Why Is Your Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling?

Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling?

Why Is Your Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling?

If your refrigerator is not cooling properly, it can be frustrating and inconvenient.

Most people would assume that when the fridge compressor is running, it should be cooling the contents inside.

However, this is not always the case. There are several reasons why your fridge compressor may be running but not cooling.

In this article, we will explore the potential causes and provide some troubleshooting tips to help you fix the issue.

Common Causes of a Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling

Fridge Compressor Running But Not Cooling?

When your refrigerator is not cooling as it should, there are a few common culprits to consider.

These include clogged coils, a faulty thermostat, a door that isn’t closing properly, poor air circulation, a faulty compressor, clogged or broken condenser coils, a faulty condenser fan, a faulty evaporator fan, and a faulty air damper.

Let’s dive into each of these potential causes and their respective solutions.

1. Clogged Coils

One of the primary reasons why your fridge compressor may be running but not cooling is due to clogged coils.

The coils in your refrigerator play a crucial role in cooling the air. If they become clogged with dirt, dust, or debris, they can hinder the cooling process.

To fix this issue, you can clean the coils using a coil brush and a vacuum cleaner.

Unplug the refrigerator, remove the back panel, and carefully clean the coils.

This simple maintenance task can often restore the cooling capabilities of your fridge.

2. Faulty Thermostat

Another potential cause of a fridge compressor running but not cooling is a faulty thermostat. The thermostat controls the temperature inside the refrigerator.

If it is set too low, the compressor may run continuously without actually cooling the fridge.

Check the thermostat settings and adjust them to the appropriate temperature.

If your fridge doesn’t have digital controls, consult the manual to determine the correct setting.

By ensuring the thermostat is set correctly, you may be able to resolve the cooling issue.

3. Door Isn’t Closing Properly or the Gasket Is Damaged

A common issue that can prevent a fridge from cooling properly is a door that isn’t closing properly or a damaged gasket.

If the door magnets are worn out or the rubber gasket is torn, warm air can enter the fridge, preventing it from reaching the desired temperature.

Check the door magnets to ensure they are functioning correctly. If they are not, you may need to replace them.

Additionally, inspect the rubber gasket for any tears or damage. If you find any, replace the gasket to restore proper cooling.

4. Poor Air Circulation

Poor air circulation inside the refrigerator can also lead to cooling problems.

If food containers or other items are blocking the fan vents, the air cannot circulate properly, causing uneven cooling or no cooling at all.

Organize the contents of your fridge, keeping large containers away from the air vents to allow for proper airflow.

By improving air circulation, you can optimize the cooling performance of your refrigerator.

5. Faulty Compressor

If none of the above solutions resolve the issue, a faulty compressor may be to blame.

The compressor is responsible for compressing the coolant or refrigerant vapor, which aids in cooling the fridge.

If the compressor is not working properly, the fridge may not cool effectively, even if the compressor is running.

Replacing a faulty compressor is a complex task best left to professional technicians.

Contact a qualified technician to diagnose and repair any compressor issues.

6. Clogged or Broken Condenser Coils

Clogged or broken condenser coils can also cause your fridge compressor to run but not cool.

The condenser coils carry hot gas produced by the compressor and cool it down, allowing the fridge to maintain a cold temperature.

If the condenser coils are clogged or broken, the cooling process can be hindered.

To clean the condenser coils, unplug the refrigerator, let the coils cool down, and use a coil brush and vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and debris.

If the coils are broken, they may need to be replaced.

7. Faulty Condenser Fan

The condenser fan helps prevent the compressor and condenser coils from overheating.

If the condenser fan is not functioning correctly, the compressor may shut off due to overheating protection.

To check if the condenser fan is working, unplug the fridge, locate the fan, and try spinning the blades by hand.

If the fan does not spin freely, it may need to be replaced.

Removing and replacing the condenser fan can be done by unplugging the refrigerator, removing the back panel, and installing the new fan in place.

8. Faulty Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan circulates air inside the refrigerator, cooling it in the process.

If the evaporator fan is not working correctly, the cold air may not be distributed effectively, leading to inadequate cooling.

To replace a faulty evaporator fan, remove the panel covering the evaporator, locate the fan, remove it, replace it with a new one, and test if the fan is working properly.

9. Faulty Air Damper

The air damper controls the amount of cold air that flows from the freezer to the fridge.

If the air damper is faulty and does not open, the fridge may not cool properly.

To replace a faulty air damper, unplug the fridge, remove the old damper, and install a new one in its place.

When to Call a Professional

Refrigerator Compressor Running But Not Pumping?

While some fridge cooling issues can be resolved with simple troubleshooting steps, there may be instances where it is best to call a professional technician.

If you have tried the basic troubleshooting tips and your fridge still does not work, it may indicate a more complex problem that requires professional expertise.

A qualified technician can diagnose the issue and provide the necessary repairs. It is important to consider the cost of repair versus the value of your refrigerator.

If the repair costs are too high or the technician advises that it is more cost-effective to replace the fridge, it may be time to start shopping for a new one.

However, if the repair costs are reasonable and the fridge is still in good condition, it is worth considering the repairs to extend the lifespan of your appliance.


In conclusion, when your fridge compressor is running but not cooling, there are several potential causes to consider.

By troubleshooting common issues such as clogged coils, a faulty thermostat, a door that isn’t closing properly, poor air circulation, a faulty compressor, clogged or broken condenser coils, a faulty condenser fan, a faulty evaporator fan, and a faulty air damper, you can often resolve the cooling problem.

If these troubleshooting steps do not work, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional technician. Remember to weigh the cost of repairs against the value of your fridge before making a decision.

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