Refrigerator Damper [Problems & Proven Solutions]

A refrigerator damper is an integral part of the appliance’s regular operation. So, it is crucial to find out the source of any problem it may have.

What Is a Refrigerator Damper?

A refrigerator damper is a small door or flap that opens and closes to let cold air into the refrigerator from the freezer. It controls how much cold air enters the refrigerator to prevent the compartment from freezing. Typically, you will find the damper in the space between the freezer compartment and the fresh food compartment. A thermostat controls it, triggering it to close or open according to the refrigerator’s temperature needs.

How to Test a Refrigerator Damper Control

It is pretty easy to test the damper control in your refrigerator. Locate the air vent at the back of the refrigerator and place your hand in front of it. The damper control is usually within the vent, and once air comes from the evaporator fan, it opens and closes to control the amount entering into the refrigerator. 

Therefore, the damper is not working if you do not feel cold air coming from the vent. It may be stuck closed, and you may be able to move it. But you have to be sure the evaporator fan is working, and the evaporator coils are not frozen.

If they are, see if you can pull the vent out and move the air damper. If the damper does not move, and you are sure it is not frozen, you may need the services of a repair agent to determine why it is stuck. More likely than not, the problem stems from the motor.

How to Fix a Refrigerator Air Damper

The following are steps to fix a faulty damper control in a refrigerator:

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Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power or turn the circuit breaker off. This first step is crucial in preventing electric shock. So, do it no matter the refrigerator problem you are trying to diagnose.

Locate the damper on your refrigerator model; it may be at the top of the refrigerator or the back wall of the unit. In some models, you will have to remove the control housing on the roof before disconnecting the damper. In others, you can remove the damper once you remove the vent. Follow the instructions in the user manual to remove the damper.

Disconnect the wire connectors from the faulty damper and fix the new one in its place. Connect the connectors to the new damper before fitting it into position. Reconnect the refrigerator to electric power or turn the circuit breaker on. Then, wait to see if the damper begins to work. If it does not, retrace your steps and check the wire connectors. If you are unsure, hire a professional to check it.

You will need to replace a refrigerator damper control if it gets stuck in one position – open or closed. If it is stuck open, the refrigerator will have an unchecked amount of cold air, which may result in freezing fresh food. And if the damper is stuck closed, the refrigerator will not have enough cold, resulting in warm temperatures.

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Refrigerator Damper Control Noise

A refrigerator damper may make a clicking or knocking noise if it tries to open and close without success. Some of the insulation foam may be in its way, or ice may be keeping it from freely moving. Also, it may have a malfunctioning motor due to wear and tear. Put a hand over the vent or damper to see if you feel cold air. If you do not, the damper is not working. It is crucial to replace it as quickly as possible.


Keep an eye on every moving part in your refrigerator, including the refrigerator damper. It can wear out just like others and cause cooling issues in the unit. If you have a damper problem, you can easily test it. Also, replacing the damper is straightforward. However, you have the option of using a service technician to fix the faulty damper.

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