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Kenmore Refrigerator Freezer Not Working/Cooling

It is usually only after hours of defrosting food in your Kenmore refrigerator freezer that you realise that it is not working or cooling. This can make any person quickly scramble to find a solution so that the food isn’t wasted. To save you time, I have outlined all the possible reasons why this may be occurring in this article.

A Kenmore freezer cannot cool down if the compressor is broken because there is no movement of refrigerant throughout the unit. However, the refrigerant also may not draw and release heat if the coils are covered or the fans are broken. There could also be issues with the door seal or control board.

Woman checking at the fridge

I will run through each component of your Kenmore refrigerator in more detail throughout this article, including how it can contribute to the cooling down of the freezer and how to fix it when something goes wrong. Another consideration is that your fridge may be in demo mode, which I have outlined at the end of the article.

Kenmore Refrigerator Freezer Not Cold

Woman confused behind the fridge

One of the most common causes for a Kenmore freezer not being cold is a broken compressor, which I will explain in the next section. Otherwise, other common causes include the following.

  • An air leak
  • The evaporator coils are covered in frost
  • Dirty condenser coils
  • Broken condenser fan or evaporator fan
  • Malfunctioning thermostat

These will also be discussed further down. Some uncommon causes that could be considered include these problems below., which have also been discussed in this article.

  • Faulty Control Board
  • Display Mode Activated

Kenmore Refrigerator Freezer Not Cooling

Confused woman looking at the refrigerator

Broken Compressor

The compressor is a key component of your Kenmore fridge. The compressor propels the refrigerant throughout the refrigerator coils, which draws heat out of the freezer. The refrigerant is propelled around the fridge due to the increase in pressure caused by compression.

When the compressor breaks, the refrigerant does not circulate in the refrigerator coils. This means that the heat transferred from the freezer to the evaporator coils is not shifted away to be released into the outside environment. Therefore, the freezer will not cool down.

The compressor is located at the back of the fridge, down the bottom. When this is working, it may feel hot and vibrate. Note that the compressor will turn on and off intermittently when required, so you may need to wait a minute or two in order to feel it vibrating.

Unfortunately, if the compressor is not working, you will need to replace it, which is one of the more expensive components of your fridge. However, before considering replacing the compressor, you should make sure it is not the start relay.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 15, 2021.

Broken Start Relay

The start relay supplies energy to the compressor, cycling it on and off when required. A broken start relay will also prevent the compressor from working, but is a lot cheaper to replace. If the start relay is broken, the compressor will be cold and still, and you should hear an intermittent clicking sound when it is supposed to be working.

Kenmore Refrigerator Freezer Not Freezing

Confused woman looking at the refrigerator

Air Leak

A freezer can only reach its minimum temperature if the seal on the door is airtight. An airtight seal will keep the cold air in and keep the warm air out. When you open and close your Kenmore freezer, you should feel the suction of the seal on the rim of the freezer.

If you suspect the seal is broken or not working properly, you can inspect it visually for any cracks or buckled areas. A broken or warped door seal will need to be replaced.

Broken Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan circulates air through the freezer and fridge compartments. The air will be coldest next to the evaporator coils, as this is where heat is drawn and the temperature lowered. Without an evaporator fan, items in the door or close to the door may not get as cold as those toward the back of the freezer (where the coils are located), preventing them from freezing.

The evaporator fan will always turn off when you open the freezer door to prevent the cold air from being blown out. However, once the door is closed, the fan will immediately start up again to redistribute the cold air evenly in the freezer cavity. If you do not hear the fan, this means that it is broken and will need to be replaced

If you do hear the fan, but it is making more noise than usual, there may be ice built-up around the fan blades. You can choose to run the defrost cycle in your freezer, as per the Kenmore instructions for your specific model, or you can attempt to defrost the fan by hand. This can be done with a hairdryer.

Evaporator Coils are Covered in Frost

The evaporator coils can be located at the back of the freezer compartment, or behind the refrigerator at the top. Either way, if you notice frost has built-up on the evaporator coils, they cannot function effectively.

Ice can build up in response to moist air entering the freezer. Once there is water in the air, this can build up as frost over time as it drops to freezing temperatures. Frost over the evaporator coils prevent proper heat exchange from occurring, trapping warm air in the freezer compartment every time the door is opened.

Your freezer should automatically run a defrost cycle roughly every eight hours to prevent this problem from occurring. However, if you do find ice build-up in your freezer, you can manually enter ‘Defrost Mode’ by pressing the door switch five times within two seconds. This can vary for different Kenmore models, but the cycle should only take around 10 minutes to complete.

If this doesn’t work, the most basic method of defrosting the freezer is to unplug the refrigerator and leave it overnight with the doors open. Unfortunately, this requires you to transfer all your food to a different fridge or freezer. If defrosting the freezer, make sure to leave enough towels around the area to soak up the excess water.

Dirty Condenser Coils

The condenser coils will also not work effectively if covered. However, instead of becoming covered in frost, they can often become covered in dirt or dust. The condenser coils play an important role in cooling down the refrigerant through heat radiating out into the open air.

Dirty coils prevent this heat transfer, which can also heat up the freezer over time. However, you can easily clean these coils using a soft dry brush and vacuum cleaner.

Broken Condenser Fan

The condenser fan is responsible for blowing cool air over the condenser coils to help dissipate the heat that radiates from them. If this fan is broken, not as much heat will radiate out of the refrigerant, similar to if the coils were dirty.

You can locate the condenser fan at the back of your fridge, at the bottom. You should be able to see the fan spinning. If you cannot see any movement, you may need to consider a replacement.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

The thermostat is responsible for monitoring the temperature within the freezer. This will then send signals to the control board to turn different components on or off, depending on whether the freezer temperature needs to be raised or lowered.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 15, 2021.

A malfunctioning thermostat will not register if the temperature in the freezer is rising. This means that the compressor, evaporator fan and condenser fan will not be turned on to start drawing heat out of the freezer cavity and the freezer will no longer freeze. This component will need to be replaced.

Kenmore Refrigerator Freezer Not Working

Confused woman looking at the refrigerator

Faulty Control Board

Overall, if your freezer is not working, any of the problems mentioned above could be contributing. However, a faulty control board is another possibility. This is responsible for sending signals to all components of the fridge and freezer, indicating when they should turn on and off to maintain the desired temperatures within the refrigerator.

A faulty control board is usually one of the last options considered when the freezer is not working as all the other problems mentioned above are more common. However, you can inspect the control board for any damage by removing it from the control box in the fridge. This will require replacement, so it may be worth finding a technician to check this for you.

Kenmore Refrigerator Not Freezing

Confused woman looking at the refrigerator

Display Mode Activated

Another rare possibility for why your refrigerator is not freezing is that it is in ‘Demo Mode’. This mode is used in showrooms when selling the refrigerators to demonstrate the fridge’s functions without actually cooling anything down (to save power). If you suspect your Kenmore fridge is in ‘Demo Mode’, the display should indicate that demo mode is active.

To deactivate it, open one of the doors and press and hold the ‘Refrigerator Temp’ and ‘Ultra Ice’ buttons for at least five seconds. The fridge should beep and you should notice that the display returns to normal. It will then take several hours to reach the set temperature in the freezer.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 15, 2021.

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