Criterion Refrigerator Not Cooling (5 Easy Fixes)

Have you ever opened your refrigerator door to discover that your milk has gone sour, or your meat has spoiled because your Criterion refrigerator is not cooling? Well, you are not alone in this. Many homeowners experience this frustration and major inconvenience not only with criterion fridges but also with other brands.

Fortunately, this problem doesn’t always signal your fridge’s early retirement. There are some simple steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix this common problem.

In this article, we will explain how to identify the possible causes of a criterion refrigerator not cooling, and how to solve them with easy DIY solutions.

We’ll also explore when calling in the pros becomes necessary, offering insights into restoring your fridge’s cooling efficiency.

How To Fix Criterion Refrigerator Not Cooling?

If your Criterion fridge isn’t producing cold air, don’t despair! Identifying and addressing the root cause of the issue can allow you to fix or replace the defective part if you have the necessary DIY skills.

Among the common culprits behind this refrigeration problem are a faulty thermostat, defective condenser coils, a failed compressor, and a malfunctioning defrost timer.

Now, let’s unravel the reasons behind inefficient Criterion refrigerator cooling.

1a.  Malfunctioning Defrost Timer

For a successful defrost cycle, shifting between cooling and defrost modes is essential. This is where the defrost timer steps in. This consecutive shift causes frost buildup on the evaporator coils.

When the timer functions properly, the cycle achieves its goal and the fridge’s cooling efficiency remains in order.

But when this component shows signs of malfunction, you can expect the following consequences:

  • The defrost cycle won’t start. This ends with excessive ice buildup and reduced cooling performance.
  • The defrost cycle keeps going non-stop. This compromises the food quality due to a lack of cooling.
  • The fridge shifts between the two modes haphazardly, which leads to inconsistent temperatures and increased power consumption.

1b. How To Fix Malfunctioning Defrost Timer

If you are knowledgeable and comfortable doing electrical work, you can easily troubleshoot the defrost timer. But keep in mind that every time you attempt to troubleshoot your fridge, you should unplug it from the power source.

  1. Find the timer: The location of this component varies according to the model. In most models, it is situated near the compressor. However, you can refer to the manual for specific information about the location.
  2. Access the timer: Remove the screws holding the back panel in place. You can identify the timer by its appearance (small and cylindrical device).
  3. Detach the timer: Use a wire cutter, a pair of pliers, or your screwdriver to remove the timer from its clips.
  4. Test the timer: If you have a multimeter, you can connect the timer as per the manual’s instructions. Test it for continuity. If you don’t get the recommended reading ranges, opt for a replacement timer.

2a. Overloaded Fridge

Storing too much food without proper order ends with an overloaded Criterion Refrigerator. If you do this more frequently, you’ll leave little space for proper airflow. This can affect the fridge’s performance in several ways, such as:

  1. Overworking the appliance: Your fridge will have to work overtime to keep consistent temperatures.
  2. Damaging the seal and removable shelves: The extra weight and the continuous pressure may damage these components.
  3. Uneven cooling: This resembles what would happen with overloaded dishwashers. The dishes won’t be evenly cleaned. Also, an overloaded fridge won’t be able to distribute the cold air evenly over all the food items. This may compromise the quality and safety of food.

2b. How To Fix Overloaded Fridge

While there are no appliance repairs required in this fix, you need some time to focus on sorting out your overloaded fridge and overcrowded freezer. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Dispose of any expired items: Remove your fridge’s power cord from the outlet and defrost your freezer to easily check the items without potential energy waste. Check the expiration dates of your food items and discard any that are spoiled or expired.
  2. Categorize your food items: Organize your food by category and store them on the appropriate shelves and drawers. Make sure there is a decent space between the food items to allow air circulation and avoid blocking the vents.
  3. Invest in airtight containers: Instead of leaving the food exposed inside the fridge, opt for airtight containers. This way, you can organize smaller items and prevent spills.
  4. Make use of sticky labels:  If you want to store leftovers, use sticky labels to mark their dates. Prioritize older items to avoid forgotten treasures becoming bacteria farms.

3a. Faulty Compressor Start Relay

As you already know, a fridge’s compressor is an essential component. But this beating heart of your Criterion doesn’t operate on its own. There is this small switch that controls the power supply to the compressor.

Depending on the temperature inside the fridge, this switch turns on and off. When this relay goes rogue, it makes the refrigerator compressor not run. Subsequently, your Criterion refrigerator may not cool or run at all.

3b. How To Fix Faulty Compressor Start Relay

If the fridge’s compressor isn’t running properly, you shouldn’t rush into replacing the expensive component. Make it a priority to examine and troubleshoot the start relay before going too deep with replacement parts.

If you are familiar with troubleshooting switches and small electrical components, you can easily fix this component.

  1. Find the relay: Look for this component at the bottom of the fridge but after unplugging the fridge. It is attached to the side of the compressor. You can recognize it from the attached capacitor or wires.
  2. Separate the relay from the compressor: Use your pliers or screwdriver to detach the wires of the relay and then pull it away from the compressor. Don’t be too tough while performing this action.
  3. Check its resistance: If you know how to test electrical devices using a multimeter, you won’t find any issues with this test. If you don’t know how, you can find some reference on the user manual. If not, you can find online tutorials. If the test shows too high or too low readings, you need a new relay. Install the new relay the same way you removed the older one.

4a. Defective Condenser Fan

As your efficient Criterion refrigerator works hard to preserve your food, heat is generated. However, hot air isn’t supposed to stay inside the fridge. This is where a condenser fan steps in. This fan makes sure that hot air leaves the condenser coils and the refrigerant. If this fan malfunctions for any reason, the compressor may overheat and the fridge may not run.

There are various reasons behind this component’s malfunction, including:

  1. A broken fan belt.
  2. defective fan motor.
  3. Debris and dirt buildup.
  4. A blocked air filter (only in newer models)

4b. How To Fix Defective Condenser Fan

If you want your Criterion Fridge to maintain cooling, you should always check the performance of the condenser fan. Otherwise, your Criterion refrigerator not cooling issues become a regular occurrence. If you want to effectively diagnose and troubleshoot this fan, do the following:

  1. Detach the back panel of the fridge: After unplugging the fridge, Bring a flathead screwdriver along and remove the screws and keep them in a safe place.
  2. Do some visual inspection: Carefully inspect the fan for obvious cracks or splits. Also, check the blade for damages or obstructions. Do the same for the fan motor. If they appear non-viable, it’s time for replacement parts.
  3. Clean the fan assembly: Gently clean the fan and surrounding area with a soft brush and compressed air.
  4. Test the fan capacitor: The small capacitor stores and releases electrical energy that boosts the fan and makes it start spinning. If this component appears frayed, get a replacement.

Remember, dealing with electrical parts is not easy for inexperienced hands. If you are not comfortable around these components, seek professional help.

5a. Troublesome Refrigerator Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan of your Criterion refrigerator consists of a small motor and a blade. This fan assembly is responsible for circulating cold air from the freezer to the fridge. This is how the fan contributes to maintaining a consistent temperature inside the fridge.

A troublesome evaporator fan can cause various problems, such as:

  1. Inefficient cooling: This means that your Criterion fridge fails to reach the required cooling temperature.
  2. Noise during operation: Unusual clicking, suspicious humming, grinding or other strange loud noises coming from the freezer compartment direction.
  3. Frozen coils: Frozen evaporator coils result from uneven distribution of cold air due to a faulty evaporator fan.

5b. How To Fix Troublesome Refrigerator Evaporator Fan

A defective evaporator fan is the main culprit behind your Criterion Refrigerator not cooling problem. To fix it properly, disconnect the fridge from the power source, bring a screwdriver, and a multimeter and follow these steps:

  1. Locate the fan: This fan resides behind the back panel of the freezer. You can have access to it by removing the panel’s screws.
  2. Give it a manual spin: Give the fan a manual spin but be gentle while doing so. If it’s stiff or doesn’t spin freely, it is likely obstructed by dust or debris buildup. In this case, clean it with a vacuum cleaner or a brush. In case there is frost buildup blocking the fan, set your hair dryer on low heat and let the ice melt.
  3. Perform a thorough inspection: You can identify a problem in the fan with the naked eye. Inspect the blade for any damage. If the blade is broken or blocked, replace it.
  4. Test the motor for continuity: Connect the fan motor to your multimeter. Then, wait for the multimeter to show the readings. If it displays inconsistent numbers, you should replace the motor.

Freezer Cold But Refrigerator is Not: 13 Easy Ways To Fix It


In conclusion, troubleshooting and fixing a Criterion refrigerator that isn’t cooling doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If your trusty fridge gone rogue, turning lukewarm and putting your groceries in danger, don’t despair.

This guide empowers you to diagnose possible culprits like a packed fridge blocking airflow, a malfunctioning defrost timer leading to ice buildup, or a faulty compressor struggling to keep things cool.

However, when it comes to complex repairs or handling electrical components, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t hesitate to call in a qualified appliance technician. They’ll be your fridge superhero, getting it humming happily again and ensuring your food stays fresh and delicious.

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