The fan in your refrigerator plays a crucial role in keeping your fridge cool and running efficiently. When your refrigerator fan stops working, your food can spoil, and your energy bill can increase quickly.
It can be frustrating when you’re not sure what might be causing an issue like this. Luckily, this issue is easy to diagnose, and there are some easy solutions you can try to rectify it quickly.
In this article, we’ll cover why your refrigerator fan might not work and the 10 easiest ways to fix it.
Why Is Your Refrigerator Fan Not Working?
A refrigerator fan can stop working for several reasons. Understanding the cause can help you diagnose and fix the problem quickly and easily, so we’ve listed some common reasons below why your refrigerator fan might not be working.
1. Blocked Air Vents
The airflow in your fridge is essential for keeping it cool and keeping your food fresh. If the air vents in your fridge are blocked, it can cause the fan to stop working.
To avoid this issue, regularly check for any obstructions around the air vents and remove them if present.
2. Ice Buildup
Ice buildup on the evaporator coils can prevent the fan from spinning, and if the fan blades can’t move, they won’t be able to circulate the cool air inside the fridge. This could happen if your freezer temperature is too high.
If you notice any ice has built up on these coils, you can defrost your fridge and remove the ice. You could also use a hairdryer to speed up the defrosting process.
3. Faulty Motors
The fan motors in your fridge are responsible for spinning the blades and circulating the air inside your fridge. The evaporator fan motor draws cool air over the evaporator coils to circulate it throughout the fridge, while the condenser fan motor draws air through the condenser coils and over the compressor.
Both of these motors contribute to the cooling in the fridge, and if either is defective, it can stop the fan from working. You can check the motors by unplugging the fridge and opening the back panel to access them.
4. Worn-Out Bearings
The bearings support the fan motor and can wear out over time too. If the bearings are worn out, the motor won’t be able to operate correctly.
You can check the bearings by listening for any unusual noises coming from the fan. If you hear any grinding or screeching sounds, it’s a sign that the bearings are worn out and need to be replaced.
How to Fix a Refrigerator Fan That’s Not Working?
Fixing a broken refrigerator fan can be easy or complicated, depending on the cause of the problem. Now that you know the causes of the issue, here are all the steps you should take to get your fridge back in working order.
1. Clean the Air Vents
As mentioned, blocked air vents will prevent the fan from creating proper airflow. Cleaning the air vents is the easiest and most cost-effective way to fix a refrigerator fan.
Once you’ve removed any debris or obstructions from the vents, you can use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove any other grime or buildup from the air vents. Make sure to unplug the fridge before cleaning the vents to prevent the risk of any electrical injuries.
2. Defrost the Fridge
If you suspect that ice buildup is causing your fan to stop working, you’ll need to defrost your fridge. To do this, turn off the refrigerator and remove items like meat and frozen vegetables from the freezer.
Place towels around the fridge to absorb any water that might leak during the defrosting process. You might move the fridge outside into the backyard to avoid water in your kitchen.
Once the fridge is defrosted, turn it on and wait for it to cool before placing the food back in. You should also ensure that the fridge is set to the correct temperature.
3. Replace the Fan Motor
If the motor is faulty, you’ll need to replace it. To diagnose and solve this problem, you’ll need to access the motor itself.
Ensure you have the right tools and are confident in your handyman skills before attempting this yourself. First, unplug the fridge from the power source and allow the power to drain from the appliance.
Next, remove the back panel from the refrigerator. Here, you’ll be able to locate the motor in order to replace it; disconnect the wires from the old motor and remove them from the fridge. Install the new motor and reconnect the wires; put the back panel back on and plug the fridge back in.
If you’re unsure of this process, get in touch with a licensed technician to perform the repairs for you.
4. Replace the Bearings
As discussed, worn-out bearings can impact the motor severely and need replacing. You can do this yourself, too, if you have the right equipment; otherwise, call an appliance technician.
Once again, start by unplugging the fridge from the wall outlet. Next, you’ll need to remove the fan blade and motor from the fridge, take apart the motor and replace the old bearings with new ones.
Reassemble the motor and put the fan blade back on. Make sure to plug the fridge back in and turn it on to test whether the fan works.
5. Check the Wiring
If the air vents are clear and there’s no ice buildup, the issue could be with the wiring. Check the wiring harness in your fridge for any signs of wear and tear or a broken wire.
If you notice an issue, repair or replace the wiring as necessary, or call an electrician or professional appliance repair company.
6. Replace the Fan Blade
Even the fan blade itself can get damaged or worn out over time, which of course, will cause the fan to stop working properly.
If you notice any cracks in the blade, it’s probably time to replace it. You can do this by removing the old blade and installing a new one or getting in touch with a professional to do it for you.
7. Clean the Condenser Coils
The refrigerator condenser coils are located at the back of the fridge and are responsible for removing heat from the refrigerator. If the coils are dirty, they make your fridge overheat, which can then lead to the fan not working correctly.
You can clean the coils with a vacuum cleaner or even an old toothbrush. Make sure to remove all the buildup and grime from the coils, and be sure to unplug your appliance before doing this.
8. Check the Temperature Control Thermostat
As the name suggests, the temperature control thermostat regulates the temperature in the fridge. If this element is faulty, it could also cause the fan to stop working.
You can check the thermostat using a multimeter if you have the necessary tools and skills. If not, but you suspect a thermostat issue, contact a professional.
If the diagnosis is that the thermostat is not working correctly, you’ll need to have it replaced by an appliance parts distributor.
9. Check the Start Relay
Power to the compressor and the fan motor is supplied through the start relay. A faulty start relay can also cause issues with your fan; to check the start relay, you will also need a multimeter.
If you have the right tools, include this in your checks while diagnosing the issue with your appliance. Otherwise, you can get in touch with a repair company and mention to them that you suspect a faulty start relay.
10. Call a Professional
All in all, if you’re not comfortable troubleshooting and fixing your fridge on your own, it’s best to call a professional.
A technician is qualified to diagnose the issue and fix it quickly and efficiently. They can also advise you on any necessary repairs or replacements to keep your fridge running smoothly and able to complete all the necessary tasks.
How Can I Tell if My Refrigerator Fan is Broken?
If your fridge is not cold enough or you hear unusual noises from the appliance, the fan might be broken.
You can also check the air vents in the fridge to see if they’re blocked, which can be a sign that the fan is not working.
Can I Fix a Broken Refrigerator Fan on My Own?
This depends on the nature of the issue. If it’s a simple fix, such as cleaning the condenser coils or replacing the fan blade, you might be able to do it yourself.
However, it’s best to contact a professional should the issue be more complex, such as a faulty motor or wiring.
How Expensive is it to Fix a Broken Refrigerator Fan?
The cost of fixing a broken refrigerator fan will differ depending on the cause of the issue and the cost of replacement parts.
Simple fixes, such as cleaning the coils or replacing the fan blade, may only cost a few dollars. However, more challenging repairs, such as replacing the motor or wiring, could cost several hundred dollars.
Can a Broken Refrigerator Fan Damage the Fridge?
Yes, a broken refrigerator fan can cause damage to the fridge. If the fan is not working correctly, the fridge may not cool properly, which can cause the compressor to overheat and fail.
This issue can lead to future costly repairs or even having to replace the fridge entirely.
How Often Should I Check My Refrigerator Fan?
It’s a good idea to check your refrigerator fan regularly, at least once every few months. This step can help you detect any issues early and prevent more significant problems from occurring.
Additionally, keeping your fridge clean and debris-free can help avoid issues with the fan and other components.