Your Fridge is Not Cooling, Light is ON? | How To Fix it

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If your fridge is not cooling though the light is on, here is what you should do.

Why is the fridge not cooling? Sometimes, the problem could be as simple as not plugging the socket; or, food packets blocking airflow.

If that isn’t the problem; it could one of the following parts. 

These are the parts that make your refrigerator work- Compressor, Condenser coils, Evaporator coils, Air Damper, Refrigerant or the Thermostat

Understanding Refrigeration

The compressor compresses the refrigerant gas. It increases the temperature. The vapor is sent to the condenser coil. 

The hot gas cools down in the condenser coil and becomes liquid.

The cool liquid flows through the expansion valve.

It enters the evaporator coils inside the freezer and fridge.

The refrigerant absorbs the heat inside while flowing through the evaporator coils.

The refrigerant converts into vapor and goes back to the compressor.

The cycle repeats.

It’s a simplified version of how your refrigerator works. It’s called a vapor compression cycle. Now, we can fix the problems.

The fridge is not cooling though the light is on

The light is connected to a separate circuit. It is working means the refrigerator is receiving electricity. The problem could be in one of the parts given below.

What if Freezer is cooling but Fridge not cooling

This means the refrigeration is fine, but cold air not able to get into the fridge due to ice blockage.  

First of all, remove back panel in the freezer in order to check thermostat and heater for continuity.

Evaporator coils frosted over

Both Fridge and Freezer are not cooling

If both Freezer and Fridge are not cooling, the problem could be in any of the parts. Let’s see where the parts are located and how we can fix the problems


The compressor is a pump and motor. This is the part that makes the sound you hear from behind the fridge.

This is where refrigeration begins. The compressor looks like a tank and is located behind the refrigerator at the bottom.

Problem: Compressor relay switches on and off

If you hear periodical clicking coming from the compressor side, it most likely Start Relay failed and trying to start the compressor, but unable to.

It might be due to overload or due to the age of the compressor, which requires more current to start. It can be also due to a fluctuating voltage supply. This isn’t a big problem to solve.

Solution: Change the start relay.

It’s a small white or black switch-like device located in the wiring of the system. It is mostly located on the bottom side.

It can be easily bought and replaced. You need to ensure that the system is unplugged and you have given it time to slow down.

Condenser coils 

The condenser is a heat exchanger that takes heat from the inside and cools the fridge.

It takes the latent heat from the refrigerant and cools it down. It is in the middle, above the compressor.

Problem: Refrigerant Leaking

The refrigerant passes through condenser coils during the heat exchange. Any leak in the coil can impact the cooling system.

Solution: Repair the condenser coil and replace the refrigerant

The condenser coil can be repaired. As the refrigerant is lost, the whole refrigerant has to be replaced. Low refrigerant is detrimental to the whole cooling unit.

Problem: Dirty Condenser coil

With time, layers of dirt and dust can settle on the coils. This layer disrupts the function of heat exchange and thus the cooling of the fridge.

Solution: Routine Cleaning

The condenser should be cleaned regularly: once a year is good. This is also preventive maintenance.

Problem: Condenser fan not working

The fan attached to the outside unit is the condenser fan. It helps in the dissipation of heat and maintaining airflow. If it stops, the fridge not cooling becomes an issue.

Solution: Replace the condenser fan

Check whether the problem lies in the wiring or motor itself. Find it and replace. The parts can be replaced. The technical specifications come with the unit.

Air Damper

Air Damper is the device that decides how much cold air enters the fridge’s lower portion from the freezer.

The Air Damper is housed inside a plastic box, sealed well to prevent loss of cold air. It is mostly found in the panel at the top.

Problem: Housing Damage

Damage in housing causes a loss of cool air. Even the slightest leak can give rise to both fridge and freezer problems, with no cooling issues.

Solution: Fix the air leaks if possible. Or, change the housing.

Cold Temperature Thermostat

The thermostat is the device that controls the temperature inside the refrigerator. It’s like the brain tells the refrigerator what to do. It is located behind the knob you use to set the temperature.

Problem: Thermostat is not working

You might be setting a low temperature but the temperature inside is not as per your settings.

Solution: Replace Thermostat

Open the unit inside the refrigerator and take the thermostat out. Remove the wiring, clean it and put it again. If it doesn’t work, you have to change it. You can’t repair a thermostat.


Fridge not cooling is not always a big problem. It could be fixed sometimes. If not, call a professional.

And, if the repair is taking more than half of the price at what you bought it, don’t spend money towards repair, rather buy a new refrigerator.

Reader Comments (10)

  1. Hi,
    I have a Maytag Plus side by side fridge freezer in my new home. It was unplugged for at least 6 months before I bought the place. I plugged it in and the light turns on, but that’s it. Nothing else. No sounds, no compressor noise at all and of course no cooling. I left it for about 24 hours, but still nothing, and the temperature settings are at their recommended levels. What do you think the problem is, and how expensive to repair?

  2. Hi Eugene,

    I have an LG fridge model LFX25778ST/00 that neither the fridge nor the freezer is cooling. As you may know it has a linear compressor. This compressor is the worst part ever . Unless than10 years. My question the ughwhat option do I have? And before doing anything stupid.

  3. Hi Eugene, thanks for the pages you do on this site.

    I have a newer LG lfc20770sb fridge that is not getting cold at all in either the upper or lower freezer compartment–room temperature always. I bought it used, the previous owner said it was working, bring it home, transporting it upright, plug in, no cold. It’s been running for 24 hours now with no cold–just room temp air flowing in the freezer. Called LG, they said run for 24-48 hours to “stabilize,” but that didn’t answer the issue of no cold air at all.

    The compressor seems to be running constantly; it’s warm to touch and makes a regular noise. The condenser coil next to it is room temperature. I unplug it, then plug it in, it waits a few seconds, then starts up like it is running normally. A bad compressor?

    • Mine is doing the same I had reset the higher temperature switch with a magnet but only heard 1 click and light went off and I don’t hear the fan r compresser kick on but I hear a click sounds sometimes


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