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Refrigerator Not Working/Cooling

We probably use our refrigerator more than any other appliance in the home. If it isn’t working, we want it fixed as quickly as possible.

Typically, a problem with a refrigerator not working or cooling is due to clogged coils. Visually inspect the coils to make sure they don’t have too much dust or debris. If you have an older model without coils, there is a condenser fan that may be stuck.

Woman holding vegetable while closing the refrigerator

Many of the things that stop a refrigerator from working or cooling can be handled by a homeowner. It is also a good idea to check with a professional repairman if you run into problems that are beyond your capabilities.

Refrigerator Not Working/Cooling

A common reason why a refrigerator might not be working or cooling is that there is a problem with the power. This can happen for a number of different reasons, including the following:

Problems With the Power

Tripped Breaker

If the breaker has tripped, you will need to reset it. Look in the breaker box for a breaker that is out of line with the others. Turn it off and back on.

Power cord

Inspect the power cord to make sure it hasn’t become damaged. If the cord is frayed or cut, it needs to be replaced. Check the plug for any signs of burning or if one of the prongs is damaged or missing.


A refrigerator uses a lot of power so it should ideally be on its own circuit with a circuit breaker of at least 20 amp. If you are sharing a circuit with many other items, especially kitchen items, it is likely you are overloading the circuit and causing the breaker to trip.


Visually inspect the receptacle for any damage. Plug something else into the receptacle to see if it works. If the receptacle does not work, replace it. If you are on a GFCI receptacle or circuit, try resetting the circuit by pressing the tab on the receptacle.

Check the Refrigerator Coils

The coils in the refrigerator are what exchange hot air for cold. It is important that they stay clean and that you don’t overcrowd them by placing the unit too close to a wall or another item.

It is possible to clean refrigerator coils but you need to be careful that you do not damage them. Check the manual that came with your refrigerator for specific instructions on how to clean the coils.

Have You Checked the Thermostat?

Sometimes, the solution may be as simple as turning the dial. There should be a control in the refrigerator for adjusting the temperature in both the refrigerator compartment and the freezer compartment.

Make sure that you have not accidentally turned it down to zero. Reset it to the recommended level, indicated by the red line.

Is the Refrigerator/Freezer Overcrowded?

Overcrowding the freezer and refrigerator can cause it to stop cooling or, at the very least, to be less effective at cooling.

Having items in the refrigerator actually helps the refrigerator to maintain an adequate temperature. If you have too much in the refrigerator, however, it may end up blocking a vent that allows airflow from the refrigerator to the freezer.

Something similar can happen to the freezer. If you are overcrowding the freezer, it may run constantly and could freeze up. In the case of a freezer that is not cooling, overcrowding may have blocked the vent that allows it to cool effectively.

Have You Checked the Door Seals?

The seals on the door keep the air from exchanging from outside to inside. You can check the door seals by closing a piece of paper in the door and trying to pull it out.

If the seals are working well, the paper will not pull out easily. If it does pull out easily or falls, then the seals need to be replaced.

The door may not be sealing properly for a number of different reasons. Aside from the seals being damaged, dirty, or old, it may also be due to the refrigerator being out of level or the doors not being aligned.

Check the Air Damper Vent

There is a vent between the refrigerator compartment and the freezer compartment that allows for the exchange of air. If it is blocked by items in the freezer or refrigerator, it can keep the temperature from reaching what it should be.

At times, frost may also be a problem that leads to this type of issue. Inspect the air damper vent and if necessary, remove items from near it and defrost it.

If none of these tips help you resolve your fridge not cooling. Please visit our brand specific refrigerator posts to see why your specific fridge is not cooling. GE, Samsung, Maytag, Hotpoint, Amana, KitchenAid, Kenmore, Frigidaire, LG and Whirlpool.

Refrigerator Keeps Beeping

Woman checking at the fridge

Refrigerators are equipped with a number of items that let you know when there is a problem. One of those is an audible beep.

If your refrigerator is continually beeping, there may be a buildup of ice in the freezer. Some refrigerators are not equipped with auto-defrost and if ice builds up, a beep may sound to alert you to the problem. Otherwise, a likely culprit is the door not being closed.

Here are some other issues that can lead to a refrigerator beeping.

Refrigerator Doors

One of the most common reasons why a refrigerator will beep is to alert you that a door has been left open. It isn’t always noticeable and at times, you may have to give it a little shove to get it to shut properly.

Door Seals

If the refrigerator door is closed but the door alarm is still chiming, it may be a problem with a door seal. You can check the door seal by putting a piece of paper in the area when you close the door and seeing if it offers resistance when you try to pull the paper out.

Another issue with the door seals that can cause the door alarm to sound is if they are dirty. Clean them with a mild solution of soap and water, being cautious not to damage the seal while cleaning them. Pull the seal gently away to open it up and get down in the crevices.

Crowded Refrigerator

Although a crowded refrigerator is not going to specifically sound the alarm, it can lead to a number of issues that could cause a beeping to occur. This can include a buildup of ice in the freezer, low refrigerator temperature, and high refrigerator temperature.

Having enough in the refrigerator but not too much is a balancing act for most families. It’s a good idea to have plenty of things in the refrigerator because it helps to maintain a stable temperature. Having too much in the refrigerator causes the refrigerator to run frequently and can ice up the freezer.

Circuit Board

It may be possible that an issue with a the refrigerator causing it to beep is due to the circuit board. If the circuit board is going bad, the alarm may sound or it may be sending improper signals to the refrigerator, causing the beep to sound.

Turn the Sound off until You Get It Fixed

If the refrigerator is beeping and it is not experiencing any problems, there is likely something happening under the surface that is causing the chime to occur. It’s important to get it fixed but in most cases, you don’t have to continue to put up with the sound indefinitely.

Check with the directions that came with the refrigerator for instructions on how to disable the beep temporarily.

Refrigerator Keeps Freezing Up

Woman checking at the fridge

When your refrigerator freezes up, it causes numerous problems. Fixing it may be easier than you realized.

Anything that causes the evaporation process to be inhibited can lead to a refrigerator freezing up. It could be a door seal, a refrigerant leak, or a blocked vent. If the refrigerator is freezing up constantly, remove the items from it, clean it thoroughly, check for any visible issues, clean the coils, and try again.

When a refrigerator runs constantly, it will likely cool to the point where it freezes up. Turning the thermostat down will not help in this instance.

A likely issue that can lead to a refrigerator running constantly is if a gasket has gone bad. This can be a problem with a door gasket or another gasket located elsewhere in the refrigerator.

If the thermostat is set too high in the refrigerator, this can also cause the refrigerator compartment to freeze up. Sometimes, the knob may get bumped and at other times, it is turned up slowly because it is thought that the temperature in the refrigerator is a little warm.

If you see that the thermostat is set high in your refrigerator, turn it back to the mark on the knob. That is the set point that is recommended by the manufacturer. Wait a day and then adjust it from there.

The coils are what exchange heat and cool to keep the refrigerator at an acceptable temperature. If the coils are dirty or dusty, the refrigerator has to work harder to keep cool. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the coils and make it part of your routine cleaning.

If the thermostat has gone bad in the refrigerator, it may cause it to run constantly. If everything else looks fine but the refrigerator never shuts off, the thermostat may be to blame.

Finally, check the damper that exchanges air between the refrigerator compartment and the freezer compartment. If it is stuck open, then too much cold air may be entering the refrigerator compartment and causing it to freeze.

Refrigerator Keeps Tripping Breaker/GFCI

Woman checking at the fridge

GFCI breakers are often installed in the kitchen and bathroom. If your refrigerator is plugged into a GFCI breaker, it may trip on occasion.

The most common reason why a GFCI breaker trips is because it is overloaded. Ideally, your refrigerator should be on its own circuit with a breaker that is at least 20 A. If you have too much plugged into the circuit, the breaker will overload and trip as a safety precaution.

If you have a problem with the GFCI breaker constantly tripping, and you aren’t able to put the refrigerator on its own circuit, you might want to check some of the other items that are operating on the circuit.

Many kitchen items use a lot of energy, such as the toaster, blenders, and microwave ovens. Running two or more of these items at one time can be problematic.

If you do have a dedicated circuit for your refrigerator and the GFCI continues to trip, the receptacle may need to be replaced. Contact an electrician, as you will want to have the breaker checked as well.

Refrigerator Keeps Turning Off

Woman opening the refrigerator

A refrigerator that constantly shuts off is more than an inconvenience. It may cause food to spoil or the refrigerator and freezer compartments to freeze up.

Generally speaking, you can trace a problem with a refrigerator turning off to an issue with the thermostat. Perhaps the thermostat knob was accidentally turned too far down or you may have turned it down on purpose. The thermostat may also go bad and need to be replaced at times.

You should also look into the power system behind the refrigerator. Check everything, from the breaker to the GFCI receptacle and the power plug. If anything is out of line, it may cause fluctuations in the power that would cause the refrigerator to shut off intermittently.

One issue that is sometimes overlooked is overcrowding the refrigerator. This may be possible on the inside, but it is also important not to crowd it on the outside.

If there is not enough space around the refrigerator, it won’t allow for proper ventilation and it could overheat. This may cause the refrigerator to shut down periodically as a safety measure.

Something similar can happen if the coils are dirty. The refrigerator may run long enough that it overheats the compressor and the refrigerator shuts down to cool off.

One other issue that can result in a refrigerator turning off frequently is a problem with the circuit board. You can’t test a circuit board easily but you can inspect it for damage and replace it if necessary.

Refrigerator Not Blowing Cold Air

Man sad while sitting on the floor and behind the refrigerator

A refrigerator must blow cool air or the compartment is not going to stay cold very long. Your food could get spoiled quickly.

Clogged coils are often the problem when a refrigerator is not blowing cold air. You can clean the coils but you have to do so according to the manufacturer’s instructions so you don’t damage them. In older model refrigerators, there won’t be coils but there will be a condenser fan that sometimes may need repaired or replaced.

A common reason why a refrigerator is not blowing cold air is that the thermostat has been adjusted or is going bad. Check the thermostat control and make sure it wasn’t turned down accidentally.

Refrigerator not Cooling but Freezer is Fine

Man checking the refrigerator

It is important for both the freezer and refrigerator to properly cool. If the refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer is, it may be due to a number of issues.

Although the refrigerator and freezer are connected, they sometimes use different systems to stay cool. If one of those systems is not working properly, the refrigerator may not cool but the freezer will stay at an acceptable temperature.

The following are a few items to check that could be causing the problem:


This device is a combination of a thermostat and resistor. If it is defective, it may be interrupting power to the refrigerator.

Control Board

The control board may also be the issue. If it is going bad, it may need to be replaced.

You can’t test a control board with a multi-meter but you can inspect the control board for any signs of burning or cracks. Replace the control board if damage is evident.

Refrigerator Not Cooling or Freezing

If the refrigerator is not cooling or freezing, there are a few things that could lead to the issue. Often, it is a problem with the coils.

If the coils are clogged, they will not be able to effectively cool the refrigerator or freezer. In older models without coils, you should check the condenser fan to make sure that it spins freely. If the coils are clogged or dirty, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

You might also see that the coils are frosted over. This sometimes happens if there is a leak in the refrigerant or if the refrigerator is running too frequently.

Unplug the refrigerator and allow the coils to defrost for a day. Do not open the refrigerator so the items stay cool inside.

Refrigerator Not Defrosting

Woman checking at the fridge

If a refrigerator is not defrosting, it can lead to a number of issues. This can include the temperature being too high in the refrigerator and freezer compartments, leading to the food spoiling.

A common reason why the refrigerator is not defrosting is because of a defrost timer problem. The defrost timer is what turns the defrost system on a number of times every day to keep the frost at a low level. If the timer is not working properly, frost will build up and eventually, become a problem.

There is also a defrost control board that tells the refrigerator when to run the defrost cycle and when to stop. If the control board is experiencing problems, the defrost cycle will not run.

Refrigerator Not Dispensing Water

Woman checking at the fridge

We use our refrigerators for more than keeping food and beverages cold, we use them to dispense water. If your refrigerator is no longer dispensing water, the solution is often easy to fix.

A blocked inlet tube is often to blame when the refrigerator is not dispensing water. The tube may be blocked before it enters the refrigerator or it may be frozen as it passes near the ice cube dispenser.

There are many working parts that could lead to a refrigerator not dispensing water. They include the dispenser actuator, control board, and switch that regulates the water flow from the refrigerator. If any one of these is not working, the refrigerator will not dispense water.

Finally, check the water filter. If it is clogged, the water dispenser will not get enough pressure and it will not dispense water.

Refrigerator Not Getting Water

Woman checking at the fridge

A refrigerator needs a fresh supply of water to dispense water for drinking and to make ice cubes.

If a refrigerator is not getting water, it is likely a problem with the water inlet tube. The tube runs from the source to the refrigerator and it may get pinched or bent if the refrigerator is shifted or moved. You might also have a problem with low water pressure that keeps the valve from opening.

There is a difference between not getting water and not getting enough water. You can take the inlet valve off of the back of the refrigerator to check if water is flowing.

It may also be possible that the water line is frozen as it passes near the ice cube dispenser. If that is the case, it can be warmed up with a hairdryer

Refrigerator Not Holding Temperature

Woman opening the refrigerator

Is your refrigerator temperature dropping constantly? If the refrigerator is not getting cold but the motor is running, there may be other issues that need to be checked.

One common issue that leads to a refrigerator not holding its temperature is a compressor. If the compressor is bad, it will not effectively cool the refrigerator and keep the temperature at an acceptable level. Condenser coils may also become clogged and dirty and keep the flow of air going over the coils. In that case, the coils will need to be cleaned.

Sometimes, a bad door seal leads to cold air escaping from the inside of the refrigerator. Check the door seal by putting a piece of paper in it, closing the door, and trying to remove the paper. You should feel resistance.

If the vents between the refrigerator and freezer compartments are blocked, it can keep air exchange from happening. That air exchange is important for maintaining proper temperature in the refrigerator. Check for items that are blocking the vent or if it has become frosted.

One other thing to check is if the refrigerator is out of level. This can cause a variety of problems but it is easy to fix.

Refrigerator Not Making Ice But Water Works

Woman checking at the fridge

We rely on our refrigerator for a variety of reasons. It keeps our food and drinks cool, dispenses water, and makes ice cubes constantly.

If your refrigerator is no longer making ice but the water works, check the dispenser control arm. If the control arm is in the wrong position, it will stop the process of making ice. Move the dispenser control arm in the down position and see if it starts working again.

Sometimes, it is a mechanical problem, such as the gearbox or motor. If it sounds like it is running but nothing is happening or turning, it may be an issue with the gearbox or motor.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on October 16, 2021.

Finally, make sure that the water line feeding the ice cube dispenser is not frozen over. It can be warmed up with a hairdryer to thaw it if necessary.

Refrigerator Not Making Noise

Man confused while looking at the refrigerator

Most people tend to panic what a refrigerator is no longer making noise. They may have reason to be concerned.

Although there are quiet model refrigerators, they are going to make at least some noise. As long as they are running, you will hear the compressor, fans, and even the ice cube dispenser as it makes ice. If you are not hearing any noise, the refrigerator is likely not working.

The first thing to do if the refrigerator is not making noises is to check the power. Look in the breaker panel for a tripped breaker and test the receptacle. Open the refrigerator door to see if a light comes on.

Sometimes, the refrigerator may just be between cycles. A refrigerator does not run constantly and when it is not running, it is not going to make any noise. As long as the refrigerator is cooling, making ice, and freezing food in the freezer compartment, you shouldn’t be concerned about a lack of noise at times.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on October 16, 2021.

When a refrigerator is not working or cooling, it can often be traced to dirty and clogged coils. In units without coils, a similar problem can happen if the condenser fan is stuck. Check and clean the coils and, if necessary, the condenser fan. Make sure that everything is running properly after doing so.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on October 16, 2021.

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