Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling – Easy Fix 2022

If you find your Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling, it could be due to some defective component. Despite getting power, if any of the components fail to work, the refrigerator may not serve its purpose of cooling. Since most RV refrigerators run on propane or electricity, they are more residential refrigerators. These refrigerators can sometimes get out of order like any household appliance as they are not completely resistant to breakdowns. Use this guide to fix the problems of your RV refrigerator not working to cool the interior.

Possible Causes for Norcold Refrigerator Not Cooling

Here are the possible causes that you need to check when troubleshooting your Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling. 

Unleveled Cooling Unit

norcold rv refrigerator not cooling - Unleveled Cooling Unit

The coolant in the refrigerator cannot flow through the coils and work properly if the cooling unit is not leveled. This results in the common problem of insufficient cooling in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator is kept unleveled for over 30 minutes, then the cooling unit can get damaged without being able to repair it. So, if you have a cooling problem that has existed for a long time, then you might have to replace your refrigerator. Here’s how you can level your appliance for proper efficiency.

  • Get an automatic hydraulic leveler and place it on a shelf of the freezer.
  • Adjust the refrigerator so that it is leveled correctly with the liquid at the center of the circle.
  • For a truck camper, you would need to use power jacks and leveling blocks to level it.
  • Use small pieces of wood as levelers and check the level every time you adjust.

Compressor

norcold rv refrigerator not cooling - Compressor

The function of the compressor in the refrigerator is to compress and push the refrigerant into the condenser coils. This coolant then absorbs the heat from the items inside the fridge and cools the interior. If your refrigerator is not cooling even when the cooling fan is functioning, then the fault is most likely in the compressor or the compressor start relay. 

  • Start troubleshooting by turning off the power supply to the refrigerator and unplugging it.
  • Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and locate the compressor, a small, cylindrical part with cords connected behind the refrigerator.
  • Find the start relay and conduct a physical test to check its working condition.
  • Unplug it from the compressor and shake the relay to check the sound. If it gives a rattling sound, the compressor relay is defective and should be replaced. If there is no such sound, the compressor might have a problem.
  • The compressor replacement is very costly, and it will be more cost-efficient to buy a new refrigerator depending on the age and condition of your fridge.
  • Unscrew the back panel and remove the metal guard that protects the compressor to replace the compressor. Then disconnect the compressor from the capacitor, capacitor-discharge, and the suction line.
  • However, it is recommended to get this replacement done by professional technicians.

Condenser Coils

norcold rv refrigerator not cooling - Condenser Coils

The condenser coils pass the hot gas from the compressor to the evaporator coils, turning to a liquid as it pushes through the coils. If you find Norcold refrigerator freezer cold fridge warm, then it might be due to the malfunction of this condenser coil. The refrigerant may have trouble circulating through the coils of these condenser coils that are clogged. You can check this by following the steps indicated here.

  • Turn off the power supply to your refrigerator before you attempt this.
  • Locate the condenser coils behind the refrigerator. They are small black interwoven tubes that pass from the compressor compartment to the freezer.
  • Clean the coils thoroughly using a vacuum brush to remove all accumulated debris.
  • Wipe the surface of the coils using a clean rag and water.
  • Reassemble the fridge, plug it back to power and check whether this solved the problem.

Condenser Fan

Condenser Fan

The condenser fan cools the compressor and the condenser coils as it operates when the compressor is running. If the condenser fan fails to operate while the compressor is working, it can lead to overheating, which will cause serious cooling issues in the refrigerator. Troubleshoot malfunctioning condenser fans as indicated in the procedure below.

  • Unplug the refrigerator from the power source and pull it away from the wall to have more room to access the components.
  • Locate the condenser fan in a small cavity beside the compressor and the condenser coils.
  • Check for any obstructions that prevent the fan from spinning properly and remove them. 
  • If the fan spins more slowly than it should, check for any fort accumulation even if there is no obstruction and try to rotate the fan manually. 
  • You can try lubricating it by spraying penetrating oil on the motor’s shaft.
  • If this doesn’t fix the problem, the condenser fan might need to be replaced. 
  • To replace the condenser fan, remove the screws supporting the fan and take off the fan from the cavity. 
  • Remove the old motor from the mounting bracket, fix the new replacement fan, and reassemble the appliance.

Evaporator Fan

Evaporator Fan

A defective evaporator fan is another reason to find your Norcold refrigerator freezer cold fridge warm. Since the evaporator fan blows air over the evaporator coil to cool it down, cool air might not be generated properly if this function fails. Therefore, you may need to replace the evaporator fan as indicated below.

  • Disconnect the power, unplug the refrigerator and empty all its contents. 
  • Remove the storage baskets and freezer shelves; unscrew the rear wall from the freezer.
  • Pull out the evaporator panel and locate the evaporator fan. Remove all its wire connectors, fan blade, mounting clips, and release the fan from the freezer.
  • Connect the wire connectors to the new fan motor and cover it properly. Then mount the fan blades and fix them using the mounting bracket.
  • Finally, fix it back using the screws removed previously and reinstall the appliance. 

Power Board

Power Board

If the refrigerator does not run on propane, its panel circuit board needs a DC supply of 12V and a 120V AC supply for the function:

  1. You can check whether the flames of the propane stove are steady and tune the burner area as indicated in the user manual.
  2. Clean the burner tube propane jet, and set the igniter gap as given in the instructions. If the cooling issue in your fridge persists, you may need to clean the PC board with DeOxit.
  3. Check the electrical connections and make sure everything is fixed correctly. 

If there is no power to the board, you need to check the high-temperature safety switch, a small black-colored board. If the boiler temperature exceeds the safety limit, you will see a red light illuminated. This is also responsible for cutting the power to the refrigerator as a safety precaution. Suppose this happened due to a light strike and can be fixed with a simple reset. But if you smell any ammonia or see some yellow powder-like residues near the cooling unit, turn off the refrigerator immediately. It is a sign that the cooling unit has leaked ammonia and needs to be replaced.

If there is power to the board, check whether the same voltage is present before and after the 5A DC fuse on the rear power board. If it is not so, then the power board might be defective. In this case, the whole board kit should be replaced according to the model of your refrigerator.

Why Does the Freezer Cool but Not the Refrigerator?

Why Does the Freezer Cool but Not the Refrigerator?

It would even be more frustrating to find your Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling but freezer is functioning well. This is often due to airflow problems within the system. The freezer has a diffuser to transfer cold air into the refrigerator. If this duct is blocked or frozen, the air will not pass as needed. If you cannot get this problem solved, you might need the support of an experienced technician to get it fixed.

Tips to Keep Your Norcold RV Refrigerator Cooling Properly

Tips to Keep Your Norcold RV Refrigerator Cooling Properly
  • Do not expose your refrigerator to direct sunlight as it would have difficulty keeping the interior cool once the outside temperature increases over 85 degrees.
  • Do not keep the refrigerator door open for a long time as they take a lot of time to regain the coolness it lost. If the outside is warm, it may take about an hour to recover the coolness lost for one minute.
  • Do not overstuff your fridge with food items so that it may not have room for cool air circulation. In this case, you would have to use a small battery-powered fan to circulate cool air inside.
  • Make sure not to place hot food items or drinks in the refrigerator. Allow them to cool down to room temperature before you place them inside.
  • If you haven’t used your refrigerator in a while, keep it turned on for 24 hours before putting in any food items.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I unplug a refrigerator that is not cooling?

Sometimes, the cooling problem occurs when the coils inside the fridge or freezer are frozen and prevent air circulation. You can fix this problem by unplugging the refrigerator for 24 hours so that the ice melts and the appliance will start cooling again.

How do I fix my RV refrigerator not cooling?

To start with, check whether the refrigerator gets adequate power of 120V. If there is no power to the power circuit, check the circuit and breaker. 

How much does it cost to fix a refrigerator that is not cooling?

The most common reasons behind a refrigerator not cooling is a bad thermostat or a dirty coil. These problems will cost about $50 to $250 and can be fixed in about an hour.

How do I know if my refrigerator compressor is not working?

You can diagnose a defective compressor by pulling the fridge slightly out from the wall and listening closely. For example, if you hear a humming sound while the motor is running and the temperature is above the normal range, there is a possibility of having a problem with the compressor.

Conclusion

As it is common for such cooling problems to occur, you can fix Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling issues, as indicated here. In addition, they are often less expensive repairs that can be done yourself. But suppose you are inexperienced and have no proper knowledge about electrical components. In that case, it is recommended to get help from a repair technician to fix the issues of your RV refrigerator not working.

Here are the reasons and ways to fix if your refrigerator’s compressor is hot. You can also troubleshoot if you hear strange knocking sounds from your refrigerator.