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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!

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance Tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 33 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of appliances. Contact here

21 thoughts on “Refrigerator Has Power and Lights But Not Blowing Cold Air”

  1. I have maytag fridge,Our fridge stopped blowing cold air all of sudden, I cleaned coils underneath, cleaned back, compressor is warm and its vibrating, compressor fan is on as well, evaporator fan inside freezer is on and blowing but not cold air just room temperature air and so does the in the fridge (maytag French door fridge with freezer at bottom). Not sure what could be wrong, i dont hear click on relay switch but compressor is on and vibrating, not sure what could be issue can someone please help?

  2. Hello I have a magic chef fridge it’s 9 or 10 cu ft in size and it’s not working right, it has been getting warm but here is the weird thing everything gets cold when I manually start the fan in my freezer to spin with my finger..sometimes it will run fine for 2-3 hours other times it will work 12 hours or more and even once it ran 24 hours since this started,when it tries to come on I can hear a buzzing sound but no fan comes on unless I start it myself..when the fan works it keeps cold fine but the fan does seem to be making a noise like it’s trying to seize up..also the electronic control panel inside blinks and revert back to the minimum setting and eventually shuts off if I dont start the fan…any ideas what this could be?

  3. Hello I have a Kenmore elite, model#795.74053.410 fridge runs, lights work, feels like the compressor is on but no cold air at all.

  4. Have a Frigidaire refrigerator and just put a 3 in 1 started kit RC0410 on it for the second time but can’t here the compress come on compress is cold to the touch fan is running what can it be

  5. I have a Commercial Refrigerator True Model GDM-23 and it worked fine until this weekend I decided to clean it and i sprayed water on it.
    Now it won’t get cold, everything seems to be working just fine.
    I don’t want to call a repair person, if I can do it myself.
    Please let me know if you need any further information.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

    1. DIY Project Help Tips

      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

      1. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. Melani Fetalvero

    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.

    1. DIY Project Help Tips

      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

  12. 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.

    1. DIY Project Help Tips

      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

  13. 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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