First, unplug the refrigerator and then remove the screws that hold the fan to the wall and remove the evaporator fan.
  4. Lastly, replace the old fan with a new one by removing the mounting bracket from the old fan to the new fan. Unplug the wires and properly switch them to the new fan.
  5.  Reinstall the fan and replace the cover and your repair is complete.

Condenser fan

The condenser fan powers the fan blade so that it may cool the system. You may need to replace this part if your fridge is not cooling properly or if the condenser fan is noisy. If the compressor is running but the fan doesn’t work or it is noisy, you will need a new fan. Here are step-by-step instructions for replacing this part.

  1. Pull the fridge away from the wall and unplug it.
  2. Then remove the panel on the back near the bottom to access where the compressor is located.
  3. Depending on your refrigerator model, you may need to remove the fan bracket first then unscrew the fan from the bracket.
  4. Cut the wires from the old fan, strip them and connect the new fan to the wire connectors.
  5. Screw the new fan and reinstall the fan to the fridge and your repair is complete.



The compressor compresses the refrigerant in your refrigerator which helps keep your food cool. The reason you would replace this part is if the motor is running but the temperature in your refrigerator is too warm. Here are step-by-step instructions for replacing this part.

  1. First, unplug the refrigerator then locate the compressor which is usually at the bottom of the fridge.
  2. Remove the panel covering it then see if the compressor has a capacitor.
  3. Detach the valves and wiring on the old compressor and any mounting hardware if any.
  4. Next, connect the capacitor to the new compressor and then add refrigerant if needed.
  5. Connect the valves and wires to the new compressor and put the back panel back in and your repair is complete.

We hope these instructions help you fix your refrigerator problems! 

For a more thorough walk-through step-by-step process, be sure to check out our Repair Help Videos section where you can access specific Repair Help Video. 




Dave Brown
Date: 9/7/2017
We have an older side-by-side KitchenAid Refrigerator Model #: KSCS25INSS00, dating back to 08-2004. Just recently we noticed the center wall between the freezer and refrigerator compartments extremely hot to the touch. Found this site and all of the excellent suggestions… We pulled the fridge out from the wall and cleaned it to a fare-thee-well – was truly amazing how much stuff we took out (yuck). That seemed to do the trick…for a bit, then the condenser-cooling fan seemed to stop at random times… and the unit would proceed to overheat. The current remedy is to place a small room fan directly facing the condenser to keep the system cool – and that works; except the misses has a giant appliance in the middle of her kitchen. So, from reading this site, I thought I would just replace the refrigerator evaporator fan motor (amazon link)… because sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. However, I got to thinking what good would that do if what is “turning on” that fan is really the problem, e.g. one of the control units or circuit boards… what do you think? Replace the fan will fix things right, or perhaps the fan is just fine (because it does work when the condenser motor runs…up to a point), the true culprit lies somewhere else…? Thank you in advance for your thoughts and ideas. Dave.

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