Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Appliance Repair Assistant
If your refrigerator and freezer have both stopped cooling, it is very likely the starter capacitor and or start relay is faulty. This means the compressor that provides the cold air is not starting because of a few faulty parts. If your fridge is plugged in and getting power at the outlet and the refrigerator and the freezer have both stopped cooling, read on for how to fix this.
What can cause the refrigerator to stop cooling?
- Has the the door been left open?
- Have the condenser coils been cleaned?
- Was the temperature control set wrong?
- Is an item blocking air flow inside the fridge?
There could be a variety of reasons why your refrigerator and freezer has suddenly stopped cooling. You may have a faulty temperature control thermostat, bad compressor, evaporator fan motor, condenser fan motor, a wiring issue, power problems, and more.
Check that the refrigerator is plugged in. Make sure the refrigerator has power. Are the lights on inside the refrigerator?
We advise to check ALL parts with a multi-meter before removing and replacing anything.
You may have a faulty starter capacitor and or start relay. These 2 parts assist to run the compressor. If everything else in your refrigerator works but it has just stopped cooling suddenly, then check these 2 parts to see if they have burned out or are faulty. The starter capacitor and or start relay are both located at the back of the refrigerator on or near the compressor. Be sure to remove power to your refrigerator before troubleshooting.
Troubleshooting a Refrigerator Not Cooling
Start Capacitor For Refrigerator Compressor
If the refrigerator stopped cooling the compressor might be having a hard time to start. The start capacitor provides power to the compressor during the initial phases when it is starting. If the start capacitor is faulty or burned out the compressor will have a hard time starting. You will need to test the start capacitor with a meter, and if you find it faulty, remove and replace.
Start Relay For Refrigerator Compressor
If the refrigerator stopped cooling, the start relay might be faulty. The start relay is a small relay that mounts on the compressor. This start relay gives power to the compressor windings for a short moment at initial start to get the compressor running. If this small start relay is faulty or burned out the compressor may not start, thus the refrigerator and freezer will stop cooling. If you find the start relay to be faulty or burned out, remove and replace.
How To Fix Refrigerator: Example
I have a side by side refrigerator/freezer which is 5 years old. The refrigerator and freezer stopped cooling completely. The lights are still on in my refrigerator and freezer so I know it is getting power. For troubleshooting purposes, I removed power to the refrigerator. I took off the cardboard back cover on the refrigerator and noticed the compressor is not running since it is not cooling.
The refrigerator compressor was not turning on no matter what temperature I set the refrigerator/freezer at. I also noticed the fan was not running or cooling. For a compressor to work properly it needs a good working start capacitor and start relay. It is not uncommon for the starter capacitor or the start relay to fail after many years of use.
I removed the capacitor and relay to check for signs of faults. The relay had burned out and because of this the compressor was not starting/running. The compressor checked to be in working condition so I installed a new start capacitor and start relay. The refrigerator and freezer cools like new and the compressor runs perfectly.
These solutions for a refrigerator that has stopped cooling will work with all brands of refrigerators including Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, KitchenAid, LG, Maytag, Samsung, and Whirlpool.
Need help? Please let us know if you are having this exact issue and not getting solutions. Please leave a comment below with your refrigerator model number and we can assist you to find the solution.