Kenmore Refrigerator Troubleshooting Not Cooling! (10 Fixes!)

Frankly, a Kenmore refrigerator that won’t cool is as good as dead. You, however, don’t have to give up on it as you can fix it, and that’s where this Kenmore refrigerator troubleshooting not cooling guide comes in.

A Kenmore refrigerator won’t cool due to filthy condenser coils, food overstuffing, a frosted evaporator fan, leaky door, an obstructed or faulty condenser fan motor, or a defective thermostat, start capacitor, thermistor, compressor, temperature control board, or main control. 

We’ll look at how these issues can fail your Kenmore refrigerator cooling function and how you can fix them. We’ll also examine why your Kenmore fridge will fail to cool but freezes, why it’ll not cool immediately after a power outage, and what to do in such events.

Here we go! 

Kenmore refrigerator troubleshooting not cooling

In a hurry? See below a quick guide for troubleshooting your non-cooling Kenmore refrigerator.

Quick Kenmore Refrigerator Troubleshooting Not Cooling Guide

  Probable Cause Fix 
1. Dirty/Dusty Condenser Coils Use an effective condenser cleaning brush to clean the condenser coils if they are dirty/dusty
2. Food Overstuffing  Don’t overfill your fridge with food. Ensure there’s enough air circulation without understocking it
3. Frosted Evaporator Fan  Test the evaporator fan with a multimeter and replace it if it fails the test
4. Leaky Door Close the fridge door all the way but if the gasket is worn out or loose, replace it
5. Obstructed Or Faulty Condenser Fan Motor Remove the obstruction around the condenser fan motor but replace the fan motor if it’s faulty
6. Defective Temperature Control Thermostat Replace the temperature control thermostat if it fails the multimeter tester continuity test
7. Defective Start Capacitor Also, replace the start capacity if it won’t pass the multimeter tester’s continuity test
8. Faulty Thermistor Test the thermistor with a multimeter and if it shows no continuity, replace it
9. Faulty Compressor Replace the compressor if it’s faulty
10. Malfunctioning Temperature Control Board Change the temperature control board if it’s malfunctioning (you’ll need expert help here)
11. Failed Main Control Board Change the main control board if nothing is wrong with the other fridge parts

How to Fix Kenmore Refrigerator Not Cooling?

Discussed below are 11 reasons why a Kenmore refrigerator won’t cool, plus how you can fix the unit:

1. Condenser Coils Could Be Filthy/Dirty

Heat dissipation is essential for a refrigerator to cool your food and drink. One component that’s critical in dissipating heat in a Kenmore fridge is the condenser coil.

Sadly, the condenser coils become dirty and dusty over time, and when they do, they cannot dissipate heat.

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Inspect your unit’s condenser coils and clean them if dirty/dusty. You can use a flexible refrigerator coil cleaning brush.

Kenmore refrigerator not cooling but freezer is fine

2. The Fridge Could Be Overstuffed with Food

Putting too much food in the fridge blocks the air vents and prevents the cool air from circulating correctly. So, the refrigerator won’t be able to cool properly.


Examine your food load and reduce the amount if the fridge unit is overfilled. Also, avoid stacking containers close to one another to improve cold air circulation.

3. The Evaporator Fan Motor Could Be Frosted Over

The evaporator fan is essential in drawing air over and throughout the evaporator coils. The coil, in turn, helps to cool your refrigerator and freezer. But over time, the evaporator fan motor becomes iced, unable to dissipate cool air over the coils. 


Test the evaporator fan motor by turning it by hand. If it doesn’t, and it looks icy, test it with a multimeter tester and if it shows no continuity, replace it. But if it does, blow dry it to get rid of ice and adjust the fridge temperature.

4. The Fridge Door Might Be Leaking Air

If you don’t close the fridge door all the way, it’ll allow warm air in, and cold air will leak out, preventing the fridge from cooling. Likewise, if the door gasket/seal is loose or worn out, the door won’t shut properly and will therefore leak.


Close the fridge door correctly and replace the door gasket if it’s old or loose.

5. The Condenser Fan Motor Might Be Obstructed or Faulty

The condenser fan motor helps to draw in air and circulate it around the fridge. So, fundamentally, it helps to keep your refrigerator cool.

It can, however, become obstructed by ice or dirty or fail. And if that’s the case, it won’t cool the fridge. 


Inspect the condenser fan motor for possible dirt or ice obstruction and clear the block if present. If there’s no obstruction, use a multimeter to test the fan motor for continuity. If it fails the test, replace it.

6. The Temperature Control Thermostat Could Be Malfunctioning

The temperature control thermostat is pivotal in supplying the fan motors and the unit’s compressor with the necessary voltage to run.

For cooling to occur, the compressor and the two fan motors (evaporator and condenser fan motor) must work. So, their failure means no cooling.

Kenmore bottom freezer refrigerator not cooling


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Test the temperature control thermostat with a multimeter and replace it if it shows no continuity.

7. The Start Capacitor Might Be Defective

The start relay has to be functional for the compressor to run. If it’s faulty, the compressor will fail, and the fridge won’t cool the food supplies.


Use a multimeter to examine the start relay for fault. If the start relay doesn’t show continuity, consider replacing it. It’s likely to be faulty.

8. The Thermistor Could Be Faulty

The job of the thermistor is to monitor the Kenmore fridge temperature and relay the information to the main control board. The control board, in turn, enables the evaporator fan motor and the compressor to run and cool the unit.

So, if the thermistor is faulty, all that won’t occur, and there won’t be any cooling. 


Using a multimeter, test the thermistor’s continuity. If it shows no continuity, replace it.

9. The Compressor Might Be faulty

The compressor compresses the unit’s refrigerant and redistributes it across the coils. The condenser and evaporator coils won’t cool the fridge unit if it fails.

However, it’s worth noting that the compressor doesn’t fail often. So, it should be one of the last things to check. (


Use a multimeter to test the pin terminals on the compressor. If the pins don’t show continuity, the compressor is faulty. So consider replacing it.

10. The Temperature Control Board Could Be malfunctioning

The temperature control board, like the temperature control thermostat, passes the necessary voltage to the fan motors and compressor.

If it’s faulty, the control board will misdiagnose the voltage information, causing the fan motors and compressor to fail. 

how to fix Kenmore refrigerator not cooling


Have an expert examine the temperature control board for faults and replace it if it’s malfunctioning.

11. The Main Control Board Might Have Failed

Lastly, your last resort is the main control if the problem is none of the above 10. The problem with a faulty main control board is that it fails the cooling unit and the Kenmore refrigerator ice maker, dispenser, and other parts.


If other parts plus the cooling unit are not working, the main control board could be faulty and need a replacement.

My Kenmore Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is Fine

Sometimes, a Kenmore refrigerator won’t cool while its freezer is fine. That often happens due to these reasons:

  • Faulty evaporator fan motor – A defective evaporator fan motor could cause the fridge to fail without affecting the freezer. So, test it with a multimeter and then replace it if it’s faulty.
  • Fridge overload – If it’s only the fridge overloaded with food and not the freezer, the freezer will work fine while the refrigerator won’t cool. In such a case, reduce the food to create more room for cold air circulation.
  • Excessive Frosting – If the refrigerator compartment is as cold as the freezer, frost will form over the evaporator coils, making them unable to cool the fridge. If so, you need to adjust the fridge temperature and allow the unit to dethaw by unplugging it.
  • Defective defrost component – If the defrost timer, thermostat, or control board is bad, the fridge won’t cool until you replace the faulty part.
  • Stuck damper control – If the damper control is stuck, it won’t be able to allow cool air to stay in the refrigerator, and so the fridge won’t cool. You’ll need to unstick it if that’s the case.
  • Door leak – Ensure you close the fridge door properly and replace the door seal if it’s loose or broken. It could be the reason the unit won’t cool.
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Kenmore Refrigerator Not Cooling After Power Failure

If your Kenmore refrigerator is not cooling after a power failure, it’s more likely that the circuit breaker has tripped. So, you need to look at it and fix it.

After that, consider resetting the fridge using these steps:

  • Identify the ultra-ice and home switches inside your fridge door and press them at the same time
  • Hold the pair of buttons for about 5 seconds until the controls go off
  • Unplug the refrigerator for about 2 minutes, and then plug it in

Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling Error Code

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator won’t cool and show the error code immediately after a power failure, the chances are that something got burnt.

So, you may need to inspect the temperature control thermostat, the fans, and the compressor as they are the most susceptible to an electrical fault. If any is faulty, replace it.

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling error code

People Also Ask

1. Why Isn’t My Kenmore Fridge Getting Cold?

Your Kenmore fridge is not getting cold because the condenser coils are filthy, the refrigerator is stuffy, the evaporator fan motor is ice-covered, or due to a faulty thermostat, compressor, thermistor, or leaky door.

2. Why Is My Fridge Running But Not Getting Cold?

If your fridge is running but not getting cold, the problem is not the compressor, the motor, or the main control. It’s probably the condenser coils that are too dirty, a faulty thermostat, start relay, or defrost timer, or a leaky door.

3. Why is my Kenmore Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Not Cooling?

Your Kenmore bottom freezer refrigerator won’t cool because the condenser coils are dusty, the evaporator coils are frosty, or the fridge is overloaded with food. Also, check the condition of the thermistor, start relay, start capacitor, and thermostats as one could be faulty.

4. Why Is My Kenmore Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Works?

Suppose your Kenmore refrigerator won’t cool, but there’s nothing wrong with the freezer. It could be due to a fridge overload, leaky door, excessive frosting, stuck damper control, or a defective defrost system.

Closing Thought On Kenmore Refrigerator Troubleshooting Not Cooling!

Generally, it’s worth checking the possibility of a leaky fridge, dirty condenser coils, food overload, and frosty evaporator fan when your Kenmore refrigerator won’t cool.

If that’s not it, then something could be faulty. That includes the thermistor, compressor temperature control thermostat, start relay, start capacitor, and main control.

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