Logically, a tipped-over circuit breaker and an unplugged power cord are the first suspects when your refrigerator doesn’t power on. But what if your refrigerator light comes on but nothing else?
If your refrigerator light turns on but nothing else, lower the freezer temperature as it could be too high to prevent the compressor from kicking on. Also, create enough clearance around the unit as the air circulation may not be enough, and inspect the condenser coils as they could be dirty.
Nonetheless, don’t forget to check the temperature controller, defrost button/timer, and the compressor again as one could be faulty. Well, that’s the quick scan when your fridge powers on but shows no signs of life.
Note, however, that there could be another underlying issue that’s making your fridge behave the way it does. The secret is to pinpoint the exact problem, and that’s where this troubleshooting guide comes in handy.
Basic Diagnostic When the Refrigerator Light Comes On But Nothing Else
While your fridge may stop working for different reasons and still maintain the light on, in most cases, the reasons are things you least expect. Below is a summary of basic troubleshooting checks you should go through before getting into the technical.
|1.||Abnormally high freezer temperature||Adjust the freezer temperature|
|2.||Faulty temperature controller (thermostat)||Test for fault using a multimeter and replace the thermostat if faulty|
|3.||Overheated compressor||Replace the overheated compressor|
|4.||Stuck defrost button/ defrost timer||Unstuck the defrost button|
|5.||Dirt-caked condenser coils||Clean the condenser coils|
|6.||Insufficient airflow||Create more clearance around the fridge|
Why Your Refrigerator Light Is On But Not Running
So, you’ve checked the power cord, and it seems to be plugged in, and nothing is wrong with the ice breaker or the electric outlet.
But still, the only thing you can get is the lights blinking but no noise and nothing else. If that’s the case, then you should consider these six issues and address them quickly:
1. Abnormally High Freezer Temperature
The freezer should run at a low temperature and not a high one. If you set the freezer temperature too high, you could paralyze the entire unit, rendering it unresponsive.
The high temperature prevents the compressor from kicking in, and since the compressor is among the most critical parts of the fridge, the entire unit goes to slumber.
Start by switching the fridge off and disconnecting it from the electric socket. After that, locate the temperature setting control knob in the fridge and adjust it to lower the freezer temperature.
Once you do, plug the unit back and try powering it to see if the compressor kick starts or not.
If not, the reason might be the compressor itself or the temperature controller, which could be faulty.
2. Faulty Temperature Controller (Thermostat)
Sometimes, your fridge can’t run despite glaring the light because of a faulty temperature controller, otherwise known as the thermostat.
The thermostat allows you to readjust the unit temperature and control essential components such as the compressor, evaporator, and condenser. Once set accordingly, it activates the running of these three components, which sets the whole unit up to running.
But what if the thermostat is faulty? Then, it’ll send the wrong readings to the three components, or worse, it may record nothing, resulting in the fridge not running.
You can check the condition of your fridge thermostat using a multimeter Once you have the multimeter, follow these steps:
- Turn the thermostat counterclockwise till you get to zero
- Touch the Ohmmeters probe to each of the thermostat’s two terminals and watch the meter reading
- If the meter is showing some reading (which shouldn’t be the case at the position the dial is), the thermostat is faulty
- If there’s no reading, then the thermostat is okay
If the thermostat is defective, you need to replace it with a matching choice.
3. Overheated Compressor
If the temperature controller is okay but the fridge just won’t cool, you should look at the condition of the compressor. The compressor could be overheated, and you can tell that from any of these signs:
- The compressor quality clicks on and goes off – Which indicates the compressor overload. We are talking about not cleaning the compressor and power issues.
- The compressor fan won’t run – If the compressor’s fan cannot run, the entire compressor becomes non-operational. A compressor will most likely overheat if its fan is defective.
If the compressor is faulty, you should have a professional replace it. The process is a little intensive and riskier for DIY enthusiasts, given that most compressors cost almost the same price as a new fridge unit.
Furthermore, there’s the aspect of compatibility, where you need to get a compressor that matches your model.
4. Stuck Defrost Button or Timer
If you have an older fridge, the chances are that it has a manual defrosting button that allows you to set it in defrost mode.
Sometimes, the button gets stuck in the unit’s defrost mode, interfering with its startup. And if you have a newer model, you’ll find an automatic defrost timer instead of a defrost button.
If you have an older fridge, check the condition of the defrost button. It’s stuck; try pulling it out before powering the refrigerator on. But if you have a modern fridge, you should have an expert check the condition of the automatic defrost timer.
5. Dirt-Caked Condenser Coils
The other vital component to look into quickly is the condenser coils. You’ll find these coils at the back of your fridge, and their job is to dissipate heat.
Their biggest issue is that they require regular cleaning as they accumulate dirt much quicker. Too much dirt caking around the condenser coils could paralyze its operation and cause the fridge to not cool.
It’s essential to check the condition of the condenser coils and clean them properly. You can use a soft brush like the Vanitek Dryer Vent Cleaner Brush.
This long fridge coil cleaning brush allows you to reach every part of the condenser coils to get rid of dirt and dust.
6. Insufficient Airflow
Good air circulation is essential for the running of the refrigerator. If there is not enough clearance around your fridge, the compressor will likely overheat, shutting down the unit even though the light may be on.
In most cases, this occurs when you put the fridge on a 3-corner wall with low ceilings. Such a position does not facilitate proper air circulation, which means the compressor may overheat.
There must be enough space, 3 inches or more, at the back of your fridge. Similarly, there should be at least one-inch clearance at the top. Doing so will facilitate good airflow, preventing the compressor from failing.
More On a Refridgerator Whose Light Comes On But Nothing Else
1. LG Fridge Not Cooling But Light Is On
If your LG fridge lights are on, but the unit is not cooling, the compressor, evaporator, fan, condenser coil, or the temperature controller (thermostat) might be faulty. So, check each of these parts to identify and fix the faulty one.
2. GE Refrigerator Light Comes On But Nothing Else
Your GE fridge hugely depends on the optimal performance of the compressor, condenser, thermostat, and evaporator fan for its kicking on. If one of these parts is faulty, the fridge will only light up but nothing else.
3. Frigidaire Refrigerator Light Comes On But Nothing Else
Consider checking the condition of the compressor, evaporator, or temperature controller. If any of these is faulty, your Frigidaire fridge will only light up but nothing else. The same can also happen if the condenser coils are dirty.
4. Whirlpool Refrigerator Light Comes On But Nothing Else
A whirlpool refrigerators light may come on, but the unit may fail to cool or produce any sound if the compressor, temperature controller, or evaporator is faulty or the condenser coils are dirt-caked.
5. Fridge Light On But Compressor Not Running
If your fridge light is on but the compressor is not running, the chances are that your compressor is faulty. But still, the temperature controller which controls the compressor and other components might be defective and need a replacement.
6. Fridge Not Making Noise But Light On
If your fridge light is on, but the unit doesn’t make any noise to show that it’s running, the problem is mostly the compressor.
It could be that the compressor has overheated or dirt-caked, thus ineffective. It could also be that the compressor is not receiving the correct information from the temperature controller because the temperature controller is defective or set improperly.
So, while it’s essential to check the condition of the compressor, you should check the state of the temperature controller (the thermostat) and replace what’s faulty.
7. Why Is My Fridge Light On But Not Cold?
If your fridge is on, but it’s not cooling, it could be because of any of these reasons:
- Faulty temperature controller – The temperature controller (thermostat) could be defective, thus affecting the performance of the compressor, evaporator, and condenser coils.
- Poor airflow – It might be that your fridge is in a confirmed space which limits air circulation. In such a case, consider moving the unit away at least 3 inches from the wall and leave at least one inch at the top.
- Dirty condenser coils – If the condenser coils aren’t clean, they could stop the fridge from running. So, check their states and clean them properly before powering the unit on.
- Overheated Compressor – The compressor could have overheated, thus unable to power on. If the compressor is dead, the fridge is as good as dead. The only silver lining is that you can replace it.
- Defective evaporator fan – Check the evaporator fan to see if it turns correctly. If it doesn’t, then the fridge won’t cool.
- Stuck Defrost Button or Timer – Check the defrost button on your old model or defrost timer on your newer model. The fridge won’t cool if it’s stuck in its default mode. In fact, it won’t run, but it’ll only display the lights.
Concluding Thought on a Refrigerator Whose Light Comes On But Doesn’t Run:
Now you know what to look at first when the refrigerator light comes on but nothing else. As discussed, checking the condition of the temperature controller, compressor, condenser coils, and defrost timer/button is essential.
However, don’t forget to create enough clearance around your fridge and lower the freezer’s temperature if it’s set too high.