Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling: 12 Ways To Fix It

Kenmore is known for its top-performing appliances, especially its refrigerators. However, any electrical appliance is vulnerable to glitches and errors over time.

One of the issues that Kenmore Elite refrigerators can face is not cooling. If the fridge is not cooling, it can spoil all the food and items inside.

While, understandably, this can be a frustrating experience, there’s no need to worry. This article will examine why your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling and guide you on solutions to each cause.

Why Is Your Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling?

There are several reasons your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling, for example, dirty condenser coils, faulty fan motor, defective evaporator fan motor, and other reasons. The following troubleshooting steps will examine every cause in detail.

1. Dirty Condenser Coils

The condenser coils dissipate the heat from your fridge, especially when the compressor is working. When the coils get dirty, they cannot dissipate the heat properly.

As a result, the heat gets trapped inside the fridge affecting the cooling process, so the fridge becomes unable to cool properly or at all. The coils can also become dirty over time due to dust accumulation.

2. Faulty Condenser Fan Motor

The fridge cools through air circulation; the condenser fan motor circulates the air inside. The condenser fan motor is found at the back of the fridge behind the access panel.

If the condenser fan motor becomes faulty, the air will not be circulated; consequently, the fridge will not cool properly. The condenser fan can also become clogged with dust over time, building up and leading to the overheating of the motor; as a result, the motor fails.

3. Defective Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan is responsible for cooling the evaporator coils by drawing and circulating the air. If the fan motor fails, it will affect the refrigerator’s cooling.

The motor can either fail electrically or mechanically. When the evaporator fan stops working, you will notice that the evaporator coils freeze, and the temperature inside the freezer goes down.

4. Bad Start Relay

An essential part of the refrigerator is the compressor; however, it needs a start relay device to power up. The start relay supplies the compressor with the necessary power to start.

The start relay is like any other electronic part; it’s vulnerable to wear over time. So, when the start relay wears out, the compressor fails to start, affecting the fridge’s cooling.

You can tell that the start relay is bad by listening to the sound of the compressor. If the compressor has no sound, which means that it didn’t start, the start relay is faulty.

5. Malfunctioning Temperature Control Thermostat

The temperature control thermostat regulates the fridge’s internal temperature. So, a malfunctioning thermostat can send wrong signals, making the fridge too cold or warm.

The thermostat can fail due to wear over time or due to power surges because it’s a sensitive component. Sometimes the reason for a malfunctioning thermostat is dirt buildup.

6. Faulty Start Capacitor

The capacitor is another component that helps the compressor to start up. The capacitor, over time, starts to lose its ability to charge, so when the capacitor fails, the compressor will not start up, affecting the fridge’s cooling.

You can test the capacitor using a multimeter to confirm it’s the reason. First, power off the fridge and unplug it from the power source, then adjust the multimeter to the ohms settings, and remove the capacitor cap.

Next, touch the multimeter probes to the capacitor terminals; the reading should be close to zero. If the reading is far from zero, then you will have to replace the capacitor.

7. Malfunctioning Temperature Control Board

The temperature control board regulates the fridge’s cooling. This control board can fail for several reasons, for example, if the fridge’s power is insufficient.

Another reason is the temperature control board is damaged, so in this case, you will need to replace the control board.

8. Faulty Thermistor

The thermistor is one of the components in charge of regulating the fridge’s temperature. So, if the thermistor fails, it will affect the cooling fridge.

The thermistor can fail due to several reasons; for example, it wears over time, causing it to fail. The accumulation of dirt on the thermistor can also cause it to fail.

Another reason that could cause issues is that the thermistor is physically damaged, so it would need to be replaced.

9. Defective Compressor

The compressor circulates the coolant inside the fridge; this coolant maintains the fridge’s temperature. Therefore, if the compressor fails, it can affect the fridge’s overall cooling.

The compressor can fail for several reasons; for example, the compressor is like any other part; it wears over time. Another reason is that the compressor parts may get damaged or broken.

Also, the power supply can affect the compressor’s performance; if the power is insufficient, the compressor will not be able to operate properly.

10. Malfunctioning Main Control Board

The main control board is the most crucial component of the fridge; it sends signals to every part of the fridge. Therefore, if the main control board is malfunctioning, it can affect the performance of all those parts.

There are several reasons why the main control board fails, for example, if the board experiences a power surge, has bad soldering, or has bad manufacturing.

11. Faulty System Freon

The freon is essential to the cooling process and maintains the proper pressure inside the fridge. If the system freon fails, it will affect the performance and cooling of your appliance.

A common problem that most users may face with the system freon is leaking; if the freon leaks, the fridge will not cool at all. Another issue that the system freon can go through is that it gets frozen.

12. Wrong Damper Control Setting

The damper control is a feature in Kenmore Elite refrigerators; this feature regulates the airflow inside the fridge and maintains the temperature.

If the damper control settings are set too low, it will affect the airflow inside your fridge. As a result, the fridge will not cool properly.

How To Fix A Kenmore Elite Refrigerator That’s Not Cooling?

After examining all the possible reasons your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling, we can now walk through all the solutions to help you solve each one.

1. Clean Condenser Coils

First, power off the fridge and unplug it from the power source. Then, start cleaning the coils using a brush attachment or a cleaning solution made from 50% vinegar and 50% water.

2. Clean the Fan Motor

Before cleaning the fan motor, you must power off the refrigerator to protect yourself from electrical shocks. Then, remove the access panel of the fridge, and start cleaning the motor using either a vacuum or a brush.

If, after the fan motor, the fan is still facing issues or not working at all. Then, unfortunately, you will need to replace the fan motor.

3. Replace Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan starts as you power on the fridge, so you can confirm that the evaporator fan needs to be replaced from the fan sound.

Power on the fridge and listen closely for the evaporator fan sound. If you can’t hear any fan sound when you start the fridge, then replace the evaporator fan.

4. Replace the Start Relay

Power off the fridge and unplug from the power source, then wear protective gear like gloves and safety glasses because you will be dealing with electricity.

Unthread the mounting screws for the access panel of the fridge. Search for a tube-like part, which is the capacitor; after locating the capacitor, disconnect the leads from the resistor and the capacitor.

This will ensure that there will be no chance of any electric shock if the capacitor is discharged. Locate the relay start cover, mostly found at the back of the appliance; then, remove the cover and disconnect any wires connected to the relay start.

Install the new start relay by placing it in the cover and connecting the wires from the compressor. Reinstall everything like it was, and turn on the fridge to test the new start relay.

5. Clean the Thermostat

First, check that the fridge is connected to the power source. You must reset the circuit breaker if it’s connected to the power, but the thermostat is not working.

If the problem persists after resetting the circuit breaker,  replace the fuse. If, after replacing the fuse, the thermostat is still malfunctioning, you will need to clean the thermostat.

Clean the thermostat using distilled vinegar and a clean cloth. If the thermostat continues to malfunction after cleaning it and replacing the fuse, you will need to replace the thermostat entirely.

6. Replace the Capacitor

Power off the fridge, unplug it from the power source, and remove the capacitor cap. Disconnect the capacitor wires using a pair of pliers.

Install the new capacitor, connect its wires, and place the capacitor cap.

7. Replace the Temperature Control Board

Check the power supply to the fridge; if the power is not sufficient, you will need to solve the power supply issue. If the power supply is adequate, then the control board is faulty and must be replaced.

8. Replace the Thermistor

First, check the thermistor; if there is dirt buildup on the thermistor, you will need to clean it to solve the issue. You can clean the thermistor using a piece of cloth.

However, if the thermistor is clean but worn or damaged, you will need to replace it.

9. Replace the Compressor

If the power is insufficient, to begin with, then you will need to solve the issue with the power supply. Meanwhile, if the compressor is damaged, you will need to replace the compressor.

Unfortunately, the compressor is expensive; therefore, it would be better if you buy a new fridge. However, if you choose to replace the compressor, it’s advised that you hire a technician to replace it.

10. Replace the Main Control Board

If the control board has bad soldering, you can fix it with the required knowledge and experience. If you are uncomfortable repairing the board, hire a qualified technician.

However, if the control board has bad manufacturing or has experienced a power surge, it must be replaced. It’s recommended that you hire a qualified technician to replace it for you.

11. Clean the System, Freon

First, clean the freon from debris or dirt; if it is frozen, you must defrost it. If the freon is not working correctly, you must replace it.

12. Adjust the Damper Control Settings

You will need to try different settings until you reach the perfect refrigerator settings. The settings should not be too low because it will restrict the flow of air.

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