Refrigerators do us a great favor by keeping our food fresh/frozen for long times. We can’t even imagine life without a refrigerator. Refrigerators usually work smoothly if properly maintained and 0taken care of, but things can go bad at times.
One of the common problems many homeowners mention is that their freezer works fine, but the fridge section doesn’t get cold. The fridge section holds items you consume daily like food leftovers, fruits, vegetables, cakes, desserts, milk, food ingredients, water, and beverages. If it stops working or fails to maintain an even temperature, all these things are at risk.
Hence, it is very important to sort out this problem immediately. If you are looking for a troubleshooting guide for why your fridge is not working while the freezer is working, you are at the right place. In this article, we will look at all the possible reasons behind why the fridge is not cold, but the freezer is. The problem can be fixed at home most of the time, so let’s start with the basic reasons and fixes first.
Why the fridge is not cold but the Freezer is?
Reason #1: Stuck Machine
Modern-day refrigerators are technologically advanced machines that can get stuck for various reasons. For example, if they are not leveled, power goes out, overloading, can’t find enough space for the exhaust. All this or any of the reasons may lead to a warm fridge.
Solution: Reset the Machine
If you have noticed a warm fridge for the first time, try fixing it by resetting the unit. It is the easiest fix and must be done before moving to anything else.
Reason #2: Door Gasket
The rubber sealing around the doors of your machine is known as a door gasket. It prevents the cold air inside the refrigerator from going out. A broken or damaged gasket on your fridge door can be the reason behind the fridge not cooling properly.
Please note that if you have a single-door refrigerator and the gasket is broken, both the freezer and fridge will face no cooling problem simultaneously.
Solution: Replace the Gasket
Inspect the gasket for any damages or tearing. You cannot repair or patch the gasket. It needs to be replaced. However, if the gasket is not damaged but has moved from its place, you can fix it back. The refrigerator door has some grooves that act as a fixing point for the door seal.
You can also use a silicone tube to patch the rubber seal, but it is not recommended as it will not be effective compared to a new one.
Reason #3: Improper Storage
The fridge section of your refrigerator has air vents that supply cool air to keep your things cold and fresh. These vents can get blocked for many reasons, but the most common is improper storage. When you keep something big in a bag or box that blocks these vents, the fridge temperature drops rapidly. Over time, the fridge gets warm, and the freezer stays cold.
Solution: Store Things Properly
Follow the tips given below to store food properly in your refrigerator. These tips will help you keep everything fresher, tastier, and safe.
- Use storage boxes while keeping stuff in your fridge/freezer.
- Make sure you don’t store anything that is not at room temperature.
- Don’t keep vegetables/fruits in any section other than crisper drawers.
- Never overload your fried/freezer as overloading forces the compressor to work harder, and it may result in your fridge getting warm.
Reason #4: Wrong Temperature Settings
You must check the fridge’s temperature if it is not working properly. This is probably the first thing you should do, but it is not a common cause behind your fridge not getting cold. It only happens when someone messes with your floor, power goes out, or changes the settings.
Solution: Check the Fridge Temperature
Make sure that you run the refrigerator at an optimum temperature. FDA recommends keeping the fridge temperature at or below 40°F (4°C) and the freezer temperature at 0°F (-18°C). Some brands also recommend keeping the temperature below 40°F.
You must also consider the ambient temperature. It is better to reduce the temperature by a couple of points in summer or when the fridge has more items in it.
Reason #5: Defective Defrost Timer
The defrost timer is responsible for keeping the evaporator free of ice so that the fridge section receives cooling 24/7. It has a preset number of hours for cooling and defrosting. It is mounted in the control section of the refrigerator or behind the kick panel in some older models. You may need to consult your user manual to find out the location of defrosting panel in your refrigerator.
If the defrost timer fails, it will not initiate the defrost cycle, resulting in ice buildup over the evaporator. The evaporator will then fail to circulate cold air inside the refrigerator leading to a warmer temperature inside.
Solution: Inspect the Defrost Timer
To check if the defrost timer is working or not, you can mark the shaft of the timer and come back later to see if it moved or not. If the defrost timer is working, there is nothing wrong with it.
If the timer doesn’t move, it needs a replacement. However, there are a couple of short-term solutions to deal with a defective defrost timer. Either you can plug off the machine and open the doors to let it defrost manually. You will have to remove all the things from the refrigerator. You can direct a fan toward the refrigerator to speed up the process.
The second way is to advance the shaft using a flat head screwdriver. You will hear clicks as you turn the shaft and a louder click as the fridge enters defrost mode. The compressor will stop running when the fridge is defrosting. Get to the back of the machine and listen to the compressor to ensure that it has stopped working. You will need to power the fridge back on if you have turned it off before checking the defrost timer.
Reason #6: Faulty Evaporator Fan
Each refrigerator comes with an evaporator. The evaporator makes the fridge cool. It is connected with a small fan and motor that supplies the cold air to the fridge. If this fan or motor breaks down, your fridge may stop working. The fan blades capture dust and debris that slows it down.
Solution: Check the Fan Blades and Fan Motor
You will need to access the backside of the fridge to check the evaporator fan. Unplug the refrigerator and remove the water inlet pipe after turning off the water supply to your fridge. Grab your tool kit as you will need it.
- Unscrew the back panel. The fan is located near the evaporator.
- Check the movement of the fan before removing it. If you notice that it has slowed down, it can be due to dust and debris on the fan blades. Clean it and install it back.
Test your refrigerator before moving to the next step.
- Use pliers and a flat head screwdriver to remove the fan.
- Unmount the motor and shift the rubber seals to the new motor.
- Install the new motor and install the fan.
- Test your refrigerator to see if the fridge has started cooling.
Reason #7: Frozen Evaporator Coils
Don’t forget to check the evaporator coils while checking the evaporator fan motor. If frozen, the refrigerator will warm-up compared to the freezer section. You can check if there is frost or water on the evaporator coils. The main reason behind frozen evaporator coils is a defective defrost assembly.
Solution: Replace the Defrost Assembly
The permanent and long-term solution is to replace the defrost assembly. However, you can get the work done for the time being by melting the ice on the refrigerator. Allowing ample space behind the refrigerator for exhaust can also bring some improvement. You can also turn off the ceiling or keep a small fan behind the refrigerator as short-term solutions.
Reason #8: Dirty Condenser Coils
Condenser compressors the cooling gas (refrigerant) in the refrigerator. If the condenser coils are dirty, the refrigerant will not be able to work. This may cause your refrigerator to lose its temperature while the freezer will maintain the cooling.
Solution: Clean the Condenser Coils
Cleaning the condenser coils is an important part of the cleaning schedule. You must do it at least after 6 months to avoid any problems. The best way to do this is to use a vacuum cleaner, so you don’t have to deal with a dirty floor later.
- Unplug the refrigerator and remove the back cover.
- Attach the crevice tool to your vacuum cleaner and start cleaning the coils.
- Turn on your refrigerator and test the results.
Reason #9: Faulty Damper Control
The damper control door controls the flow of air in the compartments. The damper control is automatic in the latest models and manually controlled in older models. If the door malfunctions, it won’t allow enough air in the fridge.
Solution: Check the Damper Control
You need to check the damper control to see if it is working. All you have to do is stick your hand in front of the air vents to see if there is enough cold air coming or not. If you don’t feel cold air coming into the fridge and you have checked the evaporator fan, the damper control is the culprit behind the issue.
Remove the air vent if you can. Check the damper control and try to move it manually. Don’t force things if you can’t remove the vent cover; call in a professional to inspect the situation.
Reason #10: Defective Main Control Board
The main control board is responsible for monitoring the entire machine. All the information you set on the control panel reaches the control board, and it then directs the machine to do the needful.
If the main control board stops working, your refrigerator will not cool properly. A defective control board may only affect the fridge section or both sections.
Solution: Replace the Control Board
If you have checked everything and nothing has worked out, it is time you seek professional help. They will assess your machine and diagnose the problem. Replacing the main control board is not an easy task. Hence, we recommend you seek professional help for this.
So you see that there can be many reasons why your fridge is not cold, but the freezer is. The best way to diagnose the problem is to make a checklist of all the potential reasons and then rule them out one by one. Out of the 10 reasons listed above, you can fix 6-7 and maybe all of them, depending on your DIY skills.