Refrigerator not Cooling but Freezer is Fine: Solutions


Have you opened up your refrigerator to discover that the fridge is not working, but the freezer area is fine? This is a common problem that can happen to any style or age of the refrigerator.

The good news is that repairing the refrigerator may be simple. There are only a few things that could cause this type of situation to happen. You will need to remove the back panel of your unit to check the equipment. If you feel comfortable repairing your own fridge, you may want to check the following items:

  1. Evaporator fan motor
  2. Air Damper Control
  3. Evaporator coils
  4. Thermistor
  5. Main Control Board
  6. Defrost Thermostat
  7. Temperature Control Board

Defective Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan will be located in different locations depending on the model of your fridge. You will find this motor in close proximity to the evaporator coils in your freezer because this motor is what moves cold air throughout your system.

Begin by trying to move the fan blades with your hands. If the blades do not move freely, the fan is seized up and needs to be replaced. If the fan does not turn on when you engage the power, it needs to be replaced. Also, if the fan is very loud or moves around while working, it is broken and probably does not work all of the time, you will need to replace the fan.

Make sure that you order the correct part and unplug the machine before removing or replacing any parts.

Broken/Stuck Air Damper Control

The air damper is located near the evaporator coils and fan system. This system works by opening and closing at specific times to allow cold air into the refrigerator and/or freezer. If your freezer is working, but the fridge is warm, the air damper control may be stuck or broken,

Check the flap on the control device to see if it opens and closes without a struggle. You will also want to make sure that it can open towards the fridge and the freezer. If the device is stuck in one position or is difficult to move, it may just need to be cleaned. Wipe this don with a soft cloth to see if it will move more freely.

If the device is still stuck or does not move at all, you will need to replace the piece. It is very important that you get the exact model for your fridge and not just for the maker of your fridge. These are very specific parts based on the style and size of your refrigerator. Make sure to turn off the fridge while replacing the part.

Frozen Over Evaporator Coils

If your freezer is working and your fridge remains warm, the evaporator coils may be frozen over. Several times a day, the heater in your coil system will turn on and de-thaw the coils. Coils can build up frost during the day from having the cooled air blown over them as it travels to the different parts of the fridge.

Sometimes the coils are just dirty, which causes them to collect the frost without it melting. Take a hairdryer on low heat and de-thaw the coils. Gently wipe them down to make sure that they are clean. Pug your fridge back in and watch to see if the frost builds up on them again without thawing.

If the first rebuilds, you will need to check each component of the heating system to make sure that it is working. If any part is not, the heat will not thaw the frost. Eventually, the entire system will stop working, and your freezer will not cool either.

Broken Thermistor

The thermistor regulates the temperature inside of your refrigerator. If the thermistor is not sending accurate readings to the control board, the coils, or the heating elements, the fridge will not work properly.

This could be a simple or very complicated problem. You may be able to replace the thermistor if you are absolutely positive that it is broken. However, since it regulates so many actions, it is hard to tell if it is broken or if one of the receiving parts is not functioning properly. Before replacing this part, you must check all of the other parts that it has an affects to make sure they are functioning.

Busted Main Control Board

The main control board regulates all of the working parts of your fridge. Quite often, a faulty control board is given as a reason for your fridge to be warm while your freezer is working. In reality, it is rare for this part to break on its own. Check all of the other working parts before replacing the control board.

Defective Defrost Thermostat

The defrost thermostat monitors the temperature of your coils. When the coils get too much frost on them and register a certain temperature, the thermostat engages and heats the coil to defrost them.

If your thermostat does not engage, it cannot work. To check this, you will need to test the continuity of the thermostat. If you cannot verify the continuity, you will need to replace the part. Make sure that you also check the temperature control board. You may need to replace the entire temperature monitoring system.

Defective Temperature Control Board

If you find that the defrost thermostat and defrost heater are working properly, but your fridge remains warm, you may have blown out the temperature control board. This board regulated temperatures throughout the unit and may not be registering the correct temp in your refrigerator area.

Check this board to see if it is receiving enough power that has not been knocked loose. If it is getting enough power and is secure, you will need to replace the board. Make sure that you order the proper board for your equipment and make sure that the unit is unplugged when replacing the parts.

Repairing your fridge when the refrigerator is warm while the freezer works can be tricky. If you are not experienced with this type of home repair, or if you feel uncomfortable in any way working on electrical parts, it will be to your advantage to call a professional service to make the repair.

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