Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling: 9 Ways To Fix It

Are you experiencing a problem with your fridge compressor running but not cooling? It can be frustrating to open your fridge and find that the items inside are not as cold as they should be.

No worries, though, as we will delve into the possible causes and solutions for this issue to help you get your fridge back to its proper cooling performance.

Whether it’s a dirty condenser coil or a faulty thermostat, we’ve got you covered. So, keep reading to find out how to get your fridge running efficiently once again and keep your food fresh.

Why is Your Fridge Compressor Running but Not Cooling?

The fridge compressor, like the beating heart of a refrigerator, is the essential component that keeps your food cold to perfection. However, there are several reasons why a fridge compressor may run but not cool.

Here are 9 possible causes, each with its unique characteristics and implications:

1. Low Refrigerant Level

A low refrigerant level can be caused by a leak in the refrigerant system, which may result in a hissing or gurgling sound from the fridge. The refrigerant is the substance that absorbs heat from inside the fridge and releases it outside.

When the refrigerant level is low, the fridge can’t cool properly, and the compressor may run continuously in an attempt to compensate for the lack of cooling.

A leak in the refrigerant system can be caused by a variety of reasons, including wear and tear, manufacturing defects, or accidental damage.

2. Clogged Condenser Coils

The condenser coils release the heat that the refrigerant has absorbed from inside the fridge. If these coils become clogged with dirt or debris, the compressor may continue to run without cooling the fridge.

The clogging of the condenser coils can be caused by a lack of maintenance or placing the fridge in an area with poor air circulation.

3. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat may prevent the fridge from reaching the proper temperature, causing the compressor to run constantly. The thermostat is responsible for regulating cool temperatures inside the fridge.

If it’s not working correctly, the fridge may not be able to reach the set fridge temperature, and the compressor may run continuously to try and cool the fridge.

4. Malfunctioning Compressor

The refrigerant is compressed through the compressor, which then circulates through the fridge to cool it. If the compressor is malfunctioning, it may run without cooling the fridge.

This can be caused by a faulty start relay or capacitor, resulting in a clicking or humming sound.

5. Blocked Air Vents

The air vents in the fridge allow cool air to circulate and keep the fridge’s contents chilled. If these vents become blocked, it can prevent the flow of cool air, causing the compressor to run continuously without cooling the fridge.

The blockage can be caused by various reasons, including placing items too close to the vents or poor fridge design.

6. Broken Evaporator Fan 

The evaporator fan motor plays a vital role in keeping the fridge cool by circulating the cool air throughout the unit. However, if the fan is not functioning properly due to wear and tear, damage, or other issues, it can lead to the compressor running without cooling the fridge.

A common symptom of a faulty evaporator fan motor is the production of grinding or squeaking sounds, which can indicate that the fan blades are struggling to spin or have become damaged.

7. Broken Compressor Motor

The compressor motor is responsible for driving the compressor, which compresses the refrigerant and circulates it through the fridge. If the motor is broken, it may produce a whining or screeching sound, which is a sign that the motor is struggling to function properly and may need to be replaced.

There are a few potential reasons why the compressor motor might break, including wear and tear over time, electrical issues, or a lack of proper maintenance.

8. Dirty or Worn Out Compressor

If the compressor is dirty or worn out, it may not be able to generate enough cooling power, causing the compressor to run continuously but fail to cool the fridge.

This problem may produce a high-pitched or squealing sound. The compressor can become dirty due to a lack of maintenance, while wear and tear can occur over time.

9. Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are a common culprit behind fridge compressors running without cooling the fridge. A variety of reasons, such as faulty wiring, a blown fuse, power surges, or a lack of maintenance, can cause these issues.

When electrical issues arise, they may prevent the compressor from cooling the fridge properly. The challenge with electrical issues is that they may not produce any unusual sounds, making them difficult to diagnose without proper testing equipment.

How to Fix a Fridge Compressor that’s Running but Not Cooling?

With your newfound knowledge of the potential causes behind a fridge compressor running but not cooling, you can now troubleshoot and fix the issue with one of the below 9 easy fixes.

1. Low Refrigerant Level Fix

Suppose the fridge compressor is running continuously without cooling, and the cause is a low refrigerant level. In that case, the solution is locating and fixing the refrigerant leak, then recharging the refrigerant to the appropriate level.

This process should only be performed by an appliance repair technician with the equipment and expertise to handle refrigerants safely. The technician will begin by identifying the leak‘s location and fixing it.

After that, they will evacuate any remaining refrigerant from the system and recharge it to the manufacturer’s recommended level. It’s important to note that simply recharging the refrigerant without fixing the leak will only provide a temporary solution, and the problem will recur.

2. Clogged Condenser Coils Fix

This issue may not be accompanied by any unusual sounds, making it challenging to diagnose. The solution to this problem is to replace the faulty thermostat with a new one.

The process involves disconnecting the power supply, locating the thermostat, and removing it from the fridge. The new thermostat is then installed and connected to the wiring, and the power supply is restored.

It’s crucial to ensure that the new thermostat is compatible with the fridge model and correctly installed to prevent any further issues.

Regular maintenance, such as checking the thermostat’s accuracy, can prevent this problem from occurring in the future and keep the fridge operating efficiently.

3. Faulty Thermostat Fix

To solve this problem, the faulty component needs to be identified and replaced. The appliance service can help you diagnose the issue by testing the compressor and its components, such as the start relay and capacitor.

Once the problem is identified, the appliance technician will replace the faulty component and ensure the compressor runs efficiently. If the compressor is beyond repair, the entire unit may need to be replaced, which can be costly.

It’s essential to ensure the compressor is correctly diagnosed before any replacement is done to prevent unnecessary expenses.

To prevent this issue from recurring and maintain the efficiency of your fridge, it is essential to perform routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning the coils and checking the compressor’s functionality.

4. Malfunctioning Compressor Fix

If your fridge’s compressor is malfunctioning and not cooling the fridge, start by checking the start relay and capacitor. If they are damaged or not working correctly, replace them.

However, if this doesn’t fix the issue, the next step is to clean the condenser coils. The compressor may overheat and shut off if the condenser coils are clogged with dirt and debris.

The issue could also be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat. If that’s the case, it can cause the compressor to run continuously or not at all.

Therefore, you must verify that the thermostat is functioning correctly and set it to the appropriate freezer temperature.

5. Blocked Air Vents Fix

A fridge with blocked air vents can cause the compressor to run continuously without cooling the fridge. To solve this issue, you will need to identify and remove any blockages from the air vents.

Blocked air vents can occur due to food or other items blocking the airflow. This can be easily resolved by rearranging the fridge’s contents and ensuring the air vents are not blocked.

It’s also important to check the condition of the door gaskets, as damaged or worn gaskets can allow warm air to enter the fridge, causing it to overwork and potentially block the air vents.

Additionally, damaged gaskets should be replaced promptly to prevent any further issues.

Consistently cleaning and maintaining your fridge can avert this issue from happening again. Make sure to keep the air vents unobstructed, regularly inspect the condition of the door gaskets, and ensure the fridge is operating efficiently.

6. Broken Evaporator Fan Fix

The faulty evaporator fan should be replaced as soon as possible to resolve this issue. If the fan is damaged or worn, it will be unable to maintain the proper air temperature, causing the compressor to overwork and potentially creating further problems.

It’s also essential to check for any obstructions in the fan blades that could hinder its operation. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the blades over time and reduce the fan’s efficiency; cleaning the blades can often solve the issue.

Regular maintenance of the fridge, including cleaning the fan blades, can prevent this problem from occurring in the future.

7. Broken Compressor Motor Fix

Replacing the compressor motor is the only way to fix this issue. A broken motor cannot be repaired and must be replaced to ensure the fridge functions properly.

It is critical to have a professional diagnose and fix the problem, as attempting to replace the compressor motor without proper training can be dangerous and may cause further damage to the fridge.

Keeping the fridge in good condition can extend its lifespan and prevent the need for costly repairs, which can be done by cleaning the coils and checking for any signs of wear or damage.

8. Dirty or Worn Out Compressor Fix

If a fridge compressor is dirty or worn out, it may not be able to produce enough cooling power, leading the fridge to produce a high-pitched or squealing sound. In this case, replacing the compressor may be necessary if it is excessively worn or damaged.

To prevent this issue, cleaning the compressor coils and ensuring adequate ventilation around them is essential. Proper maintenance can also prolong the fridge’s lifespan and eliminate the need for expensive repairs.

9. Electrical Issues Fix

Electrical issues can cause the compressor to run but not cool the fridge. To fix this, it is important to check the electrical system of the fridge and ensure that all connections are secure and the fuses are not blown.

Sometimes, the electrical issue may be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or a damaged power cord. These issues can prevent the fridge from receiving enough power to operate appropriately.

It is recommended to get the help of an appliance technician to diagnose and fix any electrical issues to ensure the safe and proper functioning of the fridge.

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