Your refrigerator stopped cooling? Here`s why

As summer approaches, the average appliance repair company starts to get more and more calls for failed refrigerators. In the hot season, from 50 to 70% of all customers calls are for refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, wine coolers et cetera. Many times those appliances start to fail way before consumers notice them, but the hot weather makes problems more obvious.

Here are the 5 reasons why your refrigerator is not cooling at all or not cooling enough.

1. Restricted airflow around condenser coil or failed condenser fan

We take refrigerators for granted, but there is quite a complicated physical process going on in every household refrigerator. The coolant inside the sealed system is pressed by the compressor and goes through different stages, from superheated vapor to subcooled liquid on and on. Every sealed system is precisely designed and built by engineers, and every component plays an important role in the refrigeration cycle.

You have to check the condenser coil every once in a while, especially if you have pets. Pet hair is usually sucked by the condenser fan and may clog the condenser coil completely.

2. Failed evaporator fan

Technically the evaporator is just a condenser coil, but in reverse – it absorbs heat instead of releasing it. The evaporator is located inside the refrigerator. The evaporator fan pushes the air through evaporator coils making the air colder and colder until the desired temperature is set. If the fan is not running, the heat inside the refrigerator is not absorbed, and the temperature rises.

To check if the evaporator fans are spinning, you need to open the freezer door and pay attention to the fan noise coming from the panel with ventilation holes. In some models, the door switch needs to be pressed in order to make the fan run.

3. Defrost problem.

Every refrigerator has to deal with the moisture inside. That moisture from groceries collects on the evaporator coil because it`s the coldest part of the system. The water freezes there and ice starts to cover the coils. The purpose of the defrost system is to eliminate this ice before it becomes too thick because thick ice kills the air circulation around the coils. The majority of modern refrigerators have a heated defrost system that activates every 8-12 hours or by a signal from the defrost sensor.

To check if something is wrong with defrost, you need to open the freezer or evaporator door and take a look at the back panel. If you notice unusual build-up, or if you don`t feel cold air coming from the ventilation holes, most likely you have a problem with the defrost system.

4. Compressor is not running

The compressor is the heart of every household refrigeration system. If your refrigerator stopped cooling and then became completely warm within 2-3 days, you have to check the compressor for the main operation. Do you hear the typical noise of a running refrigerator? If not, but all the electronics seem to be working fine, you may have a non-working compressor.

Some compressors have start relays to kick the motor, some have inverter boards to maintain the speed. For further troubleshooting, we recommend appealing to a reliable appliance repair company.

5. Failed compressor

This is a worst-case scenario. As we described above, the compressor is the heart of the refrigerator and when it fails, it is like a heart attack. A failed compressor may run or may not. Sometimes it might run constantly trying to reach the desired temperature in the refrigerator but it never reaches it due to an internal mechanical fault or problem with the coolant. Sometimes it simply won`t start because of stuck internal parts.

Luckily, the broken compressor is not a very common issue. Compressors are quite reliable in general. However, it happens from time to time, especially if the refrigerator is working in a non-friendly environment like high ambient temperature.


These are 5 potential reasons why your refrigerator is not running. If you are looking for reliable appliance service in the Los Angeles area, you may book it here.

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