Frigidaire refrigerators are generally reliable. However, like with many modern electronic home appliances, there’s a possibility something can go wrong with them from time to time. For this article, I’ll go through the common causes and fixes for this problem: Frigidaire refrigerator is not cooling, but the freezer is fine.
A faulty evaporator fan motor can cause the freezer or refrigerator not to cool properly. The main function of the evaporator fan motor is to pull cool air over the evaporator coils to remove heat and moisture and distribute the cool air throughout the freezer. To know if it’s working properly, try turning the fan blade with your hand to see if it spins continuously.
Read on to learn about the reasons for Frigidaire fridge not cooling and what you can do to fix each cause.
Why Is Your Frigidaire Refrigerator Not Working, But the Freezer Still Works?
Common reasons for a warm Frigidaire refrigerator are simple to repair. However, other Frigidaire refrigerator common problems might require the help of a highly-rated professional appliance repair expert. Below are some of the possible reasons and solutions for this problem:
1. Refrigerator Door Won’t Stay Shut
Rearrange the Items Inside the Refrigerator
You can inspect the door to determine if items obstruct the hinges or push against the door. Once you determine this is the problem, try rearranging, removing, and/or moving items inside your refrigerator.
That way, they’re not protruding off the edge of your shelf and preventing your refrigerator door from closing.
Check If the Door Hinges Are Out of Alignment
If that’s not the problem, check if the door hinges are out of alignment. Sometimes, after years of use, the hinge screws of your refrigerator’s door are loose. To fix this, tighten and adjust the hinge screws.
Use a Level Bar to Check If the Refrigerator Is Tilted Forward
Another reason is your Frigidaire refrigerator might be tilted forward so that the door won’t stay shut. Use a level bar to check if your refrigerator is level from side to side and front to back.
The floor under your refrigerator should also be level. If the floor is unlevel, you might need to use level shims or adjust the height of the threaded leveling legs on your refrigerator.
Dirty or Detached Door Seal
If none of these three are the culprits, the problem must be your refrigerator’s door seal, also called a gasket. As the name implies, the rubber or plastic seal goes around the edges of the door to prevent air from leaking out.
If it becomes deformed, dirty, detached, or stiff, it allows cool air to escape and warm air to enter, compromising the freshness of the food in the freezer and refrigerator.
Here are a few things you could do about this problem:
- Clean the door gasket at least once a week.
- Apply an adequate amount of petroleum jelly into areas along the edges of the door where you feel a little gust of cold air. Use a cotton swab for this purpose, not your fingers.
- If it’s ancient and defective, it’s time to replace the gasket. A door gasket for Frigidaire refrigerators can cost anywhere between $44 and $204.
One way of knowing if your refrigerator door gaskets are bad is by using the paper test:
- Place a piece of paper between your refrigerator door and fridge.
- Close the door, and then try to pull the paper gently.
- If the paper slips easily or falls out without being pulled, you may need to clean or replace the gaskets.
2. Too Many Items Inside the Refrigerator
If too many items are inside your refrigerator, cold air from the freezer can’t circulate properly to keep your food and drinks cold. This causes the motor to work harder, which would eventually cause it to fail. Once that happens, your refrigerator becomes warm, and your food spoils.
What’s more, overstocking could block the air vents. This prevents air from flowing freely into the different compartments in your refrigerator, causing it to feel warm. Your food and drinks may freeze if placed too near the vents.
Here are a few things to consider to maintain the right temperature in your Frigidaire refrigerator:
- Always fill it 3/4 full to maintain proper airflow.
- Don’t place items too close or directly in the path of the freezer air flow.
- Use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the temperature inside your refrigerator is at or below 40°F (4°C).
- Clean your refrigerator regularly. Throw away your leftovers (food you haven’t touched for two days) and all expired or recalled items.
3. Defective Components
Evaporator Fan Motor
Depending on the model, you can find the evaporator fan motor at the back of the freezer or refrigerator compartment. It draws air from the evaporator coils to remove the circulating air’s heat.
The cooled air then goes throughout the freezer and refrigerator compartments.
The evaporator fan motor also reduces moisture in the air, so the frost will not build up on the evaporator coils. If there’s some frost on the evaporator coils, your refrigerator doesn’t get cold as you’d like.
If for whatever reason, the evaporator fan motor stops working, the internal temperature of your refrigerator will rise. Therefore, the fan won’t be able to blow cold air to your fresh food and drinks.
Signs of a Defective Evaporator Fan Motor
Other signs of a defective evaporator fan motor include:
- The fans are working, but the speed of the blades is slow.
- The cooling fans completely stop working.
- You can hear a rattling noise from the condenser unit (located on the back or across the bottom).
- The fuse is blown.
- Your refrigerator smells like burning plastic.
Evaporator Fan Motor Replacement Cost
You can buy a replacement fan motor from Frigidaire or any of their local parts distributor. Expect to spend anywhere from $14.44 to $94.55 for a new Frigidaire fan motor.
The location of the evaporator coils will differ for every model. You’ll usually find them on a refrigerator’s back, top, or bottom behind the kickplate grill.
Absorb the Heat from the Items Inside the Fridge
The evaporator coils work by soaking up the heat from the food and other items inside your refrigerator. As a result, the liquid refrigerant (a cooling agent) inside the evaporator coils absorbs this heat, causing the air to cool down.
After this, the liquid refrigerant turns into vapor and goes back to the compressor, where the refrigeration cycle starts.
Causes of a Defective Evaporator Coil
There are two possible reasons the evaporator coils will stop working properly:
- Clogging due to dirt buildup
- Frost accumulation
Clean Evaporator Coils At Least Every Six to Twelve Months
To prevent dust, pet hair, and grime from building up, clean your evaporator coils at least every six to twelve months. If you have pets that shed like crazy, you should clean them more frequently.
Cleaning your evaporator coils is generally a short and easy task. The easiest way is to use a compressed air canister or a vacuum to remove stubborn dirt and dust without removing the grill.
But before anything else, please don’t forget to unplug your refrigerator before you start cleaning your evaporator coils.
With the newer Frigidaire refrigerator models, you don’t need to perform manual defrosting. However, you might need to do it manually if it’s an older model. This is generally a complicated task, so it’s better to let the professionals do it.
Cost of Evaporator Coil Replacement
How much does it cost to replace evaporator coils? The average price of a replacement evaporator coil could range between $200 and $1,500. This doesn’t include the installation cost, which could cost up to $1,200.
Again, why is your Frigidaire fridge not cooling, but the freezer works? If your Frigidaire fridge is not cooling, but the freezer works, this might be due to a faulty evaporator fan. The evaporator fan’s main function is to draw cold air over the coils. Then, circulates the air throughout the freezer.
Also Called the Baffle and Diffuser
The air damper is also called the baffle and diffuser. It’s a small flap that controls the flow of cold air (and thus the temperature) that enters the fresh food compartment from the evaporator fan housing.
Works in Tandem with the Thermostat
It works in tandem with the thermostat. The thermostat dictates when it opens and closes, depending on the temperature.
If the air damper doesn’t open, the cold air can’t flow freely to the fresh food compartment. Consequently, the refrigerator’s temperature rises higher than the normal temperature.
Tips When Conducting Air Damper Inspection
Tips and reminders for inspecting the air damper:
- Don’t forget to unplug your refrigerator before you start the inspection.
- Open your refrigerator door, and then look for the air damper by locating where the cold air gets into the fresh food compartment. It’s usually positioned at the top of the refrigerator or on the back panel.
- Inspect the air damper regularly to see if it’s broken. In some Frigidaire models, a vent might be protecting the damper flap. Remove it and find out if you can manually remove the air damper.
- Be careful when inspecting the housing for the air damper because you could damage the foam seal or the Styrofoam lining.
- Try to operate the control knob of the air damper to make sure it’s working properly.
Air Damper Replacement Cost
The average price of a Frigidaire air damper is around $101 to $147. Consider the labor costs, ranging from $150 to $250.
Defrost Control Board
Determine the Defrosting Cycle Frequency
The main job of the defrost control board is to determine the defrosting cycle frequency. If it stops working properly, it won’t activate the defrost mode.
So, the excessive buildup of frost or ice on the evaporator coils will make your refrigerator work harder to get rid of heat. This causes the temperature in your refrigerator to go up.
Replacing a defective defrost control board will cost around $103 to $402. That’s excluding the labor.
When fixing a defrosting-related problem, technicians will usually check the defrost heater and the defroster thermostat to ensure they’re working perfectly. If they are, the defrost control board is the most likely culprit.
You’ll normally find the defrost heater underneath the evaporator coils. It runs several times a day to melt away the frost or ice that forms on the surface of the evaporator coils. If it develops a problem, frost builds up on the evaporator coils, resulting in a warm refrigerator.
The defrost thermostat is responsible for helping the evaporator coils maintain the desired temperature levels. If this device malfunctions, it can’t recognize the current temperature around the coils, which will eventually become covered in frost.
Consequently, the defrost thermostat contacts will not close to let power course through the heater.
Temperature Sensors or Refrigerator Evaporator Sensors
Thermistors, also known as temperature sensors or refrigerator evaporator sensors, are crucial temperature-sensing devices that allow various systems in your refrigerator to remain within the ideal short temperature range.
They’re highly sensitive and react fast and reliably with small temperature changes. For example, if your refrigerator becomes too warm, it activates the cooling cycles.
Defective Thermistor Could Feed Wrong Information
Defective thermistors could feed the wrong temperature information to the main board. This could result in extreme temperatures (i.e., a refrigerator that’s too cold or too warm) because your refrigerator can’t maintain the temperature you set.
Other Signs of a Defective Thermistor
Here are other signs that your refrigerator has a defective thermistor:
- The temperature keeps changing throughout the day.
- Your refrigerator operates for prolonged periods because of incorrect temperature readings.
- The defrosting cycle doesn’t start, so frost builds up on the evaporator coils.
Again, contact a certified technician to diagnose and fix the problem if you suspect any of your thermistors are malfunctioning. Frigidaire thermistors can cost $24.99 to $84.98 each.
Switches the Refrigerator Between Defrost and Cooling Modes at Regular Intervals
The defrost timer’s purpose is to switch your refrigerator between defrost and cooling modes at regular intervals. This could happen once or twice a day at a 6-, 12- or 24-hour interval.
For instance, if it’s set at a 12-hour interval, your refrigerator will automatically defrost once every 12 hours. The defrost cycle could last 25 to 45 minutes, depending on your refrigerator model.
Can Cause Frost to Accumulate on the Evap Coils
If your defrost timer stops working properly during the cooling mode, it causes frost to accumulate on the evaporator coils and restricts airflow.
The opposite happens if it stops during the defrost mode. During the defrost mode, all the frosts will be gone, and your refrigerator will not return to cooling mode.
Use a Volt-Ohm Meter
To test for continuity, the best way to determine if your defrost timer is defective is to use a Volt-Ohm meter multimeter.
This will require you to take out your defrost timer, so it might be best to let a professional do this for safety reasons. If you need to buy a new one, you can expect Frigidaire defrost timers to cost between $16.30 and $75.10.
Conclusion – Frigidaire Refrigerator Not Cooling, but the Freezer Is Fine
There are many reasons why a Frigidaire refrigerator becomes warm, even though the freezer is working perfectly.
Sometimes, you must clean or replace the door gasket and avoid crowding it with too many items. Or, it could be due to a faulty refrigerator part, such as an evaporator fan and a thermistor.
Buying new parts and hiring a professional to fix a refrigerator that’s not cooling can be expensive.
So, suppose you want to extend the life of your Frigidaire refrigerator and avoid costly repairs. In that case, it greatly helps if you let a professional technician perform periodic inspections and maintenance (including cleaning the coils).