Your Kenmore Elite refrigerator might be one of the most important appliance purchases you’ve made. Expect it to last more than a few years. If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling the way it should, here are some common issues and why they happen. Use this guide to troubleshoot, so you can get your refrigerator back to its normal operating temperature.
If your refrigerator stops cooling, it can cause all sorts of problems. Food spoilage is the main issue. Without the cooling system running, food will go bad and lead to a stinky fridge. Mold can also grow on porous foods. To determine the issue, you need to follow a few steps.
Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling – Troubleshoot and Diagnosis
When it comes to your refrigerator, you’ve got so many components working together. It can be hard to know what’s causing issues when one of them goes wrong, but there are some signs that can help you narrow things down. You’ll notice noise or vibrations coming from the fridge, or maybe your food isn’t staying cold enough.
A fridge malfunctions in many different ways, from a leaky door seal to a broken compressor. Sometimes a simple adjustment is all it takes to get your fridge working again. If this doesn’t do the trick, though, you may need to replace a few parts before your fridge is up and running again.
1. Faulty Condenser Fan Motor
The condenser fan motor is an important part of the cooling system of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. It pulls in air through the coils and then blows it over the compressor, helping it to run more efficiently. When the condenser fan motor is faulty, your fridge won’t stay properly chilled.
When you check for obstructions, look on the underside of the blades. A buildup of dirt or debris can prevent your condenser from functioning correctly. Remove any blockages you find on the condenser fan blade. When you turn the motor by hand, it should spin freely without resistance. If not, you will need to replace the fan assembly entirely.
If you have done everything correctly and have not run into any obstructions, and your condenser fan blade spins easily, move on to using a multimeter to test the continuity of the fan motor. If there is no continuity in the fan motor, you will need to replace it.
2. Dirty Condenser Coils
It’s important to keep the condenser coils of your refrigerator clean — if they become dirty, they can’t properly dissipate heat. That might make your refrigerator work harder to cool down, which can make it run longer than necessary. You’ll be helping the environment and saving money by keeping your fridge clean.
A refrigerator’s condenser coils are a place for dust and debris to build up. As the coils become clogged with dirt, it affects your refrigerator’s ability to cool itself. Eventually, this can lead to a failed compressor that will require you to replace the entire unit.
If you have a fridge that’s not cooling properly, the first thing you should do is check your condenser coils. If they’re dirty, a simple cleaning will almost always fix the problem.
3. Check Evaporator Fan Motor
The evaporator fan helps to keep your food fresh by ensuring that the temperature is within the ideal range. The evaporator fan motor draws air over the evaporator (cooling) coils and circulates it throughout the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
All refrigerators have at least one evaporator fan motor. Some refrigerators have more than one evaporator fan motor, and this is due to the fact that there is more than one space in the refrigerator that needs to be cooled. The freezer compartment is one of those spaces, and it is where you can find the evaporator on a refrigerator with only one.
If the evaporator fan stops working properly, it can cause an imbalance between the cool air blowing into the refrigerator and freezer section. If this happens, your freezer may still get cold, but your refrigerator section will not be as cold anymore.
If your evaporator fan motor is hard to turn or doesn’t turn freely, it could be broken. When this happens, the parts inside the motor wear out and need to be replaced. Even if it runs, a loud noise may develop from the unit. When you hear a strange noise coming from the unit, replace it immediately.
If the motor is not running at all, you’ll need to test the connections. Using a digital multimeter, put the tester leads on either side of both leads of the fan windings. If there is no continuity, you will need to replace the evaporator fan motor.
4. Compressor Start Relay Failed
The food in your refrigerator can warm up too much if the compressor does not run. To cool your food, the refrigerator must have a running compressor. When something is wrong with the start relay or the start winding, it can keep the compressor from starting or keep it from running. This can cause the temperature of your food to rise above normal levels.
First, use a multimeter, test continuity between run and start terminal sockets. If not in good working condition, replace. Second, if you smell something burning, it is most likely the relay. Inspect the relay by visually inspecting it for any visible damage/burn marks. If any of these conditions are noted, replace it.
5. Start Capacitor is not working
The Kenmore Elite series of refrigerators start up with a refreshing boost of power. A functioning start capacitor helps your fridge run more efficiently, lengthening the life of the compressor. It provides a boost of power to the compressor during the process of starting up. When there’s a problem with the start capacitor, the compressor can’t get enough power to function.
When you see temperature issues or when your fridge isn’t getting cold at all, the start capacitor may already be failing.
A faulty start capacitor can cause the compressor to fail to kick on, causing the refrigerator component of an appliance to overheat. Start capacitors aren’t always easy to test, so you’ll need a multimeter for this job. If you find a faulty start capacitor, replace it as soon as possible, otherwise the compressor will be unable to run and your refrigerator will not have cooled down.
6. Faulty Thermostat
If your refrigerator is not as cold as usual, or if the compressor does not run or stops working at all, then your thermistor may be defective. A thermistor is a sensor that measures the temperature of the refrigerator’s evaporator. It helps control the amount of power used by the compressor and fan. If this sensor is defective, it may cause the compressor to continue to run or not turn on at all.
If your fridge does not maintain its temperature properly, the thermistor may be broken. The thermistor is a special type of resistor that changes its resistance depending on temperature — it can be tested using a multimeter to ensure that it is intact and working properly. If there is no change in the thermistor resistance or there is no continuity, you will have to replace the thermistor entirely.
7. Check Compressor
Compressors are often the cause of a lack of cold air, even if the problem is somewhere else. While this is rarely the issue, you should check all other components before changing your compressor.
The compressor sits in between the condenser and evaporator coils, and it compresses a refrigerant gas that turns into a liquid. This liquid then enters the evaporator coils, which change back to a gas and absorb heat from your refrigerator’s compartment.
Compressors are fairly reliable appliances when they are properly cared for and maintained. However, constant wear can lead to major problems, like a failure of the entire appliance.
To troubleshoot this issue, unplug your fridge and take off the back panel to inspect the compressor — if there’s no power, we know the problem is with the compressor. To check for electrical continuity between the wires and pins that connect to the compressor, we’ll need a multimeter.
Your fridge compressor is likely defective if there is an open circuit. If this is the case, you’re going to have to have a licensed technician come out to perform the repairs or replace the fridge entirely.
8. Temperature Control Thermostat
The temperature control thermostat in your refrigerator directs voltage to several components in order to keep the refrigerator running A broken temperature control thermostat can result in a faulty refrigerator or freezer that may not operate properly. If the temperature control thermostat is malfunctioning, it may prevent the compressor and condenser from cooling, and cause your appliance to overheat and cease functioning.
To check if your fridge’s thermostat is broken, you’ll want to rotate the thermostat between the lowest setting and the highest one. If you hear a click when you move it up, the thermostat is mostly fine. If there is no click, test for continuity using a multimeter to check that your thermostat isn’t faulty.
If you can not get a continuity on any of the settings, please change the thermostat immediately. Without continuity, it is very hard to get a proper refrigeration effect.
9. Check Main Control Board
The main control board might be defective, but that isn’t often the case. Before replacing it, test all of the more commonly defective parts. If none of them are faulty, replace the main control board.
Hi there! I’m Sam Hendricks, and I’m a repair technician and expert. I created this website to help people like you save money and time by fixing your own appliances.
Over the years, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on unnecessary repairs or replacements. That’s why I decided to share my expertise and create easy-to-follow guides for fixing appliances on your own.