Refrigerators contain many parts and electronics that can stop working, causing your refrigerator to stop cooling. The most critical is the compressor which is the part that compresses the gas into a liquid which is then used to create cold in your refrigerator.
Other parts, like the condenser fan, evaporator fan, thermostat, temperature sensor, and more, may also stop working.
Kenmore Refrigerator not Cooling: Common Reasons
This article will review the most common reasons a refrigerator is not cooling. Read on.
The Evaporator is Probably iced Over
The evaporator is the part of your refrigerator that cools the air inside it. It usually has a fan that blows cold air over a coil of tubing, also known as a condenser coil. If ice forms on this coil, it will reduce the efficiency of your refrigerator and make it run longer than normal to cool down.
To get rid of the ice, you must defrost the coils in your refrigerator or freezer. This can be done manually or automatically. Manual defrosting means you’ll need to remove all of the food from your freezer or fridge and let it sit unplugged until the ice melts, usually overnight.
Automatic defrosting means there’s an electric device that melts the ice for you, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
If your refrigerator has automatic defrosting, you don’t need to worry about doing anything — just leave it alone until it automatically defrosts itself. If not, then here are some tips for manual defrosting:
Ensure all food has been removed from compartments and refrigerated elsewhere before starting any work inside your Kenmore refrigerator.
The Condenser Coils are Dirty
If your Kenmore refrigerator is not cooling properly, there is likely a problem with the condenser coils. The condenser coils are located on the back of your fridge and are responsible for cooling down the refrigerator. They are usually located on top of the compressor or behind it.
Condenser coils can become dirty from dust and dirt. If you see dust or dirt on your condenser coils, remove the back cover and clean them with hot water and mild dish soap. Make sure to dry them off before putting everything back together again.
If this doesn’t work and your Kenmore refrigerator is still not cooling, there could be other problems. For example, if you hear rattling or clicking sounds from inside your fridge when it’s running, you may have a bad fan motor or a broken fan blade that needs replacing.
The Compressor is Overheated
Check the refrigerator’s back condenser coil. Clear the coils of lint, pet hair, etc. Vacuum or lightly brush them dirty. Keep lint out of your older model’s cooling fan, which blows air over the coils.
If your refrigerator isn’t cooling, check the freezer thermometer for freezing. It’s not frozen, the refrigerator’s defrost system may be broken.
If you have a newer model refrigerator with an automatic defrost system and no cooling in the freezer compartment, check for frost buildup on evaporator coils inside the freezer compartment by removing food racks one at a time until you can see inside the back wall of the freezer compartment. Look for ice buildup on evaporators; there should be none if your compressor runs properly.
Check the Evaporator Fan Motor
If your Kenmore refrigerator is not cooling properly, you may be able to fix it yourself. The evaporator fan motor is located in the front of the refrigerator, usually behind the front grille or panel. It is located at the bottom of the freezer section, near the back of the freezer compartment.
To check this part, unplug your refrigerator and remove all food from the inside. Then locate your motor by following these steps:
- Remove screws holding the cover plate on top of the evaporator cover that covers the compressor and condenser coils. If there are no screws visible, remove the lower access panel by removing its screws or pulling it out with your hands if it’s attached with magnets.
- Remove the cover plate to expose the compressor and condenser coils. Note that two wires are connected to each coil; one goes directly to the compressor while the other goes through a relay switch which is located above it on the top side of the refrigerator near the evaporator cover panel
- Check both wires connected to the relay switch and ensure they’re not loose at their connection point.
Check The Ice Maker
The ice maker is probably the most common cause of a refrigerator not cooling. If your refrigerator is not cooling, check to see if the ice maker is working.
If the ice cubes are not dropping into the bin, it may be that the water line has frozen or broken. This can happen if you live in an area where it freezes during the winter months and has not drained your water lines before storing your refrigerator for the season.
Check out by turning off the water supply to the ice maker at its shutoff valve and opening up the cover for the filter in the back of your refrigerator. If there is no visible water flow, turn off power to your refrigerator and let it sit for 24 hours; then restart power and see if it works again.
If you have a Kenmore refrigerator that is not cooling, you should first clean the condenser coils. Be aware that sometimes a clog in the condenser coil will not allow the whole refrigerator to cool.
You must remove the back panel from your refrigerator, clean out any dust, lint, or hair from the coil, and remove any spider webs or bug nests. How often you do this depends on how many critters are in your area and how well your home air conditioning filters air.