Kenmore refrigerators may eventually experience cooling issues after a few years of usage. Many users have claimed they’ve faced the same cooling problem on their refrigerators. So, if you’re facing the “Kenmore refrigerator not cooling” issue, don’t panic! Here’s a list of proven solutions that you can use to resolve 80% of “Kenmore refrigerator not cooling” issues in no time. So, make sure you have a screwdriver before trying out the proven fixes.
Kenmore Refrigerator Not Cooling
If the Kenmore fridge not cooling, it could be due to a dirty condenser coil that needs to be cleaned. The coil is responsible for exchanging the outside hot air for the inside cold air in the fridge. If the condenser coil is blocked in any way, your refrigerator will stop cooling properly.
So, before you head out and find a professional to fix the cooling issue, here is a list of everyday things you should check to fix the problem yourself.
1. Disconnect Refrigerator and Inspect the Wall Outlet
First, disconnect your Kenmore refrigerator and plug another small appliance into the same outlet to check if it’s working. If it is not, open the circuit breaker box and check if the connection is tripped.
If it’s working, leave the refrigerator unplugged for 2-3 minutes and then plug it back in. This will allow your refrigerator to soft reset itself and resolve the cooling issue.
When you’re plugging the fridge back in, make sure to keep 1 inch of clearance between the back of your refrigerator and the wall. This ensures proper airflow and avoids overheating issues.
2. Inspect Temperature Control Settings
Another thing to check on your refrigerator is its temperature control settings.
Many users have resolved cooling issues by turning down the temperature control settings on their Kenmore refrigerators.
Sometimes these settings may get altered accidentally by you or a kid playing with the buttons. So, if your fridge runs at a high temperature, it’ll not cool properly.
Remember, running a fridge with the wrong temperature settings will impact its overall lifespan, along with the ice maker and freezer.
Each Kenmore refrigerator model comes with a different temperature control setting. You can use the Kenmore user manual to adjust it as per your model.
3. Inspect Freezer and Refrigerator Doors
Sometimes, large trays or containers can keep the doors from closing fully. So, make sure that both fridge doors are closed tightly and not blocked in any way.
Meanwhile, check the door gaskets for breakage, as this helps prevent the cool air from escaping and sealing them inside.
If a gasket comes out, push it back into place using your hand.
4. Clean the Condenser Coil
Once you confirm the temperature settings are correct, the outlet is working, and the door gaskets are snugged back in, go ahead and disconnect your fridge and push it away from the wall.
Remember, some of the following solutions will require you to troubleshoot your refrigerator while it’s plugged in.
While your fridge is disconnected, inspect the vent at the back for obstruction. Make sure there’s no physical obstruction blocking the condenser coil from exchanging the air.
The vent sucks fresh air to cool down the condenser system of the fridge. Over time, the vent can accumulate dust and debris, which further blocks it from exchanging air.
Most often, the culprit behind the “Kenmore refrigerator not cooling” issue is a blocked vent. Once you clean the vent, unscrew the back vent plate and take it off.
After removing the vent plate, you’ll see the condenser coil. As discussed earlier, it’s responsible for exchanging the outside heat for inside cold air. If you notice your condenser is blocked like the one below, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly.
A blocked condenser coil can prevent your refrigerator from cooling properly. You may still get some cold air, but not enough to keep items cool inside your fridge.
To clean condenser coils, you will need a vacuum cleaner and a condenser brush. A condenser brush can make it easier to clean, and if you don’t have one, you can use any brush.
Remove all the dust and debris clogged up on the condenser coil, and suck it all out using the vacuum. A clean condenser coil ensures a better exchange of hot air for cold.
Also, the position of the condenser coils may be at the front of your refrigerator (beneath the kick-plate), or they may be entirely at the back, depending upon the Kenmore model you own. So, make sure to clean the back as well as the front of your refrigerator.
Once you’ve removed all the dust and debris, it’s time for you to replug your refrigerator. Hopefully, it should resolve the cooling issue.
It’s recommended to follow this cleaning process twice a year to ensure better refrigerator performance.
5. Make Sure the Condenser Fan Is Working
If cleaning the condenser coil didn’t do the trick, it’s time for you to dig deeper to find the actual cause. It’s a good idea to start with the condenser fan.
The condenser fan is placed between the condenser coils and the compressor. It is responsible for circulating the fresh air and cooling down the compressor and the coils.
If the fan breaks down, it’ll cause your refrigerator to stop cooling, just like in the case of clogged-up vents or dirty coils.
So, check the condenser fan carefully and ensure it’s clean and working well. If you notice extreme rusting or damage, then it’s time to replace it with a new one.
When your fridge is powered on, the condenser fan should turn on automatically and must stay on all the time. If it doesn’t, then this is the culprit behind your Kenmore cooling issue.
6. Inspect the Compressor Relay
The next thing you should check is the compressor relay.
While your refrigerator is turned on, feel the compressor with your hand and check if it’s operating. The unit has a motor responsible for maintaining the temperature inside the refrigerator.
If you don’t hear any buzzing or feel any movement of any kind, you may have a faulty compressor relay.
To check if you’ve got a faulty compressor relay, disconnect your fridge from the power source and reconnect it again. Now, listen closely to the sound of your compressor. If it “turns on” and then “turns off” quickly, it’s possible that you’ve got a broken relay.
Now, disconnect your refrigerator and then carefully remove the compressor relay. Once you take it out, give it a good shake.
If it makes a rattling sound, the relay may be broken. In case, if tiny pieces start falling out while you shake it, it’s in worse condition.
In case, you don’t find trouble until now, then take a multimeter to check if it’s in good condition to continue. The multimeter doesn’t show any readings, it’s likely that the contacts are broken, and the relay needs to be replaced.
7. Inspect the Evaporator
At this point, you’ve checked everything there is at the back of your refrigerator. If you’re still experiencing the “Kenmore refrigerator not cooling” issue, it’s time to inspect the front of your fridge.
Before that, here’s a short note on fridge evaporators.
Single vs. Dual Evaporators
Evaporators are responsible for making the refrigerator cold.
In traditional or older refrigerators, there’s only one evaporator in the freezer. The fan will blow the cool air produced in the freezer through the evaporator into the major refrigeration part of the fridge.
Nowadays, newer refrigerator models comes with “dual evaporators”—one evaporator in the refrigerator and the second in the freezer.
Kenmore calls its “dual evaporator” technology the “GeniusCool.” Dual evaporators are more efficient in managing the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer environments.
Depending on the Kenmore fridge you own, it may have a single or dual evaporator.
Single Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
If your refrigerator has one evaporator, make sure to unplug your refrigerator and then try opening the freezer.
First, take all the shelves and items out of your freezer, then start unscrewing the screws securing the evaporator panel covering the coils at its back. These evaporator coils are responsible for managing the temperature inside the fridge.
If you notice ice or snow building up on the coils or on its back, you need to check the defrost thermostat above the evaporator coils.
Here’s what a defrost thermostat looks like, as it’s often hidden on these kinds of refrigerators.
If the top of the thermostat is expanded, it means you have a faulty defrost thermostat, and it needs to be replaced.
If the thermostat is in good shape, then you can test it at 30 degrees for continuity. We know it’s a little tricky, so it’s best to call an expert for further assistance.
If there’s nothing wrong with the thermostat, then you need to inspect the defrost heater.
The defrost heater is underneath the freezer, right below the evaporator coils. It is responsible for thawing out the snow or ice that builds up on the evaporator coils every few hours.
If it’s not working, your evaporator coils will continue to accumulate ice and stay that way.
In some Kenmore refrigerator models, it’s pretty tricky to test the defrost heater for continuity, so it’s best for you to remove it altogether.
After removing it, take a multimeter, configure it to Ohms resistance, and check if it receives an electric signal. For continuity, you should at least get a reading of 25–40 Ohms.
Dual Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
If you own a dual evaporator refrigerator, you should inspect the evaporator in your refrigerator instead of the freezer since the Kenmore fridge is not cooling, but the light is on.
First, unplug your refrigerator, and then open the fridge doors.
Now, take all the drawers and shelves out of your fridge, followed by unscrewing all the screws securing the evaporator board to the back of your refrigerator. It helps cover the refrigerator evaporator coils at the back.
These evaporator coils are necessary for cooling down the entire refrigerator system.
You’ll locate the defrost heater below these evaporator coils (if it’s difficult for you to find it, look for a black cord running right below the coils).
The defrost thermostat is responsible for thawing out the ice buildup over the coils every few hours. If you notice ice or snow buildup on the coils or the back panel, you probably want it to melt away.
If you accidentally leave the fridge door open, it can pull in excess moisture from the environment. As a result, condensation takes place, and ice starts to build up on these coils.
Once you let everything thaw out, connect your refrigerator again and check if it resolves the Kenmore fridge cooling problem. Hopefully, it will start to cool down.
If it’s not, you probably have a faulty defrost heater that needs to be changed, or the evaporator fan is not working properly.
8. Inspect the Evaporator Fan
If your kitchen refrigerator not cooling after coming this far, then it’s time for you to inspect the evaporator fan.
The evaporator fan is responsible for circulating airflow throughout the freezer or refrigerator. It takes the cool air from the evaporator coils and then emits it into the refrigerator. If it’s not working, your fridge may feel a little chilly but not as cold as it needs to be.
The fastest way to check it is to hear the sound.
Note: The older, more traditional Kenmore refrigerator models have one evaporator fan placed inside the freezer. However, newer Kenmore refrigerators have two evaporator fans: one in the freezer and the second in the fridge.
Single Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
If you have an older model, try removing the lights mounted on the freezer side and looking through the casing to check whether the evaporator fan is working or not.
If you want a closer look, then you’ll have to take out the entire system. Even if it’s not complicated, like in the case of a defrost heater, it does require some patience.
Once you’ve got a good look at the fan, check if it powers on. If it doesn’t work, it could be due to two reasons:
- Some obstructions (like ice buildup)
- Or you’ve got a faulty fan
If you suspect the door fan is not working, see if the door button helps start and stop the fan properly. The door button is pressed when the fridge door is closed (it’s also responsible for turning the light on and off).
Press and hold the button with your hand and see if the evaporator fan turns on.
You can also use a multimeter to check the fan’s voltage; make sure it’s between 8 and 14 volts. If the fan is not getting enough voltage, it’s likely that you have a faulty control board.
Dual Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
If you own a dual evaporator refrigerator, you should inspect the evaporator fan in your refrigerator instead of the freezer since the Kenmore refrigerator not cooling.
To check whether the evaporator fan is running or not, make sure to keep a small portion of the evaporator tray open so that you can have a good look at the fan. Now, close the fridge doors and wait for a whole two minutes.
Once the time is up, open the doors quickly, and you should find this fan still running for a couple of seconds. If it’s not running, you probably have a faulty fan.
9. Inspect the defrost drain
If you’ve come this far, you know that the evaporator coils in your refrigerator are responsible for cooling down the entire system. And often, these coils are defrosted to avoid ice buildup over the years.
When these coils are defrosted (melting the built-up ice), water accumulates in the defrost drain.
This water is supposed to be drained, but sometimes, the defrost drain can get clogged up, causing it to accumulate more water over time.
When this happens, your refrigerator starts to freeze the excess water during the next “frost cycle,” making it harder for the defrost heater to melt extra ice. If you have a Kenmore fridge cooling problem, it’s probably due to excessive ice buildup in the fridge.
To resolve this problem, it’s best to let your fridge thaw everything out and then unclog the blocked drain. Sometimes, dust and debris can build up over time in the drain.
Or, you can use a turkey baster to unblock the drain.
Single Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
If you own an older Kenmore model with a single evaporator, you’ll find the defrost drain under the freezer, right under the evaporator coils.
Dual Evaporator Kenmore Refrigerators
In newer Kenmore models with dual evaporators, the defrost drain is located under the evaporator coils.
However, the position might vary from one model to another. In some models, the defrost drain might look like the image below. The defrost heater is covered with an aluminum piece at the bottom, which goes straight down the drain.
The aluminum keeps the defrost drain from freezing up by producing heat. That way, the drain won’t clog up.
10. Check the Temperature Control Thermostat
The temperature control thermostat is responsible for providing voltage to the condenser fan motor, evaporator fan motor, and compressor. If it stops running, the temperature control thermostat will prevent the refrigeration system from working.
To check if the thermostat is faulty, try rotating the thermostat from the lowest temperature to the highest temperature. While you rotate the thermostat, listen closely to the thermostat clicking. The thermostat will make a clicking sound in normal conditions.
In case, the temperature control thermostat doesn’t work, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If you don’t get any readings, replace it with a new thermostat.
11. Inspect the Start Capacitor
The start capacitor is responsible for providing a power boost to help the compressor start up. If it’s not working, the compressor may not start, leaving your fridge with no cool air. Use a multimeter to determine whether you have a defective one or not. If it’s bad, replace it with a new one.
12. Check the Temperature Control Board
The temperature control board directs voltage to the fan motors and the compressor. If it malfunctions, the temperature control board will stop providing voltage to the refrigeration system. However, it’s not a common problem.
Sometimes control boards are misdiagnosed, so before replacing them with a new one, test every component discussed above. If you don’t find any faulty parts, consider installing a new temperature control board.
13. Check the Thermistor
The thermistor is responsible for monitoring the fridge temperature and sending the data to the control board. Then, the control board manages the power to the evaporator fan and compressor based on the thermistor data.
If it malfunctions, the evaporator fan and compressor may not work when necessary, causing your refrigerator to stop cooling.
Check the readings with a multimeter to determine if the thermistor is defective. The thermistor resistance should alter in relation to the fridge temperature. If it doesn’t change or you don’t get any readings, replace it with a new thermistor.
How to Order Kenmore Refrigerator Replacement Parts
Once you’ve discovered the culprit behind the Kenmore refrigerator cooling problem, you’ll probably want a replacement for a defective or bad part.
So, open the fridge doors and look for a sticker on the side wall. It’ll include all the information regarding your appliance.
First, note down the model number of your Kenmore refrigerator.
Then, enter the number into the search bar of Sears Parts Direct and find the exact replacement part you want.
Kenmore Refrigerator User Manual
Once you’ve got the Kenmore fridge model number, you can enter it on the official website of Kenmore and download the user manual for your fridge. Scroll down to “More information” and click on “User Manual.”
The user guide will have additional troubleshooting methods specific to your refrigerator. You can also try them in addition to what I’ve mentioned here.
If you’ve tried every method listed above and still wonder “why my Kenmore refrigerator is not cooling,” It’s probably due to a broken sensor, compressor, or a bad control board in your refrigerator.
So, it’s best to contact the Kenmore support team for further assistance, as their trained professionals can resolve the issue in no time.
You can contact them at 1 (844) 553-6667.Or you can schedule an appointment with a certified professional online to visit your home. If your refrigerator is covered under warranty, you won’t have to pay an extra dime for the repair.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the Kenmore refrigerator not cooling, there may be something stuck inside the condenser fan motor blade, or you may have a faulty condenser fan motor. The condenser fan circulates the air to cool down the condenser coils. The condenser fan motor is placed at the back of the refrigerator.
> First, unplug your Kenmore refrigerator from its power source.
> Turn down the freezer and refrigerator from the control panel.
> Reset the fridge and freezer temperature settings.
> Now, wait for the fridge temperature to stabilize.
If you hear the compressor running but the refrigerator not cooling, you may have a broken evaporator fan, something stuck in between them, or frost-clogged evaporator coils. Evaporator fans often chirp or squeal when they become faulty or broken.
Unfortunately, the Kenmore refrigerator does not have a reset button, only a power button that controls the compressor.
> The compressor starts making a loud or unusual noise while running.
> The fridge is not cooling.
> Your electricity bills are too high.
> The compressor powers on and off too frequently.
> The compressor shuts off prematurely.
> The compressor starts to overheat.
If the Kenmore refrigerator not cooling, here’s what you should do:
- Make sure the wall outlet is working
- Disconnect your refrigerator and wait for a whole 2 minutes before connecting it back
- Lower the fridge temperature settings
- Make sure the freezer and refrigerator doors are closed tightly
- Thoroughly clean the condenser coils and vent
- Ensure the condenser fan is running
- See if the compressor relay has failed
- Ensure the defrost heater is running
- Confirm the defrost thermostat is running
- See if the evaporator fan is running
- Unblock the defrost drain
- Check the Temperature Control Thermostat
- Inspect the Start Capacitor
- Check the Temperature Control Board
- Check the Thermistor
Once you find the culprit behind the cooling issues on your refrigerator, order the exact replacement part to get your appliances back up and running.
If none of the solutions worked for you, it’s best to contact a professional technician to repair your fridge.
Were you able to resolve the cooling issue on your Kenmore refrigerator? Please share what worked for you in the comments below!