Kenmore Refrigerator Is Not Cold Enough [Solutions]

The primary job of a refrigerator is to preserve by cooling. So if, for instance, your Kenmore refrigerator is not cold enough to preserve food, it is crucial to find a solution.

Kenmore Refrigerator Is Not Cold Enough

Kenmore Refrigerator and Freezer Not Cold Enough – How to Fix

If your Kenmore refrigerator and freezer are not cold enough, check the following:

1. Air Flow

It is vital to create space around the refrigerator so that air can circulate and prevent overheating. The compressor and condenser fan will wear out quickly and stop the refrigerator from working entirely if the airflow is poor.

Therefore, if you can, move the refrigerator a little away from surrounding surfaces. You may require the help of another person if the refrigerator is heavy. But if the unit is the built-in type, you will be unable to move it at all. In such a case, contact Kenmore for assistance.

2. Condenser Coils

Inspect the condenser coils; if they have a significant amount of dirt on them, it means they are no longer efficiently dissipating heat from the refrigerant that flows through them. Therefore, clean them thoroughly, ensuring to wipe dirt, debris, and grease off them. Maintain a cleaning routine every six months, more often if you have hairy pets.

The coils should release heat from the refrigerant, so the heat does not transfer to the refrigerator and reduce the unit’s cooling capacity. But dirt lowers their efficiency.

3. Evaporator Fan

To check the fan, open the door of the freezer. Since the compartment is not cold enough, you should tell whether or not the fan is running. Once you open the door, the fan should stop running but activating the door switch turns it on.

If you activate the switch but don’t hear the motor, remove the items in the freezer and open the back cover. Check for ice buildup around the fan; the ice may be preventing the blades from spinning. If there is no ice, turn the blades with your hand to see how well they spin. If they spin well, the fan is likely functional.

But if the blades are stiff and the shaft is not damaged, the motor of the fan may be defective. Run a continuity test on the windings using a multimeter to check for continuity. If there is no continuity in the windings, replace the motor.

The evaporator fan spreads cold air in the freezer, and through the damper control, the cold air enters the refrigerator. This system is for refrigerators with a single cooling system, which most have. So if the fan fails, both compartments of the refrigerator won’t cool or won’t be as cold as they should be.

4. Condenser Fan

Check the blades of the fan to see if there is something caught in them. Even if there is nothing, clean the blades and make sure they turn well; they tend to catch debris easily because of their location.

If the blades turn well and nothing is obstructing them, the fan is likely functional. But if the blades are stiff, test the motor with a multimeter to check for continuity; constant running may wear the bearings. And if you find no continuity, replace the motor.

The condenser fan runs to cool the compressor and make sure the coils don’t overheat. However, if the fan becomes faulty, the compressor and coils will overheat and reduce the cooling capacity of the refrigerator.

The fan falls off entirely in a few cases, and fixing it back gets it up and running again. But it does not preclude falling off again. If you verify that the fan is in good working condition, you can use epoxy that cures fast to secure the motor and fan.

5. Start Relay

Older Kenmore refrigerator models come with a start relay/capacitor attached to the compressor. Newer models don’t always have a visible start relay; most operations are controlled by the power control board (PCB).

But if you have an older model, go to the compressor and find the relay mounted on its side. Detach it and shake it a little. Shaking it is one of the easiest ways to tell a faulty relay. If you hear a rattle, the relay is likely defective and should be replaced. A burnt odor coming from the relay is another sign that it needs a replacement.

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But to be sure, take a multimeter and check the relay for continuity between the run and start terminals. If you don’t find continuity, replace the relay.

The relay does the job of boosting the compressor with power so it can start and run smoothly. If the relay stops working, the compressor is likely not to start. And even if it starts and runs, it will only do so intermittently.

6. Evaporator Coils

Since the freezer is not cold enough, the evaporator coils may be frozen. So, remove the inside rear cover in the freezer and inspect the coils. There should be a light coating of frost on them typically, but if the coating is heavy, it means the coils are no longer able to release cold air.

To fix it, channel the heat from a dryer or steamer on the coils until the frost melts off. You can also choose to defrost the refrigerator manually, and while this is safe, it means finding safe storage for frozen food, leaving the unit unplugged for long hours, and a possible mess from dripping water.

Afterward, troubleshoot the defrost system if the refrigerator has one. The timer should turn the heater on when the thermostat senses the temperature of the coils has dropped below a preset point.

If this process fails, it means the timer, heater, or thermostat has failed. Additionally, the defrost control board may be the origin of the defrost problem, but only if other components are in good working condition.

7. Cold Control Thermostat

Make sure the thermostat is set to the correct point. Your user manual tells you where to set it. But if the thermostat does not seem to be functioning, locate it inside the refrigerator and turn its dial to the highest temperature point.

You should hear the compressor kick into action as it starts running to cool the unit. However, if the compressor does not run, or you don’t hear an audible click, check the thermostat with a multimeter to check for continuity. If the component shows no continuity at any temperature setting, replace it.

As soon as the thermistor senses the refrigerator’s temperature, it alerts the thermostat. The thermostat closes its contacts so power can flow to the cooling system from the control board. But if the thermostat quits working, the refrigerator and freezer won’t cool, even if the thermistor is working.

8. Thermistor

Find the thermistor in the refrigerator and check for continuity using a multimeter. If the temperature of the refrigerator is changing, the resistance of the thermistor, which is a sensor, will also change if it is in good working condition.

But if the resistance remains unchanging, remove it and put it in water. Heat the water slowly and check the resistance. It should change as the temperature of the water rises. If the resistance still does not change, replace the thermistor.

It is the job of the thermistor to monitor the refrigerator’s temperature and send readings to the control board. The board, in turn, sends voltage to the cooling system if the temperature is high. If the thermistor is defective, it may deliver the wrong temperature readings, and the result may be that the cooling system runs too much or too little.

9. Temperature and Main Control Boards

It is easy to misdiagnose control boards, so it is essential to check other more likely components to cause the cooling failure. If they are all in good working condition, you may check and replace any defective boards.

10. Compressor

Finally, check the compressor. While the control board supplies power to the compressor, the component does not fail quickly. Moreover, it is more technical to test and replace a compressor than a control board.

We would like to note here that there could be a freon leak, especially if all else fails and the evaporator coils are cold and frosting on just one end. A light chemical in and around the refrigerator will alert you to a leak, but check the freezer if you don’t smell it. If you find only the top shelf cooling, there is a leak in the sealed system.

Hire a licensed refrigerator technician or contact Kenmore for assistance. This repair can be done only by professionals.

These repair steps work for all types of Kenmore refrigerators, including the Elite and Coldspot models.

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Kenmore Fridge Not Cold Enough But Freezer Is Cold – Solved

The following are parts to check to solve the problem of a Kenmore fridge not getting cold enough while the freezer is cold:

1. Evaporator Coils

Open the door of the freezer and remove the back panel covering the evaporator coils and fan in the rear of the compartment. Inspect the coils for an accumulation of frost. Typical, the defrost system makes sure the coils have no heavy coating of frost, but sometimes, the system fails.

Therefore, if the coils are frozen, apply heat through a hairdryer or steamer for quick thawing. If you have the time, run a manual defrost cycle by unplugging the unit from the wall outlet and leaving the doors open for a few hours. This process also means finding alternative storage for the food in the fridge.

Afterward, check the defrost system: timer, heater, thermostat, and board. The timer is the likely culprit because it advances the system into the cycle, times it, and advances it out. So, find and turn the timer manually into the cycle, wait about thirty minutes, and see if the timer advances out automatically.

If the refrigerator begins defrosting when you advance the timer manually, it is an indication that the timer is faulty. You will confirm it if the timer fails to advance out of the cycle without your help.

However, if the defrost timer is in good working condition and was just stuck, then run a continuity test on the heater and thermostat individually. If none shows any continuity, replace both components.

Finally, check the defrost control board, but only if the entire defrost system is malfunctioning or all the components are in good working condition.

2. Evaporator Fan

While checking the coils, check the evaporator fan since they are both in the same location. First, take a look at the blades. They should not be bent or dented; any damage can prevent the fan from working. Clean them if necessary and spin them with your hand.

If the blades turn well, the fan is likely working well. But if they don’t, take a multimeter and check the windings of the motor for continuity. If the motor does not show continuity, replace it.

The fan should circulate the cold air in the freezer and transfer it to the fridge after passing the air over the evaporator coils. If the blades or motor are not optimal, the freezer may remain cold, but there won’t be enough coolness to reach the fridge.

3. Damper Control

An assembly in the fridge, between the fresh food and freezer compartments, controls the flow of air from the freezer to the fridge. It opens to allow enough cold air into the fridge without freezing it and closes when the fridge has enough.

Take a look at it to determine whether or not it is broken or stuck. A food item may wedge it shut and prevent cold air from transferring to the fridge. You may have to move things around to create room for unrestricted movement.

But if the damper is broken, it works in two ways: either it remains open and freezes everything, or it remains shut, and nothing in the fridge cools. You cannot fix the damper if it is broken; you can only replace it.

4. Contents

Putting too many items in the fridge at the same time restricts airflow and reduces the cooling capacity. If you suspect the fridge is overstuffed, consider reducing the contents. Also, rearrange the remaining items so the vents are free and air can flow unrestrained into the fridge and circulate.

It may also help to check the main control board and the temperature control board. However, the boards may not be faulty as only the fridge has a cooling problem. Nevertheless, have a technician look at both boards to determine if there is a fault and advise you accordingly.

My Kenmore Freezer Is Not Cold Enough – What to Do

If you find that your Kenmore freezer is not cold enough, or is cold but not freezing, do the following:

1. Check the Condenser Coils

If your freezer has visible coils, the first thing to check is the coils at the back of the freezer. Dirty coils cannot release heat. As a result, the heat transfers to the freezer and reduces its capacity to cool or freeze.

Take a vacuum cleaner to the coils and blow away dust and debris. Go a step further and wipe grime and grease from them using a cloth. Make sure you sweep up the dirt, so it does not adhere to the coils again.

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It is crucial to clean the coils regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer. Typically, clean the coils once or twice every year. But if you live in a dusty area or have pets that shed, check and clean them more often.

2. Check the Evaporator Coils

Frozen evaporator coils cannot release cold air for the freezer. Therefore, check the coils, if you can reach them, and defrost the freezer manually if they are frozen. To defrost the freezer manually, simply turn it off and leave the door open for the duration of time it will take for the ice to melt.

And if the freezer has an automatic defrost system, test all the components to check whether one or more has failed.

3. Check the Start Relay

If your freezer has a separate start relay, you will find it attached to the compressor. Pull it out and give it a little shake. It should not rattle if it is in good working condition. So, if it rattles, the relay is likely defective. If you hear no rattle, but the relay smells as if it is burnt, replace it.

However, run a continuity test on the terminals using a multimeter if the relay does not display any fault. If there isn’t any continuity, replace the start relay.

The freezer won’t get cold enough or freeze if the compressor fails to run at all or runs only intermittently. And one of the primary reasons why the compressor fails to run smoothly is a defective start relay. The relay supplies a power boost to the compressor so it can run.

4. Check the Evaporator Fan

Open the door of the freezer and activate the door switch. You activate the switch to get the motor of the fan running again when the door is open. Typically, the motor stops once you open the door and starts when you close it. But activating the switch gets it running again.

However, if the motor does not start running when you activate the switch, test the motor using a multimeter to check for continuity. If you find no continuity, replace the fan’s motor.

Even if the evaporator coils are not frozen, the cold air won’t get to the freezer if the fan is faulty. It is the fan’s job to circulate the air from the coils once it is cool enough.

5. Check the Condenser Fan

Move the freezer and take a look at it. The fan is beside the compressor. If the blades are not spinning while the freezer runs, unplug the freezer and clean the fan. Next, take a multimeter and check the motor for continuity. If you don’t get continuity, replace the motor or the entire fan.

A heat overload will cause the compressor to stop running smoothly. But the fan cools the compressor and makes sure the condenser coils are not too hot. Therefore, it is important to replace a faulty condenser fan if the freezer is to continue running optimally.

6. Check the Compressor

The compressor rarely fails, but if it does, the freezer will stop freezing or cooling. Before checking the compressor, ensure the other components are working well. Afterward, test the compressor’s electrical pins with a multimeter to check its resistance. If you find any open circuits, replace the compressor.

7. Check the Sealed System

Lastly, check the sealed system of the freezer if all else seems to be in good working condition. Check the shelves in the freezer if the unit has them. If only one shelf seems to be cooling correctly, there is likely a leak.

Another way to check is through the evaporator coils. There should be an even coat of frost over all the coils. But if only a section of the coils has a visible coating of frost, the freon is leaking. Contact Kenmore or hire an independent but qualified technician to fix the problem.

What Is the Coldest Setting on a Kenmore Refrigerator?

The coldest temperature setting on a Kenmore refrigerator is 7. The warmest temperature setting is 1. For the freezer compartment, the coldest temperature setting is 4, the same as setting it to 0 degrees. So, if your Kenmore refrigerator is not cold enough, try resetting the temperature.

If your Kenmore refrigerator has digital temperature control, the refrigerator setting should be 37 degrees Fahrenheit. This setting is best for the refrigerator; any setting lower than 37 makes the compartment too cold, and higher makes it warm.

To set or adjust it, hold both the refrigerator and freezer temperature buttons for some seconds. You will hear the display beep, and the temperature will appear. Now, press the refrigerator temperature buttons until you reach the desired point.


This article’s troubleshooting and repair steps help you if your Kenmore refrigerator is not cold enough. But if the problem continues, it is best to get professional assistance by contacting Kenmore.

Alternatively, we can connect you to an appliance technician for further assistance without an appointment or waiting period.

Note: Unplug the refrigerator from the wall receptacle if you are going to do the repairs yourself. Suppose you cannot reach the cord, power down the circuit breaker.

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