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 30 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of machinery. Contact here

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