Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling: Troubleshooting 2023

If you encounter a sudden issue of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling, you can try fixing it easily by knowing what to check. If you do not attend to the cooling problem when it occurs first, it might lead to critical conditions with more costly repairs. So, to diagnose this, you can check the following possibilities and see whether they apply to your refrigerator’s situation. First, ensure to unplug the refrigerator before inspecting any component to avoid potential electrical hazards.

Possible Causes for Refrigerator not cooling


Dirty Condenser Coils

kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Dirty Condenser Coils

Dirty condenser coils can lead to the Kenmore fridge not cooling. Condenser coils are located underneath the refrigerator; they do not dissipate heat if clogged. Therefore, the cooling efficiency would decrease as the condenser coils get dirtier, and eventually, the compressor might also get burned. If the condenser coils have accumulated dust, you can clean them and check whether your Kenmore refrigerator is working.

Condenser Fan Motor

kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor draws air through the condenser coil and the compressor to cool the components. If this is defective, you will find your Kenmore refrigerator freezer not cold enough. 

You can check the condenser fan for any visible obstructions that hinder the rotation, and then try turning the blades carefully by hand. If it doesn’t seem to spin easily, you should replace the condenser fan motor. You can confirm whether this component is defective by performing a multimeter test. If it indicates no continuity, then the condenser fan motor needs replacement.

Evaporator Fan Motor

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan is one of the major components that keep the freezer cold. It draws in the air over the cooling coils and circulates it to remove the heat throughout the components. If it gets frosted, the fan inside this will fail to function. 

Some refrigerators may have separate evaporator fans for the freezer and refrigerator compartments. If there is only one evaporator fan, it would be located on the freezer side. 

In certain situations, the freezer is cold, but ice cream and other frozen food items might not be properly frozen. This is one way to identify that the problem is in the evaporator fan. So, if you find your Kenmore fridge not cooling or freezing, it might be due to a problem with the evaporator fan. 

Locate the evaporator fan motor and turn the blades by hand to check whether it moves easily. If it does not rotate freely, the unit will have to be replaced. Even if it runs but generates a loud sound, you need to replace the evaporator fan motor. 

If the motor does not function at all, you can test it for continuity of motor windings using a multimeter. If this is defective, the motor replacement is the solution. After replacing the evaporator fan motor, test the function to determine whether it operates properly. 

Damper Control

kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling -Damper Control

If your encounter the problem of the Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling, it might be due to a defective damper control that serves the function of cooling the refrigerator compartment by controlling the air coming from the freezer. 

The damper control is also known as the air diffuser, air damper, or baffle. When the flap on it breaks, the airflow is restricted, which results in your refrigerator not cooling properly.

To replace this component, start by disconnecting the refrigerator from power. Next, locate the damper, which is situated where cold air enters the refrigeration compartment. The housing is made of styrofoam or plastic lining with several layers to prevent leaks. Some models have a light bulb that senses the temperature and changes the controls accordingly. So make sure this bulb is installed correctly and not damaged when replacing the damper. 

Operate the control knob to make the attached link move freely. Then check the position of the damper and identify whether it is closed completely. It is partially open and cannot move freely; then, the air replacement inlet baffle should be replaced.

Defrost Thermostat

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Defrost Thermostat

If you are unsure whether the defrost thermostat functions correctly, you can check it with a multimeter test. To test for continuity, remove the defrost thermostat from the refrigerator. Then, bring the black and red probes of the multimeter in contact with the wire ends of the defrost thermostat. If the circuit is open, the multimeter doesn’t make any sound, and if the circuit is open, you will hear a beep sound. If you hear this sound, it implies that the heater stays on and produces heat continuously. 

This might be the reason why the refrigerator does not cool enough.

You will see a set of numbers on the thermostat and one section of these numbers represents the temperature that will open or close the thermostat. For example, in L 6.7-14.5 C, the letter C represents Celsius, and sometimes it will be indicated as F for Fahrenheit. 

When the thermostat closes, the evaporator starts functioning to heat the back of the freezer to melt any ice formed on the thermostat. So if the thermostat fails to operate, ice will continue to form on it and block the air supply to the refrigerator compartment completely.

Start Capacitor

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling- Start Capacitor

The start capacitor gives a boost of power to the starting up of the compressor. If this fails to work correctly, the compressor won’t cool the refrigerator. If you assume that the start capacitor might be at fault, check it with a multimeter. If you find it defective, you need to replace the component to get the compressor to cool your fridge.

Compressor Start Relay

kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Compressor Start Relay

This is the component that starts the compressor, and on being defective, it won’t get your compressor running. The compressor start relay is responsible for the humming noise while operating, and if you don’t hear it regularly, your fridge must be getting warmer. Therefore, a defective start relay would cause your compressor to not start, resulting in the Kenmore refrigerator not working.

Using a multimeter, you can check the performance by testing the continuity between the start and run terminal sockets. If there is no continuity, the relay is defective and needs replacement. Also, if you smell any burning odor from the fridge, it might indicate a damaged start relay and should be replaced.

Failed Compressor

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling -  Failed Compressor

The compressor is a major component in the cooling system of a refrigerator. So, when you find your Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling, checking the function of the compressor is very essential. The compressor pumps the refrigerant through the coils, and then it converts to liquid and loses heat. Thus it reduces the temperature through this conversion at the end of the cycle so that cold air gets into the refrigerator compartment. 

So if the compressor fails, it leads to restriction of cold air emission and results in temperature increase inside. Due to the lack of cold air inside, you will find the food spoiling faster than before.

To confirm whether the compressor is defective, check the continuity with a multimeter by contacting its probes with the electrical pins on either side of the compressor. If there is no continuity, it is open-circuited, and the compressor is defective. Unfortunately, you cannot repair this, and you should get a licensed technician to replace the compressor. However, it would cost around $500 to $1000, so that you may need to consider replacing it with a new refrigerator.

Note: A previous version of Kenmore Elite (specifically the Kenmore Elite / LG Model 795.7205) had been recalled by Kenmore. They faced a class-action lawsuit due to a widespread defect on the compressor unit of the Elite refrigerator. Customers have claimed that compressors would fail within the first ten years of use. The compressor is protected by a five-year warranty and can be repaired or replaced if it fails while the warranty is still valid.

Coolant Leak

If the Freon or the coolant leaks from your refrigerator’s cooling system, it once again results in your Kenmore refrigerator freezer not cold enough. Freon is necessary for the correct amount for converting the liquid back into cool air to be fed into the expansion chamber. The refrigeration chamber will get cooled constantly only if this coolant is converted successfully.

The refrigeration line might be damaged if there has been any previous maintenance in your fridge. There might be other possibilities if this is not the case, such as an overflowing drain pan. Before troubleshooting this, disconnect the refrigerator from power and remove the drain pan. This might be challenging, and you will have to tilt the refrigerator forward slightly. 

So remove all contents inside before you do this. Then remove the screws holding the basepan carefully not to damage the refrigeration lines. If they are further damaged, it will increase the number of leaks. If this task is too complicated for you to handle, it is recommended to leave it to be done by a professional.

Temperature Control Board

Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling  -   Temperature Control Board

The temperature control board provides the necessary voltages to the fan motors and compressor to keep the system cooling. If this gets defective, the necessary voltages will not be transmitted to the cooling system. The temperature control board is sometimes misdiagnosed since this is not a common occurrence. So, you need to check possible defects in other components before this. Get this checked by a technician, and if found to be defective, you will need to replace it.


Kenmore elite refrigerator not cooling - Thermistor

The thermistor monitors the temperature inside the fridge and sends the relevant signals to the control board. If the thermistor is defective, you will find your Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling. It is because the evaporator fan and compressor cannot cool the system without the necessary readings from the thermistor. Test this for continuity using a multimeter just like all others. The thermistor resistance should vary along with the temperature of the refrigerator. If no continuity or change is detected in the thermistor resistance, the thermistor will need to be replaced entirely.

Main Control Board

Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling - Main Control Board

This is the last component to be checked when the refrigerator is not cooling properly. The main control board is the least likely part to fail and needs to be checked after going through all the other potentially defective parts. If there is no fault in all other components, you need a professional to get this inspected and replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling

Why won’t my Kenmore Elite refrigerator get cold?

If the refrigerator is not cold enough, there might be a problem with the condenser fan motor or the compressor. Check these components before troubleshooting the other components. You can locate the condenser fan motor is underneath the refrigerator on the back.

How long does it take a Kenmore Elite refrigerator to get cold?

The Kenmore Elite refrigerator can take up to 24 hours to reach this ideal temperature after being plugged in.

How do I reset my Kenmore refrigerator compressor?

  1. Disconnect the power of the refrigerator from the socket outlet.
  2. Turn both the fridge and freezer controls to the “Off” or “0” position.
  3. Adjust both controls to the desired setting and let the fridge adjust to a stable temperature for about 24 hours.


If your Kenmore refrigerator stopped working, it should be due to one of the problems listed above. It is essential to diagnose the problem as soon as possible and overcome it with the necessary remedies. As you have gone through this, you will know whether the parts can be replaced yourself or not. Some parts are inexpensive and can be purchased easily online using your model number. If the issues are complicated and you cannot solve them alone, you should get help from your appliance repair technician.

If your refrigerator has a major issue and needs to be replaced completely, make sure to avoid purchasing these Worst Refrigerator Brands. Instead, ensure that it is worth your investment by buying from the recommended brands.