Refrigerator Has Power and Lights But Not Blowing Cold Air





Fridge won’t get cold? Refrigerator not blowing cold air? Your refrigerator lights are on, you can hear the fan blowing air in the refrigerator, but the air is not cold. If this is your situation, then the repair is probably going to be a reasonably easy DIY job. When your refrigerator has working lights, the inner fan (or blower) inside the fridge is still blowing and the air is room temperature, then possibly the problem is the Compressor Start Relay. The start relay is a small device mounted to the side of the compressor. It provides power to the winding for a split second at start up to help the compressor run. The other component that may have failed could be the Start Capacitor. The start capacitor acts almost like a battery to give the compressor a small boost during power up.

fridge not cold

The purpose of this guide is to give you some options to check yourself. The parts explained above may or may not be your issue but it is worth looking into before calling a repairman. If you are not comfortable with removing and replacing parts on your refrigerator, then call a repairman.

The relay and the capacitor are what help start the compressor. The compressor is what produces the cold air to cool your refrigerator. If one of these two parts are faulty, then the compressor will not run and therefore there can be no cold air. The refrigerator can be on but if the compressor is not running the air will not be cold inside your refrigerator. This is a very common reason why most refrigerators stop cooling but keep blowing air.







If you hear a clicking sound coming from the back of the fridge, then the compressor start relay is most likely working properly and is not the issue. If this is the case then the next most likely part that has gone bad is the start capacitor. These 2 parts are cheap and can be found at appliance stores and home improvement stores, even local smaller hardware stores should have some basic parts. Refrigerator compressor parts can also be found online and at extremely reasonable prices.


How to replace relay and or capacitor on a refrigerator

We recommend unplugging the refrigerator from power and sliding it out from the wall. Remove the panel on the back bottom of the fridge and visually inspect the start relay and capacitor for signs of damage. You may find signs of melting or burned areas. These parts will be on the side of the compressor. Test the start capacitor first with a capacitance meter and the start relay. If one of these parts is burned, melted, etc, and you don’t have a meter, then you can either call a repairman, go buy a multimeter, order the part online, or remove the part and take the part with you to an appliance store and match it up with the same part.


How to install a universal relay on your refrigerator compressor

There can be other issues why your refrigerator is not blowing cold air such as a bad compressor, bad temperature control thermostat, dirty condenser coils, or even the main control board may be defective. (There is a refrigerator troubleshooting guide here that can help you even further if needed.) If the Condenser Fan Motor was defective, (the blower fan in the refrigerator) then you would NOT hear it running/blowing. This help guide is to help you troubleshoot when the fan in the refrigerator is still blowing but you do NOT have cold air.

NOTE: Remember to always check to be sure that the temperature control dials or knobs inside your refrigerator are set correctly before you start removing panels and parts!


More "Do It Yourself" Tips, Tricks, Ideas, Repair:


















{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe February 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm

My freezer gets cold on 3 but not on 2 or 1. The fan is working but the fridge on the bottom does not get cold enough. My fridge is a national double door fridge, old type. Top freezer.

Reply

2 Carmen September 21, 2016 at 4:46 am

I have a side by side Whirlpool and neither side will get cold but cold air is blowing out the bottom.

Reply

DIY Project Help Tips 3 DIY Project Help Tips September 21, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Carmen,
What is the model number of your Whirlpool Side By Side Refrigerator?
-RR

Reply

4 lubica July 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I had problem with my commercial cooler TMC manufacturing. Problem was cooler was working but stop cooling, i got repairman he put 3 in one part and cooler worked 1-2 hours and my fuse on electrical panel going off whenever i turn on and repairman telling me maybe compressor is no good, but cooler cooling perfectly those couple hours.

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5 Sim Brook May 6, 2016 at 3:07 am

I had no idea that getting a refrigerator to start blowing cold air again could be such an easy problem to fix. However, I imagine this would still be difficult for some people, especially elderly folks who might have trouble moving and getting around to the back of the fridge. In that case, and if you don’t feel confident enough in yourself to pull off the repair job, it might be best to call a professional to help with the problem rather than risk your safety.

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6 Jason November 27, 2015 at 3:24 am

GE fridge where the evaporate fan was barely turning, fridge not cold, compressor running as was condenser fan. Changed the evaporate fan motor. Fridge now blowing air inside but not cold at all. Researched, found most probable issue now is comp relay. Switched it out, still same issue. Was told could be the other part that attaches to comp, called the overload or the start capacitor but they were not in stock so I did not purchase. I hear compressor running (and I did this whole time) so to me now it sounds like all the freon leaked out? Or possibly a comp that runs but is broken in some other way. What’s your take?

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DIY Project Help Tips 7 DIY Project Help Tips December 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Jason,
If you replaced the condenser fan and start relay on the compressor and you still have same issue of NO COLD AIR… You may have a bad compressor. If you can hear the compressor running and you are sure it is running, then you could have a board issue or a wiring issue somewhere in the fridge. Most likely the r134 refrigerant did not leak out. The compressor may be faulty or a board or wiring issue is preventing it from cooling. Can you give us the model number of your GE fridge?
-RR

Reply

8 Diane September 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm

My refrigerator is doing the exact same thing. I’m getting ready to check it now and see if there’s a relay switch like you are talking about. So wish me luck!

Reply

9 dan September 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

I have a Maytag MFF2558KEW French door type fridge, neither compartment is getting cold, both fans are working, everything is clean, settings are at #5 compressor is hot to touch and every so often I hear a click. What readings should I have on the start relay or capacitor and can this be the problem all happened overnight?

Reply

DIY Project Help Tips 10 DIY Project Help Tips September 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Dan,
Most likely the main control board is bad. If your compressor is working, the cap/relay is working, the fans are working, then most likely the control board is shot. You could try a manual defrost and see if that resets anything. The part you will probably end up replacing is here…. Maytag Refrigerator Main Control Board W10503278
-RR

Reply

11 Melani Fetalvero September 9, 2015 at 1:29 am

I have an LG refrigerator. The refrigerator part is not cooling. The freezer is ok. I unplugged it then after a few hours plug it again. Ref and freezer are working fine. But after a few days the ref becomes warm and not cooling again. What seems to be the problem? I also notice this happens whenever I add items (ice cream or make ice) on the freezer. Freezer working fine but the ref will start not cooling even if I hear the compressor is working.

Reply

DIY Project Help Tips 12 DIY Project Help Tips September 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Melani,
You may have a fan issue in the freezer. Does the freezer make any type of unusual noise every now and then? If you have too many items in the freezer blocking the back, it will reduce the amount of cold air that flows into the refrigerator. Do not pack too many items towards the back of the freezer. Also, be sure the fridge section temp dial is set correctly.
-RR

Reply

13 wisdom July 13, 2015 at 6:37 am

I own an American Fridge that is almost new, works very well but recently stopped getting cold or freezing. The repair man who came first made me purchased a home used compressor and also replaced the capacitor but the problem is still unchanged, the second person tested the old compressor and claimed it is not bad but working properly. Decided to replace it with the new one, changed the starter as they call it and replaced the freon gas as well. Everything was working but within some few hours, the fridge went back to cool instead of cold and the fridge is almost new. What do i do please.

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DIY Project Help Tips 14 DIY Project Help Tips July 13, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Wisdom,
Is it a fridge/freezer and only the fridge compartment is not cold? Or is it that both freezer and refrigerator are both not cool. Are the fans turning? Do you hear the compressor turn on every now and then? Is the air cool or room temp coming into the fridge? What is make and model number?
-RR

Reply

15 Becky Dornan June 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm

We recently bought a new Galanz GL31BK mini fridge for our trailer to replace the old one. When we got it, we opened it and plugged it in. It worked fine. We unplugged it and moved into our trailer. Put it in it’s spot and plugged it in and it won’t cool. The light goes on and you can hear the motor but that’s it. We had to tilt it a little to get it in it’s spot. Is there a reset or anything we can do? We really don’t want to take it back out. We have had it unplugged for over 6 hours now also. Any help would be great!! Thanks

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