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Kenmore Fridge Not Working/Cooling

Kenmore fridges have developed style and have a number of great features, while still being an affordable option. Unfortunately, they still have their fair share of issues, including problems with cooling. If your Kenmore fridge is not working or cooling, this article provides a number of possible causes and how they can be fixed.

A Kenmore fridge will not work if heat from the fridge cannot be removed or if cold air cannot circulate freely through the compartments. Ice buildup, overfilling or dirty condenser coils can all be reversed, whereas a broken evaporator fan, condenser fan or compressor will need to be replaced.

Inside of the fridge

I will explain how each of these components affects the function of your fridge below, and how they can be fixed. Each Kenmore fridge also has a test mode, which I will discuss further down, that can help diagnose the issue.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cooling But Freezer Works

Freezer is Too Full

Cold air in your fridge and freezer circulates through vents. The freezer is always the compartment that is actively cooled down, and this cool air is then circulated throughout the rest of the unit into the fridge compartment. If you have overfilled your freezer, this air may not be able to circulate, resulting in a cold freezer, but a warm fridge.

Ice Buildup in the Freezer

Ice will build up over time due to warm moist air entering the compartments as you open the doors. This is inevitable, so your Kenmore fridge has a heating element that is designed to regularly defrost any excess ice.

Having ice build up around the evaporator fan or the circulation vents will prevent adequate airflow throughout the fridge. This ice will keep the freezer cold, but will prevent cool air entering the fridge compartment. If the ice is on the evaporator coils, this will prevent normal heat exchange through the evaporation process, warming up the unit.

If your heating element has broken, this will need to be repaired or replaced. However, sometimes ice can build up over extended periods of time and you will need to manually defrost the ice. Most Kenmore models will enter a manual defrost cycle by pressing the door switch five times within the space of two seconds.

If your model does not have this function, which should be outlined in your user’s manual, you can still defrost the fridge/freezer by transferring the food and unplugging the unit. Leave the fridge unplugged with the doors open, using towels to absorb excess water, until the ice is completely melted.

Evaporator Fan is Broken

Having a broken evaporator fan is another thing that will prevent the cool air from the freezer being circulated into the fridge. This is something that will need to be replaced.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cooling After Power Outage

man looking at the fridge

Check the Circuit Breaker

Immediately following a power outage, you should always check your circuit breaker. Large appliances are usually designed to trip the breaker under these circumstances in order to prevent electrical damage.

Simply flick the breaker back on for the circuit your fridge is on and wait for it to cool down. Your Kenmore fridge can take up to 24 hours to reach its ideal temperature. If it has not cooled down after this time following a power outage, there may be another issue.

Reset the Fridge

Step 1: Press and hold the ‘Home’ and ‘Ultra Ice’ buttons inside the fridge door.
Step 2: Hold these buttons until the controls turn off (approximately 5 seconds).
Step 3: Unplug the fridge from the power and wait a few minutes.
Step 4: Plug the fridge back in.

If you cannot find these buttons on your particular model, follow steps 2-4. Resetting your fridge will potentially clear any internal errors and allow it to restart normally.

Check for Damage

Unfortunately, if your fridge still does not work, there may be damage to the control board or to some of the internal wiring. These components will require repair or replacement by a service technician.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cooling Or Freezing

woman looking at the fridge


One of the common reasons your Kenmore fridge may not be cooling/freezing is the compressor is broken. The compressor circulates the refrigerant throughout the refrigerator by altering its pressure and turning it from a liquid into a gas. Without the circulation of refrigerant, your fridge and freezer will not be cooled down because the heat will not be transported away from the freezer compartment.

Condenser System

There are two key elements of the condenser system that could be causing your fridge to heat up. The condenser system consists of a condenser fan and the condenser coils. If the fan is broken, the heat radiating from the condenser coils will not be dissipated effectively, trapping it within the refrigerant.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 1, 2021.

In a similar way, if the condenser coils are dirty, the heat will not radiate effectively from the refrigerant within. A faulty compressor or condenser fan will need to be replaced, but dirty condenser coils can easily be cleaned using a dry brush and vacuum cleaner. These are located at the back of the fridge, at the bottom.


The thermostat or thermistor within the fridge is the device that monitors the temperature and relays this information back to the control board. If these components are broken, your Kenmore fridge will not be able to detect a rise in temperature and the control board will not initiate the cool down process. Unfortunately, this part will need to be replaced.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cooling And Beeping

woman looking at the fridge

A Kenmore fridge will beep if the door has been left open. If this is the case, you should be able to fix the beeping and cooling issue by closing the door firmly. However most of the time this is caused by a faulty door seal.

Check for any damage to the door seal or any obstructions, such as overfilled compartments or frost covering the seal. Even if the door appears to close and the light turns off, the seal may still be compromised, causing your fridge to warm up. You can solve this issue by replacing the seal.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cold Enough

woman looking at the fridge

If your Kenmore fridge is not cold enough, it is likely because of the reasons mentioned above. These can include the following.

  • Not enough circulation in the fridge (evaporator fan, ice buildup or overfilled fridge)
  • Evaporator coils are iced over
  • Condenser system is not working properly (dirty coils or broken fan)
  • Compressor is not working to circulate the refrigerant

Ice buildup and dirty condenser coils are usually easy to spot and to fix. However, in order to diagnose the other issues, you should enter test mode on your Kenmore fridge. This is usually done using the door switch. Within the space of two seconds, press the door switch three times and then hold it down on the fourth time, initiating a long beep.

You can exit test mode at any time using the same sequence, or by unplugging the fridge from the power. When in test mode, press the door switch two times to turn on one of the components. Every time you press the door switch twice, you should hear two beeps to confirm that you did it correctly.

After the first two presses, you should hear the compressor come on, which is located in the bottom rear of the fridge. The next two pushes will turn on the evaporator fan, which is located in the freezer (or fridge) compartment. If you fail to hear these components come one, you know which is causing the issue.

Kenmore Fridge Not Cooling But Fan Running

Confused man looking at the fridge

If the evaporator fan is still running in your fridge but it does not seem to be cooling, this eliminates the possibility of the evaporator fan being broken. However, there are still a number of issues that could be causing the fridge to warm up, which have been explained throughout this article. These issues include the following.

  • Overfilled fridge/freezer
  • Ice buildup on evaporator coils or circulation vents
  • Broken condenser system
  • Broken compressor

Keep in mind that ice build up on the evaporator fan itself will usually still allow the fan to run, but it will be noisier than normal. Like any other ice buildup, this is resolved by melting the ice. You can do this manually using the method mentioned earlier in this article.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 1, 2021.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 1, 2021.

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