Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor [Problems Solved]

If you notice any issue with a Kenmore refrigerator compressor, it is best to fix it as soon as possible. It helps keep the refrigerator functioning optimally.

Kenmore 50049 25 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Ice Maker with Window in Black

Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Turning On and Off – Quick Fix

The following are the likely causes of a compressor turning on and off in a Kenmore refrigerator:

1. Defective Start Relay

To check this, unplug the refrigerator from electric power. Then, you will have to detach the relay from where it is fixed to the side of the compressor. When you detach it, shake it to see if there is a rattling sound.

If there is a rattling sound, the relay is damaged and should be replaced. A defective start relay will keep the compressor from starting and running smoothly.

This is the likeliest reason for this problem. What you will hear is the compressor trying to turn on but going off after just a few seconds.

You can also check the start capacitor as it helps the compressor to operate well along with the start relay.

2. Damaged Power Cord

Disconnect the cord of the refrigerator from the wall outlet and inspect it for any damage. If there are burns or any other type of damage, replace the power cord. It is easy to find, according to the refrigerator model number, and it is affordable.

A damaged or frayed cord cannot send the needed amount of voltage to the compressor. Because of this, the compressor would be unable to run smoothly. So you may hear it turning on and off too often.

In addition, you should know that a frayed or damaged cord is a risk to have around. It could cause a fire outbreak so it is important to change it as soon as possible.

3. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat cannot send any signal to the main control board to power up the compressor. The same is true if the thermostat is set incorrectly. As a result, the compressor turns on and off as it tries to run.

Therefore, check the setting and adjust it accordingly. This may straighten out the problem with the compressor. It also lets you know whether or not the problem is from the compressor itself.

4. Dusty Condenser Coils

Dirt and debris on the coils cause the compressor to become overloaded, run hot and stop running completely.

Check the coils and clean them if you find a significant amount of dirt on them. Attach a hose to a vacuum cleaner or take a refrigerator condenser brush and clean the coils. This should be done as often as 2 times every year.

You can also use this opportunity to clean the compressor itself and the fan with the motor. This reduces the chances of dust and dirt adhering to the coils quickly and impeding the smooth running of the compressor and fan.

What Is the Warranty on a Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor?

The warranty on a Kenmore refrigerator compressor is 10 years. But this applies only to linear compressors.

How to Replace a Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor

To replace the compressor on a Kenmore refrigerator, take the following steps:

Step 1: Prepare

You will find the compressor at the bottom back of the unit. So pull the unit away from the surface behind it and unplug it from the wall outlet.

Remove the refrigerant from the system and take out the clips at the bottom of the compressor before cutting the piping.

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Step 2: Uninstall the Old Compressor

Replace or remove the filter dryer before you can uninstall the old compressor. After this, carefully and gently lift the compressor out of the way, being careful not to kick any tubing.

Be sure to sand down the connectors. This is because to braze them is delicate and if it is not done when needed, correction is extremely difficult.

Step 3: Install the New Compressor

Put the new compressor in the space created by the removal of the old one. Put back the filter dryer, too.

Next, connect the joints of the compressor snuggly and start brazing. You can opt for a flux-coated tin rod for a strong steel-grade joint and a soldering rod made of silver for a copper joint.

Afterwards, ensure the joints and every other connection are tight. Then, you can clean up the work area.

Step 4: Clean the Compressor

Before adding refrigerant, it is important for you to clean the inside of the compressor to remove any moisture on it.

So, attach the low and high sides to the manifold gauge. Then, fix the tube in the middle to a vacuum pump.

Step 5: Add Refrigerant

Your Kenmore refrigerator and the label on the refrigerant you buy will let you know the amount to add. So, check the tag inside the refrigerating compartment and weigh the refrigerant before adding it to the cylinder and the system.

You may want to add a little extra of the refrigerant. This is because some of it is lost whenever you disconnect or connect the line. Therefore, the amount in the system does not reduce.

Step 6: Finish Up

Plug the refrigerator back into the wall outlet. Then, give it some time to power and for the compressor to start running smoothly. It may take up to 4 hours. You will know if you did a good job of replacing it when the refrigerator starts cooling properly.

Important Notes

It helps to take pictures of wire and tube connections as you remove each one. When reconnecting them, you can consult the pictures so you don’t make a mistake.

And if the compressor is a linear one, you cannot connect the terminal connector to the original place. This is because it will no longer fit there. Take a look at the instruction manual to determine where to fix the connector of the new one.

Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Buzzing – What to Do

If you find that the compressor on your Kenmore refrigerator is buzzing or humming, check for dirt and debris on it. Also, check the condenser fan beside it for dirt.

Clean both of them using a soft brush until all the dirt is gone. But do this after disconnecting the refrigerator from electric power.

You should also check to see if the condenser coils are dirty. Clean them if they are because they are likely to cause the buzzing or humming sound from the compressor.

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Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Not Running – How to Fix

There are different reasons why the compressor on a Kenmore refrigerator is not running and they are:

1. Start Relay Is Damaged

This is usually the first thing to check if the compressor stops running. The start capacitor also plays a role here.

Remove the relay from the compressor and smell it. If there is a burnt odor, replace the relay. And if it rattles when you shake it, replace it.

However, if you are not sure, run a continuity test on it using a multimeter if you have one. Place the probes of the multimeter between the two terminals. If there is no continuity, replace the relay.

2. Condenser Fan Motor Is Faulty

Take a look at the blades of the fan to see if anything is keeping them from spinning freely. Clean them and make sure they spin well. If they don’t, it is likely that the bearings of the motor are worn. So, replace the motor.

However, if the blades spin well, take a multimeter and test the motor to check for continuity. If you don’t find continuity, replace the fan or just the motor.

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Overheating can cause the compressor to stop running. And the compressor would overheat if the fan no longer operates. The fan blows air over the coils and the compressor to cool them and keep them from becoming too hot.

3. Condenser Coils Need Cleaning

Cleaning the condenser coils in a refrigerator cannot be overemphasized. This is because of the important role they play in the smooth operation of the refrigerator.

Make sure you clean them once every 6 months or 12 months. Doing this keeps them functioning optimally.

If they are dirty, the compressor would become too hot and may stop running completely over time. And if the compressor does not run, the refrigerator won’t cool.

4. Power Cord Is Damaged

Check the power cord to see if it is fully plugged into the wall outlet. Push it in firmly and wait to see if the compressor kicks into action.

If it does not, unplug the cord and check it for any damages. Replace it with the right part for the model if it is damaged. You save yourself a lot of money if you do this quickly.

However, if the cord is in good working condition, then plug another appliance into that same wall outlet. This is to check for voltage output. Use a table lamp for this test.

You will have to replace the outlet if the output is poor. A certified electrician can do this for you.

You can also check the fuses and circuit breaker to see if there is any damage. This is especially needed if there was a recent power surge or outage.

5. Temperature Controls Are Bad

If they are bad, the compressor may not turn on at all. The same is true if they are turned off.

Therefore, check them to determine if they are off. Turn them on and wait for the compressor. If it starts running, you know the compressor is still working.

6. Thermistor Is Malfunctioning

Run a continuity test on the thermistor using a multimeter. Its resistance should change as the temperature in the unit changes. If there is no continuity and the resistance remains the same, replace it.

A malfunctioning thermistor can keep the compressor from working. This is because the thermistor reads the temperature and sends results to the control board.

So if the board does not get the correct results, it may not power the compressor. As a result, it won’t run at all.

2188820 Thermistor Replacement for Whirpool/Kenmore 12 Month Warranty




7. Compressor Is Damaged

You may have to replace the compressor if all else is in good working condition. If you know how to test a compressor, then you can check it for life.

Otherwise, contact a licensed appliance technician to run the test and replace the compressor if necessary.

Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Is Hot to the Touch – Solved

Check the following parts if a Kenmore refrigerator compressor is hot to the touch:

1. Condenser Coils

Maintain the condenser coils by cleaning them. It helps to check them from time to time, especially if you have pets that shed hair.

The compressor will become too hot to be touched if it is overloaded. And it will be overloaded if the coils are dirty.

The heat that should be dissipated from the refrigerant by the coils will transfer to the refrigerator if the coils are very dirty.

So, the compressor becomes overburdened to help the unit maintain a cool temperature. And in some cases, the refrigerator still won’t cool properly.

2. Evaporator Fan

A failed evaporator fan affects how much work the compressor has to do. Check the functionality of the fan by turning the blades. If they are stiff, something is wrong with the motor.

But if they turn well, check the continuity of the motor with a multimeter. If you don’t find continuity, replace the motor. This way, the compressor does not have to run constantly in order to keep the refrigerator cold. If it runs constantly, it would become too hot and the refrigerator may not cool.

3. Temperature Control Thermostat

Make sure the thermostat is in the correct setting. Keeping it too high or too low affects the compressor.

But to check it, turn it to the highest point and wait for a click. The click tells you that it is working fine. However, if there is no click, check for continuity using a multimeter. If there is no continuity at any temperature setting, replace the thermostat.

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If it is too low, the compressor automatically works harder to make up for the slack. Consequently, it overheats from all the work.

4. Refrigerant

You cannot check the level of the refrigerant in the unit yourself unless you have the technical know-how.

But know that if it is low, the compressor would run too long and too hard. And as a result, it will become hot from overworking itself. A compressor that runs constantly or non-stop overheats.

Get professional help. Contact Kenmore or Sears to report your suspicion of low refrigerant and describe how it is affecting your refrigerator.

While you wait for help, disconnect the refrigerator from power and put the perishable food in another refrigerator. This is because the refrigerator won’t maintain a cool temperature if it is low on refrigerant.

5. Compressor

The compressor itself may be defective. So while it appears to be operating well, it is not working. And the continuous running makes it hot.

With a multimeter, run a continuity test between the pins on the compressor’s side. That is where the start relay attaches.

If you find a circuit that is open, you may have to replace the compressor. By law, only a licensed technician should perform this task.

How to Test a Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor

To test the compressor on a Kenmore refrigerator, disconnect the unit from the wall outlet first. Next, detach the start relay and overload protector from the compressor.

Now, take a digital multimeter and set it to Ohms resistance. Make sure to set it to the smallest available range on the meter.

Take the probes of the meter and place one of them on the tubing made of copper on the compressor. Place the second probe on the pins by the side of the compressor.

Move the probe from one pin to another; there are 3 of them. As you do this, the display on the meter should not change. If the numbers change, it means the compressor is shorted to the ground. You need to replace it because it no longer works.

Follow the steps in this video to test your refrigerator compressor successfully…

Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Makes Noise – How to Fix

Noise from a refrigerator compressor is normal. A compressor is supposed to make a noise, albeit a quiet hum.

However, if the noise increases and becomes loud, something is wrong. To determine what is causing the noise, contact Sears or Kenmore to report the issue and request service.

You need to be sure the noise is coming from the compressor, though. Sometimes, the condenser fan makes a noise and needs to be cleaned. Because it is close to the compressor, it is usually assumed that the compressor is the culprit.

And during normal operation, the refrigerator may lightly brush against surrounding surfaces and make a noise. Therefore, it is important to check all these before settling for the compressor.

Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Fan Not Working – Quick Fix

Turn the blades of the fan with your hand. If they are stiff, the motor is malfunctioning and should be replaced.

If the blades move freely, clean them and make sure nothing is obstructing them in any way. Then, run a continuity test on the motor with a multimeter. If there is no continuity, replace the motor as soon as possible.

Kenmore Refrigerator Clunks When Compressor Shuts Off – Solution

You may have to replace the springs on which the compressor rests at the bottom back of the refrigerator. The clunking or thumping sound you hear is the compressor hitting the sidewalls of its compartment. This is due to its lack of balance on the worn-out springs.

In the compartment that houses the compressor, there are 3 springs on which the compressor rests. When they are in good working condition, they help absorb the compressor’s movement so it doesn’t shake or make a noise.

However, when they are weak or worn out, they can’t absorb it anymore. So when the motor shuts off, you hear a thump or a vibration.

Reset the Compressor on a Kenmore Refrigerator – Guiding Steps

The following are steps to follow in order to reset the compressor on a Kenmore refrigerator:

Step 1

Unplug or disconnect the unit from power. Power down the circuit breaker if doing this is more viable for you.

Step 2

Allow the unit to stand for a few minutes without power. Then, turn off the temperature controls of both compartments. Afterward, reconnect the refrigerator to electric power or power up the circuit breaker.

Step 3

Set the temperature controls of both compartments to any point you like. We would recommend leaving them at the mid-point for the best results. Then, allow the unit some hours to run in order to adapt to the setting.


A Kenmore refrigerator compressor is the last thing to fail. It is built to last many years. But once in a while, you will find one failing. However, it should not be too much of a concern. And you don’t have to replace the refrigerator.

Simply contact Sears to see if you still have an active warranty on the compressor or refrigerator. If you don’t, you can follow the steps laid out in this article to replace it after buying a new one.

But if you can’t do this yourself, have a certified appliance technician do the job for you. You also have the alternative of chatting with any of our appliance technicians. They will guide you on the best steps to take.


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