Whirlpool is one of the most popular refrigerator manufacturers, and for a good reason. They are industry leaders in making modern, aesthetic, and functional refrigerators.
While these fridges receive overwhelmingly positive reviews from owners, they do run into a few issues that you may need to contend with at some point. And one of the most common problems people run into is that their fridge will stop cooling.
This is a pretty serious issue as you’re now having to deal with spoiling food and water leaks as the freezer defrosts.
So in this article, we’ll clearly and concisely outline what causes this problem and share every method you need to restore your fridge to working order.
Why is your Whirlpool Refrigerator Not Cooling?
While occasionally, this problem can be caused by a component failure or electrical problem, more often than not, it’s a simple user error or a bit of neglected maintenance.
With some general upkeep, cleaning, and tweaking, we can get it back to full working order in no time.
1. The Condenser Coil is Clogged Up
The condenser coil is a series of tubes located at the back of the fridge. The compressor will pump the refrigerant through these refrigerator coils, where they will then condense and expel the heat between the coils.
However, because of how these refrigerator coils are laid out they tend to accumulate dust and get clogged up with dirt and hair. This acts as an insulator and lowers the coil’s ability to dissipate heat.
You can often tell if the coils are blocked as you may hear the compressor working extra hard because it’s struggling to lower the temperature.
By cleaning these coils out, we can massively increase the cooling efficiency of the fridge.
2. There’s Too Much Food in the Fridge
While it’s always nice to buy food in bulk to save as much money as possible if you overload the fridge with products it can prevent the cold air from freely moving around the fridge.
Ensuring the fridge is not full to the brim will allow the cool air to reach all of the food and lower the overall temperature. This in turn also allows the compressor to turn on less frequency which also means it will produce less heat.
3. The Temperature is Set Too Low
All fridges have some kind of thermostat, whether it’s the old-style internal rotary dials or the more modern front panel menu temperature setting.
Sometimes in the winter, this temperature setting may need to be adjusted to accommodate for the colder weather, and it’s easy to forget to set it back once things warm up in the spring and summer.
We need to set the temperature to roughly 37 degrees F for the fridge and 0 degrees F for the freezer which will provide optimum performance.
4. The Fridge isn’t Level
Fridges rely a lot on gravity to function, from moving coolant through the fridge to the drip tray, when things aren’t level your fridge is going to struggle to keep things cool.
Fortunately, almost all fridges have legs on each corner that can be individually adjusted to get everything completely level.
5. The Condenser Fan isn’t Working
When the warm coolant passes through the condenser coils, the condenser fan will draw in air that passes through the condenser coils and out the other side, taking the heat with it.
So when the motor of the condenser fan fails the condenser coil can’t get rid of the heat. We need to restore this fan to working order before your fridge will cool properly.
6. The Thermistor is Not Working
Not to be confused with the temperature control thermostat, the thermistor is a small component that monitors the internal temperature of the fridge.
When the temperature drops below the designated level it sends a signal to the control board which in turn activates the compressor.
So when the thermistor runs into problems, the other components which allow the fridge to cool will not turn on.
7. A Thermostat Problem
While the thermistor is technically a part of the thermostat, the thermostat itself can also develop problems that prevent the cooling system from running as you will not be able to set a temperature.
We’ll need to test the temperature control thermostat for continuity using a multimeter and replace it if it’s not working.
8. The Start Relay Won’t Activate
The role of a start relay is to jump-start the refrigerator compressor once it’s been told it’s time to cool the fridge. These components can commonly burn out which means even if the thermostat is working, the refrigerator compressor physically cannot start up to cool everything.
Once again, this should be tested for continuity and replaced if needed.
9. A Door Seal Problem
The refrigerator door gasket around the fridge or freezer door is a very important part of the cooling system. They create an air-tight seal that stops the cold air from leaking out and warm air from coming in.
When these refrigerator door seals fail they will cause temperature fluctuations inside the fridge and affect its ability to cool.
We need to inspect the door gasket very carefully for damage or anything that might prevent it from making a complete seal.
10. The Compressor has Failed
The compressor is a very important part of the cooling system, it’s what physically circulates the refrigerant through the system. So when this runs into problems the fridge isn’t going to be able to cool.
While these can be serviced, it requires a skilled and knowledgeable Whirlpool technician. Because of this more often than not the entire compressor will just be replaced.
11. The Defrost Thermostat isn’t Working
As fridges deal with cooling so much, they can tend to get ‘too’ cold and start to freeze up. So fridges utilize a defrost thermostat to detect when things get too cold and it will then kick on the defrost heater which will just ensure that nothing freezes over.
When this is defective certain components may freeze which will prevent the fridge from cooling normally.
How to Fix a Whirlpool Refrigerator Not Cooling
Many of these problems can be fixed very quickly with some simple setting adjustments or even just re-arranging the fridge a bit.
However, sometimes a component may be failing which will require additional assistance from Whirlpool support as they will need to be replaced.
1. Unclog the Condenser Coils
When the evaporator coil is clogged up with dust and hair it will reduce the amount of heat that can be expelled from the fridge, so we need to get it cleaned out.
The good news is that this is an exceptionally easy process, we just need a brush and ideally a vacuum.
Pull the fridge out so you have access to the back and knock all the dust and debris out using a brush. Hold your vacuum hose nearby to suck everything up as you knock it loose to prevent it from making your kitchen dirty.
2. Empty the Fridge A Little
For optimal performance, the fridge should be no more than 75% full. This gives the cold air room to circulate and cool everything in the fridge.
Any items that don’t need to be refrigerated should be removed, if you have a cooler box to hand you can easily move things such as onions or eggs to it to help free up more room.
3. Increase the Temperature Setting
If it’s now summertime and the weather’s getting hotter, the fridge might not be able to cool itself. So we need to set the temperature lower to compensate.
On older models, you can access the thermostat inside the fridge. On more modern fridges with electronic display panels, you can adjust the temperature in the settings menu.
We’re aiming for 37 degrees F for the fridge, and 0 degrees F for the freezer, set accordingly.
4. Level the Fridge
To operate efficiently, the fridge needs to be level with the ground. To do this, use a spirit level to ascertain which corners of the fridge are too low.
Then you can adjust each of the corner legs individually to achieve the correct height.
5. The Condenser Fan isn’t Working
The condenser fan is vital for removing the dissipated heat between the condenser coils.
Firstly you should check the fan blades to make sure they aren’t being restricted by built-up hair and dirt.
If it looks good then the motor itself may have failed, in which case you should contact Whirlpool support to get assistance with replacing it.
6. The Thermistor is Not Working
If the thermistor has been tested with a multimeter and deemed non-functional it too will need to be replaced as these cannot be user-serviced.
Once again, you can contact Whirlpool support for assistance in having a new one installed.
7. Replace the Thermostat
An easy way to test the thermostat is to turn it to the coldest setting and listen for the click of the compressor turning on. If this doesn’t happen then the thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.
8. Install a New Start Relay
If the start relay has been tested with a multimeter and deemed defective, it too will just need to be replaced as there is no easy way to user-service this component.
9. Clean or Replace the Door Seal
Oftentimes when the door gasket has been compromised it’s due to a spillage of food that’s gotten stuck, which is preventing it from sitting flush against the Whirlpool fridge chassis.
Here you can just wipe the gasket down with an all-purpose cleaner to make sure there’s nothing that will impede that air-tight seal.
However, if there are significant cracks or gouges in the door gasket then you can just pull the old one out by hand and replace it with a new one.
10. Replace the Compressor
The compressor is a complicated component that is essential to the functionality of the Whirlpool fridge. If this fails then you will need to contact a technician to have it replaced for you as it cannot be easily user-services.
11. Fix the Defrost Thermostat
When the defrost thermostat is faulty, there is a risk of the water line and other components freezing up. So we need to fix this to keep the defrost cycle functioning normally.
You will need to contact Whirlpool support who will assist you with this process.