Fridge not cooling but light is on
Why is the Fridge Compressor Running but Not Cooling?
Clearly if the fridge isn’t running at all you start by checking things like if it is plugged in, if the outlet has power, and if the fridge is switched on. But when the air compressor is running but there’s no cooling it can be a little more complicated to figure out why it’s happening. There’s two likely scenarios that cause a fridge compressor to run but the unit to not cool.
Controls Set Wrong
If you’ve got kids there’s a chance the controls were inadvertently or purposefully set wrong. Double check your fridge controls before starting to tear your fridge apart. You’ll likely find dials you can turn or digital settings that control how cool the fridge and freezer should stay. Make sure your controls are set to a reasonable level of cooling for both the areas of your fridge.
Frost Clogged Evaporator Coils
One of the common problem that causes this condition is when the evaporator coils are frozen. To find the evaporator coils you’ll need to remove the cover inside your freezer. If these coils are completely caked with frost you’ll need to unplug and thaw out your fridge for about 48 hours. You can check it after 24, but waiting longer helps avoid unseen clogs from sections still frozen.
Transfer goods into another fridge while you take care of this problem. If it works whenever you plug it back in you might have a bad defrost thermostat, heater, or timer. These are parts that aren’t difficult to replace but narrowing down which is the problem takes the training and tools of a professional.
Bad Evaporator Fan
If a evaporator fan is going out on your fridge it will likely have chirping or squealing sounds. One easy way to tell is if those noises get louder whenever you open the freezer. This fan is located near the coils in the freezer and also requires the removal of the cover at the back of the freezer.
If it’s making a bunch of noise you can call for refrigerator repair or order a new fan yourself and replace it. Once the fan is replaced make sure the cover is securely reattached and you’re ready to power up the fridge again.
Bad Condenser Fan
If you leave the door open for a while and don’t hear the compressor running it is possible that your condenser fan is worn out or stuck. It can also point to a relay being bad and the signal from the thermostat isn’t getting to the condenser fan.
To check this you’ll need to pull your fridge away from the wall and make sure you can remove the thin panel while it still has power. Wait for your compressor to kick on and watch to see if the condenser fan also turns on. If it is noisy or simply doesn’t turn on you probably need a new one. You can test the compressor if the fan isn’t moving by blowing air on it with the cool setting on a hair dryer or a fan. If the compressor runs and cools but the fan doesn’t move, it’s time to replace it.