Most common problems when the fridge compressor running but not cooling

When the temperature in the chamber is above 10°C, then most likely your refrigerator is not cooling at all, even if you hear the usual noise of its work. There are several reasons for this. The two most severe cases are compressor failure and obstructions in the sealed system (usually on the dry filter side). If you have these problems, you will have to call the repairman of household appliances. You can fix such problems on your own only if the person has professional knowledge.

When the temperature is kept at around 10°C, the compressor tries to cool the air, but fails. You can fix this problem yourself, but you need to get some knowledge and have a special tool. The main reasons why the refrigerator does not cool are described below.

fridge temperature control settings

Incorrect temperature control settings

Before you get hold of special tools and disassemble your refrigerator, check the controls. Sometimes the reason for the lack of cooling even with the compressor running can be incorrect temperature settings on the electronic or mechanical panel.

If you have children, they may push buttons or turn knobs out of curiosity to change the cooling settings. Inspect the control panel and set the cooling level to the desired value. If you have any difficulties, read the instructions for a specific model and find out about its temperature conditions. In summer it is recommended to set a higher cooling level, in winter the load can be reduced.

Frozen evaporator coils

This reason is the most common among others. To fix it, remove the lid from the freezer. You will have access to the coils. If they are completely covered with ice or frost, you need to defrost them within 24 hours.

Frozen evaporator coils

Unplug the refrigerator, take out the food and lay some rags on the floor that absorb water well. It is not necessary to artificially speed up the process with a hair dryer or heat gun, as you can ruin the plastic parts of the refrigerator. In 24 hours, all the ice is guaranteed to melt by itself.

After a day of waiting, connect the refrigerator to the mains and check its operation. If the unit starts to cool the air as it should, it is likely that one of the following parts has caused the coils to freeze: the timer, thermostat, or defrost heater.

These parts can be easily replaced by the master, and should be contacted for troubleshooting.

Worn evaporator fan

Worn evaporator fan

If your refrigerator has stopped cooling and it is accompanied by too much vibration and squealing noise every time you open the refrigerator, a broken evaporator fan is most likely the cause of the problem. An evaporator fan that is physically damaged will usually make a chirping or squealing sound.

The evaporator fan is located inside the freezer next to the coils. It is closed with a protective cover. To make sure the fan is the problem, open the refrigerator door and reach in towards the back wall. If there is a malfunction, the air flow will not be felt. The problem is fixed by replacing the fan, and it is advisable to order the part from the official manufacturer.

Faulty condenser fan

The compressor and condenser fan are located behind the rear access panel, which is located at the back of the refrigerator. They turn on if the thermostat requires additional cooling. The fan cools the condenser coils by forcing air onto them. It ensures proper heat exchange of the coils.

Faulty condenser fan

If the condenser fan is too noisy or does not work, it should be replaced. You can understand that there is a problem with this part by the rattling sound at the bottom of the refrigerator. Do the check like this:

  • disconnect the refrigerator from the mains;
  • move it away from the wall;
  • remove the rear access panel at the bottom;
  • reconnect the device to the mains: if the fan does not work when the compressor is on, it must be replaced with a new one.

The working fan can become very noisy, and this is a sign of deterioration. Timely replacement of the part will save you from sudden breakdown.

Sometimes the compressor will not turn on due to a defective condenser fan. It heats up and cannot perform its functions. To test this theory, try blowing on the compressor with a regular fan or hair dryer in the “no heat” mode. If the compressor cools down and starts to work, then initially its problem is associated with a faulty condenser fan. Replacing the part with a new one should solve the problem.

Start relay broken

Start relay failure

This cause is unlikely, but worth checking. If the relay is faulty, then the signals from the thermostat do not go to the compressor and fan. The start relay is usually located on the compressor.

A symptom of a part malfunction is loud clicks that occur from periodically turning the compressor on and off. If you hear such clicks, disconnect the relay from the compressor and shake it. Rattling sounds from the inside indicate that the part is out of order. You will have to replace it with a new one.

Dirty condenser coils

The condenser of the device looks like a radiator. In order for it to be able to remove heat from the refrigerator, it must remain clean. If the coils are very dirty, the refrigerator will not be able to catch up with the desired temperature. Dirty condenser coils even cause the thermostat to disconnect them from the power supply if they start to overheat.

Condenser coils dirty

This overheating of the compressor leads to a situation where it constantly turns on and off. You hear clicking sounds every 2-3 minutes. To check the coils, follow these steps:

  • disconnect the refrigerator from the mains;
  • open the rear access panel at the bottom of the refrigerator;
  • inspect coils;
  • If there is dirt on them, use a vacuum cleaner or a cloth.

Important! For trouble-free operation of the refrigerator, it is recommended to clean the condenser coils every 6 months.

Faulty thermistor

The thermistor is a sensor that is connected to the refrigerator control board. Its main function is to control the temperature inside the refrigerator compartment. If the part is broken, the device will not cool normally. If you suspect that the thermistor is the cause, call a refrigerator repairman. He will quickly solve the problem, since it is not very complicated.

Frigidaire refrigerator replace the thermistor

Other reasons why the refrigerator cannot cool:

  1. Clogged vents. Bags and boxes of food can be placed close to ventilation and block access to air flow. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to fill the chamber with a smaller amount of food and make sure that there are no obstacles near the ventilation.
  2. Faulty doors. When the rubber seal on the door is too dirty, torn or deformed, it will not fit snugly against the edges of the chamber. Because of this, gaps appear through which cold air enters the environment, and warm air enters. You will need to replace the rubber gasket.

Be consistent in identifying the causes of poor or no cooling. Even if you can’t do it yourself, explain to the master what you have already done. This will help him quickly identify the cause of the problem.