Why the fridge is not cold but the freezer is?

fridge not cooling but freezer works

You just randomly open your fridge and see that the ice cream is in good shape, but the soda is still at room temperature.

How could that be? That’s because the freezer is functioning well, but the refrigerator isn’t. It’s a common issue, and there are many reasons behind it. It could be a malfunctioned defrost system or a broken thermistor, but whatever it is, we’ll help you find it.

Want to know why the fridge is not cold but the freezer is? Do keep reading then!

Why The Fridge Is Not Cold But The Freezer Is?

Here are a few things you should look into to know why your fridge isn’t cooling:

Is The Freezer Overpacked?

Overpacked freezers are a common sight. Since there is space there, it’s a misconception that it can be filled with stuff.

The freezer has air vents to circulate the cold air in the refrigerator, which, when blocked, can skew the airflow. That’s one reason why the freezer remains functional, but the fridge does not.

Check The Evaporator Fan

Most refrigerators have an evaporator fan to move the cold air from the freezer compartment into the evaporator. This air is pushed into the fridge to maintain a proper temperature. When the fan stops working, your freezer works fine, but the refrigerator is warm. 

Check The Damper Control

A damper control is a manually controlled or automatic freezer door that increases or decreases the airflow inside the refrigerator. It allows the air to enter the refrigerator cabinet from the freezer to maintain a low temperature. If it gets jammed and doesn’t open or close properly, the refrigerator won’t have a proper temperature.

Furthermore, it could become dysfunctional if even a single part of the damper control assembly stops working. So, there are high chances of this being the root cause of your problem.

Check The Thermistor

The thermistor is a temperature sensor that relays the temperature reading to the control board. When it becomes dysfunctional, the control board cannot regulate the refrigerator section temperature and makes it warm.

Inspect The Temperature Control Board

A temperature control board is primarily responsible for keeping a low temperature in the refrigerator section, and if it stops working, the fridge will stop cooling. It controls several functions like starting the evaporator coil, controlling the temperature sensor, defrost thermostat, and evaporator fan.

When Did You Last Defrost?

Having ice in the wrong places like evaporator coils and vents could be because of the warm refrigerator and working freezer. This often leads to ice builds inside the freezer compartment, which disrupts the airflow, so keep track of your refrigerator defrosting frequency. Also, if there is a problem with the defrost system, it could be because of two reasons:

Defrost Control Board Not Working

To save the evaporator coils from getting fused, refrigerators have a timed defrost system. This system is run by the defrost control board that engages it at regular intervals. If the control board malfunctions, the fridge won’t be able to get rid of the heat.

One way to find out if the control board is creating trouble – the defrost heater will work fine, yet the refrigerator will be warm.

Defrost Timer Not Working

The control board shuts the defrost timer on and off to remove frost from unwanted areas. When the defrost heater stops working, the defrost timer is usually the culprit.

What To Do?

In most instances of the refrigerator compartment not working despite the freezer, simple fixes can get things running. Here are a few ways to do the job and save yourself from costly repairs:

Maintain A Good Flow Of Cold Air

First off, don’t pack your freezer with unnecessary stuff, and carefully arrange everything such that the vents aren’t obstructed. Also, stick to your freezer capacity while freezing ice, and don’t place too many ice trays; otherwise, it will decrease the supply of air in the refrigerator.

Ensure The Evaporator Fan Motor Is Working Properly

The evaporator fan is present at the backside of the freezer and ensures the proper cooling of the system. Sometimes dirty evaporator or condenser coils can stop your refrigerator from working. That’s because the fan doesn’t spin properly and disturbs the cooling; as a result, your refrigerator becomes warm.

Additionally, a defective evaporator fan motor is unusually noisy; the fan blade slows down and doesn’t turn freely. So, check if the evaporator fan is jammed with dust or debris, and clean it. Also, inspect its motor and see if it has enough grease to rotate smoothly.

Replacing The Evaporator Fan – Replacing an evaporator fan is no rocket science, and you can do it yourself in these simple steps:

1. Unscrew the plastic cover of the evaporator fan cabinet

2. Remove the fan cover

3. The fan will be just above the evaporator coils

4. Remove the screws that keep the fan in place

5. Screw the new fan to the freezer wall and put all the covers back on

Fix The Damper Control

Checking whether the damper control is easy, and you can do it by putting your hand in front of the air vent.

If you don’t feel the flow of cold air and you’re sure the evaporator fan motor is working, then there’s something wrong with the damper control. It may be obstructed or stuck close. So, in case of a removable vent, simply take it out and manually move the damper.

Get The Thermistor Running

Since thermistor resistance changes with the refrigerator temperature, you test it using a multimeter. If the resistance doesn’t fluctuate or lacks continuity, you’ll have to change it.

Ensure The Temperature Control Board Is Working

The temperature control board rarely creates issues and is a technical component. So, if you have ruled out all other possibilities of damage, the board may be faulty. The best way to tackle this is by hiring professionals.

Is The Defrost System Functional?

Refrigerators have a defrost thermostat with a timer, which indicates the defrost system to run in regular intervals. It prevents moisture and frost buildup in the refrigerator, ensuring a uniform temperature throughout. In case your refrigerator doesn’t have a defrost timer, you should manually defrost it from time to time.

However, if it has a timer and you still notice frost buildup, a part of the defrost heater assembly may not be working correctly. It is a technical issue and may require replacing the defrost heater, so it is better to leave it for the experts. However, you can set the timer dial to the defrost cycle option and wait for 30 minutes. In case it doesn’t turn on, you’ll have to replace it.

Some Easy Fixes To Try

Here are some quick tips for troubleshooting your refrigerator before resorting to a maintenance service:

      Check the thermostat; make sure it is turned on

      Remove obstruction from the vents

      Clogged coils slow down the cooling, so vacuum them from behind and under the fridge

      Check for obstruction in the condenser fan

      Dust the fan blade and try spinning it manually to ensure there’s no blockage

      See if the compressor is running; if not, turn it on

When To Call A Professional?

On top of all our tips, you can browse through some easy tutorials on YouTube to get the hang of things. But if nothing seems to work out and it involves the temperature control board, you should hire an electrician to fix the refrigerator; there’s no use in delaying things further.


It is confusing when the freezer works fine, and yet the refrigerator doesn’t, but once you look into their functioning, things make sense. The freezer and fridge are more co-functional than we think, and half of the time, problems occur due to an obstructed airflow.

By keeping a few things in mind, such issues can be avoided for good. Hope our guide was helpful and answered your queries. We’ll sign off with one final tip – avoid overpacking your freezer with stuff that can easily be stored in the fridge.

Need professional help when it comes to refrigerator repair? Look for the nearest appliance repair services in your neighborhood.

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