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Why is my KitchenAid refrigerator not cooling?



Broken ice makers, frost buildup in the freezer compartment, warm refrigerator temperatures — these are just a few signs that indicate something is wrong with your KitchenAid refrigerator. A broken refrigerator is a major inconvenience and an urgent issue. Fresh food spoils quickly, so if the problem isn’t found and fixed fast, you might have a lot of food waste. 

Here’s a rundown of the common reasons your fridge might be having trouble maintaining proper temperatures, how to reset your KitchenAid refrigerator and find appliance repair services.


Possible reasons why a KitchenAid refrigerator is not cooling

Inside your KitchenAid refrigerator is a system of components that continuously repeat a cooling cycle. From damaged fan blades to airflow blockages, troubleshooting problems can be costly and time-consuming. Here’s a closer look at what could be wrong when your refrigerator isn’t cooling properly.

Defective compressor

A compressor is a pump that enables the refrigerant to cool both the refrigerator and freezer sections. Manufacturers usually place compressors at the base of an appliance under the back panel. The pressure and heat of the refrigerant rise as it passes through the compressor before pumping back to the condenser coils. Some pumps make a humming sound when cycling on, so if your refrigerator compressor isn’t running, it might be quieter than usual in the kitchen.

The start relay is the component that tells the compressor to cycle on and begin its process. Signs of a faulty start relay include a warm fridge and a clicking sound. This noise happens when the compressor repeatedly struggles to turn on and can’t because of a broken start relay. This component can also be tested by unplugging the fridge, removing the start relay and giving it a shake. If the start relay rattles, then you need a replacement.

Dirty condenser coils

Refrigerant condenses and cools as it travels through condenser coils, releasing heat along the way. A condenser fan then blows heat off the coils to remove hot air from inside the appliance. If the coils and condenser fan motor are working, you should feel warm exhaust air through the refrigerator grille.

Condenser coils must remain clean to work properly and cool efficiently. If your fridge is too warm, it could be because the coils are too dirty to function. Dirty condenser coils also make the compressor work harder as it struggles to regulate temperature, which uses more energy and shortens the appliance’s life.

Cleaning coils is a simple maintenance job to do once or twice a year. Condenser coils are located at the front bottom part of your fridge beneath the removable vent. Some coils are located on the back of the fridge under a back panel. Use a vacuum and coil cleaning brush to remove any visible dirt, dust and debris.

Aleak in the refrigerator door seal

The refrigerator door seal is a rubber gasket that lines the inside of the door to keep cold air in and hot air out. If the gasket is torn or dirty, the fridge won’t seal correctly, and the temperature inside the unit will rise. Inspect the fridge and freezer door seals regularly for mold, food debris or damage. Cracked, warped or hard gaskets are bad. Check for leaks by closing the door and running a hand around the edges of the door. If you feel cool air escaping, it’s time to replace the seal. 

Frosted evaporator coils

As refrigerant travels through evaporator coils, it cools down and turns from a liquid into a gas. Evaporator fans blow over the coils to circulate cold air throughout the appliance. Newer refrigerator models come with a defrost system on a timer that automatically turns on to defrost the coils. A broken heater can cause frost can build up on the coils over time. You’ll need the assistance of a service professional, who will use a multimeter to check the defrost heater and determine if it’s the reason your fridge isn’t cooling.

Broken evaporator fan motor

The evaporator fan blows over the evaporator coils to move cool air throughout your refrigerator. Some models have only one fan in the freezer, while others have an additional fan in the refrigerator compartment. If your freezer is still cold, but the fridge is warm, a broken evaporator fan motor might be the cause.

A problematic fan motor might be loud or make odd noises. If the fan blades aren’t turning or can’t turn when you attempt to do so manually, it’s time to call a refrigerator repair technician. If the evaporator fan blades or motor breaks, cooled air can’t get to where it needs to go, so you’ll need to move quickly.

Low refrigerant level

Refrigerant moves through a refrigerator in a continuous cycle of heating and cooling. It transforms from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid throughout its cycle. Your fridge may not be able to stay cool enough if your refrigerant level is too low. Follow these steps to learn how to check your refrigerant levels:

  • Unplug refrigerator
  • Turn off the temperature control
  • Place an ear on the side of the unit
  • Listen for hissing or a gurgling sound

If you hear these sounds, it’s a sign that enough refrigerant (usually Freon) is present. If it’s silent, most likely, your refrigerant level is low. Contact a service professional to check and refill the refrigerant.

Defective thermistor

A thermistor is a device that monitors the temperature inside your refrigerator. It sends temperature readings to the main control board. The control board sends power to the compressor and evaporator fans to maintain the thermostat’s set temperature. The thermistor is tested with a multimeter to determine why your fridge isn’t cooling as it should. A problem with the thermistor will require you to call a service professional.


How do you reset a KitchenAid refrigerator that won't stay cold?

Sometimes, a simple reset solves the problem of a warm fridge. Here’s how to reset the compressor, control panel and water filter indicator in a KitchenAid refrigerator. Also, check the manual that came with your appliance for additional details specific to your model.

Resetting the compressor of a KitchenAid fridge

To reset the compressor, you’ll need to disconnect the fridge’s power source and turn the thermostat dial to the “Off” position. Leave everything off for several minutes and then reconnect the power. Turn the thermostat to the desired temperature, which should trigger electricity to the compressor to restart it.

Resetting the control panel

The first step to reset the control panel is to unplug the refrigerator. You could also shut off the circuit breakers to the fridge’s outlet if that’s easier to access. Leave the fridge without power for 10 minutes, then plug it back in or flip the breakers back on and wait to see if cooling begins. If it doesn’t work, check the temperature control thermostat to make sure it’s on.

Resetting the water filter indicator

After replacing your water filter, you’ll need to reset the water filter indicator. Most KitchenAid refrigerators have an easy reset button on the front of the appliance that blinks when the filter needs to be changed. Hold the button down until the flashing light turns off.


Discover how Cinch helps protect your KitchenAid refrigerator

Cinch Home Services can help you keep your home up and running — including covered major appliances, like your refrigerator — with timely, quality service and budget-friendly home protection plans. Our home warranty plans offer peace of mind, and they’re easy to understand and use, too. You can worry less about unexpected and costly breakdowns when you have Cinch on your side.

Leave the troubleshooting to our national network of verified service professionals. Request service anytime, 24/7 and help will soon be on the way. Find the right Cinch home warranty for your home by requesting a free instant quote today.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to provide potential solutions but aren’t guaranteed to fix the problem. To avoid further issues, though, please seek an expert opinion similar to one offered by a Cinch service provider.


Is your KitchenAid refrigerator not cooling, or is it getting warm? Read this article to learn why your KitchenAid refrigerator may not be cooling properly and how to fix it.