Mini fridge not cooling – causes and repairs

Compact and convenient mini-refrigerators break no more often than their larger counterparts. However, if a breakdown occurs, then the owner already mentally parted with the mini-unit, scolding himself for having acquired it at all. In fact, most malfunctions can be repaired and the equipment will last for years.

In the article, we will consider the most popular malfunction – when the mini-refrigerator suddenly stops cooling food. In this case, cold air can enter the unit chamber, but its temperature will not be low enough.

There can be several reasons for such a cooling situation: a system leak, a compressor failure, or a problem with the thermostat or the evaporator fan motor. We’ll show you how to diagnose and repair.

Compressor running but refrigerator not cooling

Compressor running but refrigerator not cooling

If you think that your refrigerator is not working properly, then always start checking its condition with the compressor first. This essential part of the refrigerator is necessary for the cooling system to work like a clock. The compressor compresses the refrigerant and moves it to the condenser.

A non-specialist can determine if the compressor is working normally by the sounds it makes. When you often hear a sharp crack, a too loud rumble when starting the engine, an incomprehensible whistle from inside the refrigerator, it is possible that there is a problem with the compressor. A working compressor makes noise no higher than 45 – 50 dB. If your compressor is running too loud, it could be a sign of a problem.

When the compressor is running without visible failures, it is possible that the cause of the problem is the depressurization of the cooling system. It is necessary to check three important components: the compressor itself, the condenser and the evaporator.

The condenser cools the freon after leaving the compressor. Check the condenser for blockages and the condenser capillary tube for leaks.

The evaporator in the refrigerator is necessary to create the effect of cold. It is connected to the condenser via a capillary tube. If there are no leaks in the tube, it retains its integrity, then the next step is to check the evaporator.

Mini-refrigerators can use different types of evaporators: from open (regular freezer with or without a door), to closed – which makes the device more expensive, but also more reliable in operation.

Mini fridge not cooling

If coils are provided in the design of the evaporator, then you need to inspect them and make sure that they are not frozen. If this does not happen for the first time, then the problem is not in the evaporator itself, but in other parts of the refrigerator, and deeper diagnostics will be required.

The service life of the compressor in most models of mini-refrigerators in the middle price segment is 7 years without repair. This does not mean that after 7 years it will fail, it means that over the years, daily work accumulates fatigue of parts, which increases the likelihood of breakdowns. The cost of a modern compressor and the labor involved in replacing it can be almost equal to the cost of a new refrigerator.

The compressor does not work – what to do

The situation is much more complicated if the compressor has stopped working and will not start. There may be several reasons and in each case the solution to the problem will be different.

Start relay

This node starts the motor, and hence the compressor. Usually the operation of the relay is heard as a soft click, after which the motor and compressor start.

If the start relay is out of order, then when you turn on the mini-refrigerator, you will not hear a click and the compressor will not start its work either.

A faulty relay can be replaced with a new one by selecting the appropriate part based on the model of your unit. But if clicks are heard, then the problem of the malfunction is not in the relay, but in another node of the refrigerator.

Mini fridge start relay

Faulty thermostat

The thermostat, or thermostat in the mini-refrigerator, controls the compressor – it gives a signal to start it as soon as the temperature inside exceeds a certain value.

If the thermostat fails, the compressor will also not work. The most reliable way to check it is with a special tester, a device that measures resistance. A non-working thermostat must be replaced.

Control board

The electronic module or control board in new generation mini-refrigerators controls the operation of the compressor and other important functions. In fact, this is the “brain” of the refrigerator, and if it fails, the compressor will also not start.

The more options and settings in the control board, the more expensive it will be to repair it.

Mini fridge control board


If all other parts work normally, then the problem is in the compressor itself. When the compressor is too hot and does not work, although all other components of the refrigerator are working, then it is out of order. Replacing the compressor in a mini-refrigerator will cost almost 70% of its cost. This is an expensive repair, and if the refrigerator is already more than 8 – 10 years old, then you should think about buying a new one.

Compressor running but mini fridge not cooling enough

It also happens that the compressor is running, but the temperature inside the refrigerator compartment is still too high – the products are not cooled and may deteriorate. The problem may lie in the incorrect operation of three important components of the unit:

  1. If the evaporator fan motor fails, the correct air circulation in the refrigerator compartment will be impaired. More precisely, cool air will enter the chamber, but its temperature will be noticeably higher and the products will not be cooled.
    A faulty evaporator fan motor makes a noticeable noise when the refrigerator door is open. This is due to the natural aging of the parts and the worn assembly must be replaced.
  1. The condenser fan motor may also cause the food in the mini fridge to not cool properly. A failure of the condenser fan motor will cause the compressor to wear out, as proper heat transfer will be impaired.
  2. The problem with the filter-drier is another reason for the compressor not working properly and not getting cold in the refrigerator compartment. The filter drier is attached to the capillary tube and protects it from clogging by solid particles and also absorbs moisture from the refrigerant. If a blockage has formed in the filter, then it will not be able to freely pass freon, which will immediately disrupt the circulation of cold in the refrigerator.

The main signs of blockage in the filter-drier:

  • mini-fridge does not cool food properly;
  • the unit can work for a long time, practically without shutting down, which greatly wears out the motor and compressor;
  • part of the condenser is hot, the other half of the normal temperature;
  • if the filter is completely clogged, then part of the air will be sucked into the compressor, which will impair its operation.

The filter drier cannot be repaired, it is usually cut off and replaced with a new one. Sometimes the refrigerant is recharged in parallel, since if the filter breaks down and is replaced, it partially leaks.


In order to figure out why your mini-refrigerator has stopped cooling food and producing cold in normal mode, you need to check all the important components in the unit and identify deviations in operation.

Always unplug your mini fridge before troubleshooting to avoid the risk of electric shock.

Keep in mind that the design may differ in different models of mini-refrigerators, therefore, for diagnostics, you should carefully study the instructions and determine those parts that may be faulty.

The compressor is the heart of any refrigerator. Whether the refrigerator will cool depends on its smooth operation. Also, it is one of the most expensive parts, so it should be treated with care in order to extend its service life.

Mini fridge repair

Masters recommend cleaning the grate and compressor from dust 2 times a year. To do this, the refrigerator is disconnected from the mains, the protective grille on the back wall is removed and the accumulated dust is carefully cleaned with a brush or vacuum cleaner. Such cleaning will help the compressor not to overheat during operation and extend its life.

It is very important to monitor the condition of the sealing gum on the door. The tightness of the refrigerating chamber and the temperature inside the unit depend on it. From time to time, apply petroleum jelly to the seal – it will protect it from cracking and drying out.

If you have an open-type evaporator in your refrigerator with a freezer, then do not try to break off the accumulated ice with a knife or other sharp objects – it is very easy to damage the evaporator and it will fail.

If you find a broken part, evaluate the feasibility of replacing it. Sometimes it is easier to buy a new refrigerator than to change its compressor or control board, especially if your refrigeration equipment has been in service for more than 10 years. In addition, you may find that parts for your model are no longer being produced, which will also make repairs difficult.