Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Works? Solutions Here!

  • By: Ethan Clark
  • Date: November 19, 2023
  • Time to read: 19 min.
Ethan Clark
Hailing from the tech-savvy city of San Francisco, Ethan Clark is not just your average appliance enthusiast. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, Ethan's fascination with household gadgets goes beyond mere curiosity. He spent the early years of his career working with leading appliance manufacturers, gaining firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of everything from refrigerators to washing machines. Recognizing a gap in accessible, user-friendly repair guides, Ethan founded ApplianceTweak.com.

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly but the freezer is working fine, you may be experiencing common issues that can be resolved without calling a professional repair service. In this troubleshooting guide, we will outline the most common reasons for a refrigeration cooling issue and provide you with step-by-step solutions to try on your own.

Contents show

Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Works Key Takeaways:

  • Overstuffing the freezer can restrict proper air circulation, leading to cooling issues.
  • Dirty condenser coils can hamper heat transfer and cause the refrigerator to not cool properly.
  • A faulty evaporator fan motor can prevent proper air circulation and cooling in the refrigerator compartment.
  • A malfunctioning thermistor can cause improper temperature monitoring and disrupt cooling.
  • A defrost system failure can lead to frost and ice buildup on the evaporator coils, affecting cooling.

Overstuffing the Freezer

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly but the freezer is working fine, one possible reason for this issue is overstuffing the freezer. When the freezer is packed with too much food, it restricts proper air circulation, leading to the refrigerator warming up. To resolve this problem, avoid overfilling the freezer and ensure that none of the vents between the freezer and refrigerator compartments are blocked.

Overstuffing the freezer can disrupt the airflow, preventing cold air from reaching the refrigerator section. This can result in inadequate cooling and spoilage of perishable items. By maintaining proper organization and avoiding excessive food storage, you can ensure optimal performance and temperature control in your Kenmore Elite refrigerator.

Additionally, it is important to regularly check and clean the freezer to prevent any ice buildup that may further impede airflow. Clearing out excess ice and removing any obstructions can help restore proper cooling functionality to your refrigerator.

Common Causes of Overstuffing the FreezerSolution
Stocking up on too many frozen itemsMonitor your freezer inventory and avoid excessive purchasing of frozen goods.
Poor organization and lack of compartmentalizationInvest in freezer organizers and storage solutions to maximize space and maintain order.
Ignoring expiration datesRegularly check frozen food for expiration dates and discard any items that are no longer safe to consume.

Dirty Condenser Coils

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly but the freezer is working fine, one common issue that may be causing this problem is dirty condenser coils. Over time, dust, pet hair, and other debris can accumulate on the coils, obstructing heat transfer and preventing efficient cooling. To address this issue, it is important to clean the condenser coils regularly.

To clean the condenser coils, start by unplugging the refrigerator and locating the coils. Depending on the model, the coils may be located behind a panel at the back of the fridge or underneath the unit. Use a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to gently remove any visible dust and debris from the coils. You can also use a coil cleaning solution and a cloth to wipe down the coils and remove stubborn dirt.

Once you have cleaned the condenser coils, rinse them with water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. Make sure to dry the coils thoroughly before plugging the refrigerator back in. Regularly cleaning the condenser coils can help maintain the efficiency of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator and prevent cooling problems.

Table: Steps to Clean Condenser Coils

StepDescription
Step 1Unplug the refrigerator
Step 2Locate the condenser coils
Step 3Use a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris
Step 4Apply a coil cleaning solution and wipe down the coils with a cloth
Step 5Rinse the coils with water
Step 6Dry the coils thoroughly
Step 7Plug the refrigerator back in

Problem with Evaporator Fan Motor

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not getting cold and the freezer is still functioning properly, one possible culprit could be a problem with the evaporator fan motor. The evaporator fan motor plays a crucial role in circulating cool air throughout the refrigerator to maintain the desired temperature. When this motor malfunctions, the result can be a refrigerator that fails to cool effectively.

To determine if the evaporator fan motor is the issue, start by checking for any obstructions that might be blocking the fan blades. Look for any debris, ice buildup, or other objects that could be preventing the fan from spinning freely. If you find any blockages, carefully remove them to restore proper airflow.

If there are no visible obstructions and the fan blades can spin freely, the next step is to ensure that the motor is receiving power. Use a multimeter to test the voltage at the motor’s electrical connections. If there is no power, the motor may need to be replaced.

Replacing the evaporator fan motor is a more complex task that may require the assistance of a professional repair technician. If you are not experienced in appliance repair, it is best to consult a professional to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

Common Symptoms of Evaporator Fan Motor Issues:

  • Refrigerator not cooling properly
  • Freezer working fine
  • Noisy or malfunctioning fan

“When the evaporator fan motor is not working, the refrigerator can’t receive the necessary airflow to cool properly. It’s essential to address this issue promptly to prevent food spoilage and ensure the longevity of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator.”

PartsCost
Evaporator Fan Motor$50 – $150

Faulty Thermistor

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cold enough and the freezer is working fine, one possible culprit could be a faulty thermistor. The thermistor is a component that monitors the air temperature inside the refrigerator. If it is not functioning properly, it can inaccurately detect the temperature and cause the refrigerator to not cool as it should. To check if the thermistor is the issue, you can perform a simple test.

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the power source.
  2. Locate the thermistor, which is typically situated in the freezer compartment.
  3. Using a multimeter, test the thermistor for continuity. Place the multimeter probes on the thermistor’s terminals and check if the reading matches the specifications provided in the refrigerator’s user manual.
  4. If the multimeter reading is outside the acceptable range or there is no continuity detected, the thermistor is likely faulty and needs to be replaced.

Replacing the thermistor depends on the specific model of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. Refer to the user manual or contact a professional repair service for guidance on how to properly replace the faulty thermistor.

Why is the Thermistor Important?

The thermistor plays a crucial role in maintaining the correct temperature inside the refrigerator. By accurately detecting the air temperature, it signals the cooling system when to cycle on and off, ensuring that the refrigerator stays at the desired temperature. A faulty thermistor can disrupt this process and prevent the refrigerator from cooling adequately.

“A faulty thermistor can disrupt the refrigerator’s cooling process, leading to inadequate cooling.”

Therefore, if you find that your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cold enough, it is essential to investigate the thermistor as a potential cause. By following the testing procedure outlined above and replacing the faulty thermistor, you can restore proper cooling function to your refrigerator.

Symptoms of a Faulty ThermistorSolutions
The refrigerator is not cooling properlyTest the thermistor for continuity and replace if necessary
The temperature inside the refrigerator fluctuatesCheck the thermistor’s reading with a multimeter and replace if the reading is outside the acceptable range
The freezer is working fine, but the refrigerator section is not coolingPerform the thermistor continuity test and replace if the thermistor is faulty

Defrost System Failure

A possible cause for a Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling while the freezer works is a defrost system failure. The defrost system is responsible for melting frost and ice buildup on the evaporator coils. If this system fails, the refrigerator may not cool properly. One common reason for defrost system failure is a faulty defrost timer. To troubleshoot this issue, check the defrost timer and replace it if necessary.

Common Causes of Defrost System Failure

There are several common causes of defrost system failure in Kenmore Elite refrigerators. These include:

  • Faulty defrost timer
  • Defective defrost heater
  • Broken defrost thermostat

If any of these components are not functioning correctly, the defrost system may not be able to properly melt the ice and frost on the evaporator coils, leading to cooling issues in the refrigerator compartment. It is recommended to check these components and replace them if necessary to resolve the defrost system failure.

ComponentTroubleshooting Steps
Defrost TimerIf the defrost timer is faulty, it may not be advancing to the defrost cycle. Test the defrost timer for continuity using a multimeter. If it is not functioning properly, replace it with a new one.
Defrost HeaterThe defrost heater should be tested for continuity using a multimeter. If there is no continuity, it means the heater is defective and should be replaced.
Defrost ThermostatThe defrost thermostat can also be tested for continuity. If there is no continuity at freezing temperatures, the thermostat is faulty and needs to be replaced.

By identifying and addressing the specific issue with the defrost system, you can restore optimal functioning to your Kenmore Elite refrigerator and ensure that both the freezer and refrigerator compartments are properly cooled.

Section 7: Check Freezer Temperature and Evaporator Unit

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly, it’s important to check the freezer temperature and the condition of the evaporator unit. The freezer temperature acts as a crucial indicator of the overall cooling performance, so it’s essential to ensure it is within the desired range. Use a thermometer to measure the freezer temperature and verify that it is maintaining a consistent temperature of 0°F (-18°C). This ensures that the freezer is functioning correctly and can transfer cold air to the refrigerator compartment.

In addition to checking the freezer temperature, it is also important to examine the evaporator unit in the freezer compartment. The evaporator unit is responsible for extracting heat from the refrigerator and helps maintain the desired temperature. Check if the evaporator unit feels cold to the touch. If it is not cold or there is frost buildup, it may indicate a problem with the unit or the defrost system.

By assessing both the freezer temperature and the condition of the evaporator unit, you can gain valuable insights into the potential causes of the cooling issue. If the freezer temperature is not within the desired range or the evaporator unit is not functioning properly, further troubleshooting or professional assistance may be required to resolve the problem.

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Freezer temperature not within rangeFaulty temperature control thermostatInspect and replace the thermostat if required
Evaporator unit not coldDefrost system failure or faulty evaporator fan motorCheck and repair the defrost system or replace the evaporator fan motor

By addressing any issues with the freezer temperature and evaporator unit, you can take steps towards resolving the cooling problem in your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. However, if troubleshooting efforts are not successful, it is advisable to seek professional assistance for further diagnosis and repair.

Inspect Door Seals

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling enough, the culprit may be faulty door seals. Damaged or worn-out seals can allow warm air to enter the refrigerator, preventing it from reaching the desired temperature. To determine if the door seals are the issue, perform a simple test. Place a piece of paper between the door and the door jamb and close the door. Try to pull out the paper. If it comes out easily or falls out, it indicates that the door seals may need to be repaired or replaced.

Properly functioning door seals are essential for maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of your refrigerator. When inspecting the door seals, look for any gaps, tears, or signs of damage. If you identify any issues, you can try cleaning the seals with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before checking for a proper seal.

If cleaning the door seals doesn’t resolve the cooling problem, it’s recommended to contact a professional repair service. They can inspect the seals more thoroughly and determine if they need to be repaired or replaced to ensure optimal cooling performance.

Common Signs of Faulty Door Seals:

  • Visible gaps between the door and the refrigerator
  • Frost or condensation buildup on the inside of the refrigerator
  • The refrigerator feels warm to the touch
  • Frequent cycling of the compressor

By addressing faulty door seals promptly, you can avoid further cooling issues and potentially save on energy costs. Regular maintenance and inspection of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator’s door seals are key to ensuring its optimal performance and longevity.

IssuePossible Solution
Faulty door sealsInspect and clean the seals. Replace if necessary.
Gaps between door and refrigeratorAlign and adjust the door using a screwdriver, if possible
Tears or damage to the sealsReplace the damaged seals with new ones

Section 9: Check Compressor and Sealed System

If all other troubleshooting steps have been unsuccessful, it’s time to check the compressor and sealed system of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. These components play a crucial role in the cooling process, and any issues with them can result in a refrigerator that doesn’t cool properly while the freezer continues to work.

To start, ensure that the compressor is running properly. The compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant through the system, and if it’s not functioning correctly, it can lead to cooling problems. Listen for any unusual sounds coming from the compressor, like clicking or buzzing noises, as these may indicate a malfunction. If you suspect an issue with the compressor, it’s best to contact a licensed refrigerator repair professional for further diagnosis and repair.

In addition to the compressor, it’s essential to check for any blockages or leaks in the sealed system. The sealed system contains the refrigerant and plays a vital role in the cooling process. A leak or blockage in this system can prevent the proper flow of refrigerant, leading to cooling issues. If you suspect a problem with the sealed system, it’s important to contact a professional technician as repairing or replacing components in the sealed system requires specialized knowledge and equipment.

Checking the compressor and sealed system can be complex, and it’s best left to professionals who have the expertise and tools to diagnose and repair these components effectively. By seeking professional assistance, you can ensure that your Kenmore Elite refrigerator receives the necessary repairs to restore its cooling functionality.

Common IssuesNext Steps
Compressor not runningContact a licensed refrigerator repair professional for further diagnosis and repair.
Blockages or leaks in the sealed systemContact a professional technician for specialized repair and maintenance.

Section 10: Cleaning the Condenser Fan Motor

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly, one possible cause could be a dirty condenser fan motor. The condenser fan motor plays a crucial role in circulating air through the refrigerator, and if it is not working correctly, the refrigerator may not cool as it should. Dust buildup can cause the motor to overheat and fail, leading to cooling issues. To address this problem, follow the steps below to clean the condenser fan motor:

  1. First, unplug the refrigerator from the power source to ensure your safety.
  2. Locate the panel in the back of the refrigerator that covers the condenser fan motor.
  3. Remove the panel carefully, using a screwdriver if needed, to expose the condenser fan motor.
  4. With a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, gently clean the fan blades and the surrounding area to remove any dust or debris.
  5. Once the fan blades are clean, use a damp cloth to wipe down the motor, removing any remaining dirt.
  6. Reinstall the panel in the back of the refrigerator and ensure it is securely in place.
  7. Plug the refrigerator back into the power source and observe if the cooling issue has been resolved.

Cleaning the condenser fan motor can improve its performance and help restore proper cooling function to your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. If the problem persists after cleaning the fan motor, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance for further diagnosis and repair.

To prevent future issues, it is recommended to clean the condenser fan motor and perform regular maintenance on your refrigerator according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Kitchen Elite refrigerator not cooling properlyDirty condenser fan motorClean the condenser fan motor following the steps provided above
Kenmore refrigerator not cooling but the freezer is fineOverheated or failed condenser fan motorRefer to the cleaning instructions to clean the condenser fan motor or seek professional assistance if necessary

Checking and Replacing the Start Relay

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling or freezing properly, the start relay may be a potential culprit. The start relay is responsible for providing power to the compressor when the refrigerator starts up. If the start relay is faulty, it can prevent the compressor from starting, resulting in cooling issues.

To determine if the start relay is causing the problem, listen for the sound of the compressor starting when you turn on the refrigerator. If the compressor does not start, it is likely that the start relay needs to be replaced.

Replacing the start relay requires following the guidelines provided in your refrigerator’s manual or seeking professional assistance. It is important to ensure that you have the correct replacement part to avoid any compatibility issues. Consider reaching out to a licensed refrigerator repair service for guidance and assistance in replacing the start relay.

“The start relay provides power to the compressor when the refrigerator starts up. If the start relay is faulty, it can prevent the compressor from starting and lead to cooling issues.”

By addressing the potential issue with the start relay, you can effectively troubleshoot and resolve cooling problems in your Kenmore Elite refrigerator. Remember to unplug the refrigerator before attempting any repairs or replacements. If you are unsure of your technical abilities, it is always recommended to seek professional help to ensure the proper functioning of your refrigerator.

Relay SymptomsPossible Solution
The compressor does not startReplace the start relay
Refrigerator not cooling or freezing properlyCheck the start relay for faults and replace if necessary
Unusual clicking noise from the refrigeratorInspect the start relay and replace if needed

Addressing Temperature Control Issues

If your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly but the freezer is working fine, one of the potential causes could be temperature control issues. The temperature control thermostat plays a crucial role in regulating the internal temperature of the refrigerator. If it malfunctions, it can result in inconsistent cooling performance.

To address temperature control issues, there are a few steps you can take. First, ensure that there are no power supply issues affecting the refrigerator. Check if the power cord is securely plugged in, and if there are any tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses, replace them if necessary.

Next, clean the temperature control thermostat to ensure its proper functionality. Gently remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the thermostat using a soft cloth or sponge. Be cautious not to damage the thermostat or any surrounding components during the cleaning process.

If the temperature control issues persist after cleaning, it may be necessary to replace the temperature control thermostat. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to replace the thermostat, or consider seeking professional assistance to ensure the replacement is done correctly.

Common Causes of Temperature Control IssuesSolutions
Power supply issuesCheck power cord and circuit breakers/fuses
Dirty temperature control thermostatClean the thermostat gently with a soft cloth or sponge
Faulty temperature control thermostatRefer to the owner’s manual for replacement instructions or seek professional assistance

By addressing temperature control issues in your Kenmore Elite refrigerator, you can help ensure that it maintains the desired cooling performance. Remember to follow the appropriate troubleshooting steps and seek professional help when needed to resolve any cooling issues effectively.

Conclusion

In summary, if your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is not cooling properly while the freezer works fine, there are several common issues that you can troubleshoot before calling for professional repair. By following these troubleshooting steps, you may be able to resolve the problem and avoid the hassle and expense of a service call.

First, check for overstuffing in the freezer. Ensure there is proper air circulation by avoiding excessive food storage and keeping the vents unobstructed between the freezer and refrigerator compartments. Next, inspect the condenser coils for any dust or debris buildup. Cleaning them with a vacuum or coil cleaning solution can improve heat transfer and restore cooling efficiency.

In the face of a Kenmore Elite Refrigerator not cooling while the freezer works seamlessly, solutions are at your fingertips. For official troubleshooting, refer to the Kenmore site here. Dive deeper into practical advice at ApplianceTweak, your ally in home appliance mastery. With a combination of official guidance and community-driven insights, you’re equipped to conquer the cooling challenge. Your refrigerator’s optimal performance and your peace of mind are just a click away!

If the refrigerator still doesn’t cool properly, check the evaporator fan motor and thermistor. Clear any obstructions from the fan blades and test the thermistor’s functionality using a multimeter. Faulty components may need to be replaced to restore proper cooling.

Other potential causes include defrost system failure, faulty door seals, or issues with the compressor and sealed system. Check the freezer temperature, evaporator unit, and door seals for any abnormalities. If all else fails, consulting a licensed refrigerator repair professional is recommended for further diagnosis and repair.

Remember, addressing cooling issues promptly can help prolong the lifespan of your Kenmore Elite refrigerator and ensure that it continues to keep your food fresh.

FAQ

What could be causing my Kenmore Elite refrigerator to not cool properly but the freezer works fine?

There are several common issues that can cause this problem, including overstuffing the freezer, dirty condenser coils, a problem with the evaporator fan motor, a faulty thermistor, defrost system failure, and issues with the compressor and sealed system. By troubleshooting these issues, you may be able to resolve the cooling problem.

Why does overstuffing the freezer lead to a refrigerator cooling issue?

When the freezer is packed with too much food, it restricts proper air circulation, which can lead to the refrigerator warming up. To resolve this issue, avoid overfilling the freezer and ensure that none of the vents between the freezer and refrigerator compartments are blocked.

How can dirty condenser coils affect the cooling of my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

Dirty condenser coils prevent efficient heat transfer, which can lead to cooling issues. To fix this, unplug the refrigerator and vacuum the coils with a brush attachment. You can also wipe them down with a coil cleaning solution and rinse with water. Dry the coils thoroughly before plugging the refrigerator back in.

What role does the evaporator fan motor play in the cooling of the refrigerator?

The evaporator fan motor is responsible for circulating air throughout the refrigerator. If it is not working properly, the freezer may be cold, but the refrigerator won’t cool down. Check for any blockages obstructing the fan blades and ensure that the motor is receiving power. If the motor is not working despite receiving power, it may need to be replaced.

What is the thermistor and how can a faulty thermistor affect the cooling of my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

The thermistor is a component that monitors the air temperature in the refrigerator. If it is faulty, it can cause the refrigerator to not cool properly. To test the thermistor, unplug the fridge, locate the thermistor in the freezer compartment, and test it with a multimeter. If the thermistor is found to be faulty, it should be replaced.

How does a defrost system failure impact the cooling of the refrigerator?

The defrost system is responsible for melting frost and ice buildup on the evaporator coils. If this system fails, the refrigerator may not cool properly. One common reason for defrost system failure is a faulty defrost timer. To troubleshoot this issue, check the defrost timer and replace it if necessary.

How can I check the freezer temperature and the evaporator unit in my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

Use a thermometer to verify that the freezer is maintaining a temperature of 0°F (-18°C). Additionally, check if the evaporator unit in the freezer compartment is cold to the touch. If the freezer temperature is not within the desired range or the evaporator unit is not cold, further troubleshooting or professional assistance may be required.

Can faulty door seals affect the cooling of my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

Yes, faulty door seals can cause warm air to enter the refrigerator, preventing it from reaching the desired temperature. Check the door seals by placing a piece of paper between the door and the door jamb and attempting to pull it out with the door closed. If the paper comes out easily or falls out, the door seals may need to be repaired or replaced.

What should I do if all other troubleshooting steps have been unsuccessful?

If all other troubleshooting steps have failed, it may be necessary to check the compressor and sealed system of the Kenmore Elite refrigerator. Ensure that the compressor is running properly and that there are no blockages or leaks in the sealed system. If there are issues with the compressor or sealed system, it is recommended to contact a licensed refrigerator repair professional for further diagnosis and repair.

How can cleaning the condenser fan motor help resolve cooling issues in my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

The condenser fan motor helps circulate air through the refrigerator, and if it is not working, the refrigerator will not cool properly. Dust buildup can cause the motor to overheat and fail. To fix this, unplug the refrigerator, remove the panel in the back, and clean the condenser fan motor of any dust or debris. Reinstall the panel and plug the refrigerator back in to see if the cooling issue is resolved.

What role does the start relay play in the cooling of my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

The start relay provides power to the compressor when the refrigerator starts up. If the start relay is faulty, it can prevent the compressor from starting and lead to cooling issues. To test the start relay, listen for the sound of the compressor starting when the refrigerator is turned on. If the compressor does not start, the start relay may need to be replaced. Consult the refrigerator’s manual or contact a professional repair service for guidance.

What should I do if I’m experiencing temperature control issues with my Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

Temperature control issues can lead to inconsistent cooling. Check for power supply issues and clean the thermostat to ensure proper functionality. If necessary, replace the temperature control thermostat following the guidelines provided in the owner’s manual or seek professional assistance.

How can I troubleshoot and fix my Kenmore Elite refrigerator if it is not cooling properly?

Troubleshooting a Kenmore Elite refrigerator not cooling while the freezer works involves identifying common issues such as overstuffing, dirty condenser coils, problems with the evaporator fan motor or thermistor, defrost system failure, and checking the compressor and sealed system. By following the appropriate troubleshooting steps and seeking professional help whenever necessary, it is possible to resolve cooling issues and ensure that your Kenmore Elite refrigerator is working properly.

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