Whirlpool Refrigerator Airflow [Problems & Solutions]

A Whirlpool refrigerator airflow keeps the unit at an optimal cooling level. But there may be problems, and knowing how to solve them is crucial for the refrigerator’s functionality.

Whirlpool refrigerator airflow
Photo Credit: Максим Фомич, Commons.wikimedia.org (under license)

Whirlpool Refrigerator Airflow Control – What It Means

The Airflow control in a Whirlpool refrigerator is usually in the freezer section. A top-freezer model has Airflow control on the back wall, and its responsibility is the regulate the air exchange between the freezer and refrigerator sections. 

If you purchase a new refrigerator, allow the control to sit at the recommended point, which is usually the mid-point. However, if there is a need to increase or decrease the Airflow, do so temporarily and return the setting to the recommended point. It helps the refrigerator to maintain an optimum efficiency level.

How to Replace the Air Filter in a Whirlpool Refrigerator

You need to find the air filter in your Whirlpool refrigerator; it is usually on the back wall of the refrigerating section, near the top of the wall. Follow the instructions in this article on how to replace a Whirlpool refrigerator air filter to replace filter. Ensure you repeat the process after nine months because that is the filter’s lifespan. 

There is usually an indicator to alert you when the filter is due for a replacement. However, the new filter comes with a status indicator you can install if your refrigerator model does not have a built-in indicator. Once the filter is due, the installed indicator turns red.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Airflow Problem

The primary problem with a Whirlpool refrigerator air flow is if the vents are obstructed. One way to block the vents is to put too many items in the refrigerator. There is usually a reduction in the airflow within the unit once the vents are blocked, and the Airflow function decreases. In refrigerators with single-cooling systems, the cold air flows from the freezer into the refrigerator through the vents. Therefore, they play a vital role in how well the unit cools.

Apart from cooling issues, an airflow problem can lead to a buildup of moisture. A lack of cooling increases the warmth in the refrigerator and leads to condensation forming. As a result of the moisture, the evaporator coils freeze. When the ice melts, it creates more water to freeze over time. Excessive freezing and ice buildup cause the refrigerator contents to freeze too often. This is especially true for items placed directly in front of the vents.

Another possible problem is inconsistent temperatures in the unit. With the movement of items in front of the vents, the airflow becomes inconsistent. Consequently, the cooling capacity becomes compromised, and the refrigerator struggles to maintain a cool temperature. This may lead to stress on the compressor and high electricity bills, due to the constant running of the compressor.

Incorrectly setting the temperature controls and Airflow controls may also cause problems in the refrigerator. A new refrigerator comes with mid-point temperature settings. The same is true for the Airflow control setting; it comes preset at mid-point or recommended point. 

If the factory setting does not suit the environment and prevailing weather conditions, adjust both settings and give the refrigerator time to adjust to the new temperature. It also gives you time to check whether or not the current temperature is ideal. Otherwise, keep adjusting until you reach the desired temperature, giving the required 24 hours of space between each adjustment.

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Whirlpool Refrigerator Not Blowing Air – What to Do

Check the evaporator fan and coils. The evaporator fan circulates cold air in the freezer, and through the Airflow control or damper control, the air gets into the refrigerator. But if the fan stops working, there will be no cold air blowing in the refrigerator. The same applies if the evaporator coils are frozen.

Empty the freezer of all contents, including the shelves and racks. Unmount the back panel to access the fan and coils. If there is ice, you have two options: leave the refrigerator unplugged until the ice melts or use a hairdryer for a faster process. If the unit has an automatic defrost function, the system is malfunctioning, causing ice to build on the coils and fan.

Troubleshoot the defrost system: defrost timer, heater, thermostat, the sensor with fuse, and control board. The defrost timer has the responsibility of advancing the defrost system into and out of a defrost cycle. If it stops working, the defrost function may not work. However, ensure you check other components of the system, especially if the timer is in good working condition.

Inspect the fan to ensure it is not damaged by ice. If the blade is bent, replace it. Attempting to straighten it may cause further damage. Turn it to test the motor’s functionality. If the blade is stiff, the motor bearings may be weak or worn. And if the bearings are worn, replace the motor. The same applies if the motor shows no continuity when the windings are tested with a multimeter.

Condenser Coils and Fan

Another possible reason the refrigerator is not blowing any air is dirty coils. And if the condenser fan is faulty, it may affect the refrigerator’s cooling capacity. Clean the condenser coils, especially if you have never cleaned them and the refrigerator is older than one year. The area where you live affects the rate at which the coils get dirty; the same is true if there are pets or children around the house.

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the coils and compressor compartment. Ensure you do a thorough cleaning job on the coils and fan before testing the fan’s functionality. First, check to see if the blade is on the motor shaft; adjust it if necessary. 

If the blade is bent or broken, replace it. Turn it with your hand while it is on the motor shaft to determine functionality. If the blade is stiff, the motor may not be functioning. Run a continuity test on the motor using a multimeter. If there is no continuity, replace the fan motor.

The condenser coils release heat from the refrigerant out of the refrigerating system. After the gas absorbs heat from the air and travels to the condenser, the heat dissipates into the air. But if the coils have a significant amount of dirt on the coils, they cannot efficiently dissipate the heat. 

Consequently, the heat restricts airflow and reduces the refrigerator’s cooling capacity. And the fan should cool the coils and compressor to prevent overheating, but a faulty fan cannot perform this function and contributes to airflow reduction. Check the fan and coils from time to time to ensure optimal efficiency.


Ensure the vents are not shut or blocked. The vents may be on the back wall, which is typical, or on the side walls. The location of the vents depends on the refrigerator model. Check the user manual to determine the vent location for your specific model. The refrigerator cannot blow cold air if the vents are not open. If you recently stocked the refrigerator, check to see if items are blocking the direction of the flow of air. 

Organize and rearrange the contents of the unit to make better room for airflow and circulation. Also, ensure there is no ice around on in the vents; thaw the ice using a hairdryer or by unplugging the refrigerator for a few hours. 

Afterward, turn on the refrigerator and allow some time to pass before placing your hand in front of the vents. Air should flow at this time, but if there is still no airflow, contact the Whirlpool Service Center and report the issue before requesting service.


If a refrigerator has limited or no airflow, it cannot cool. Over time, it may altogether stop working. This article explains the possible problems with a Whirlpool refrigerator airflow and common solutions. Typically, poor airflow comes from obstructed vents, frozen coils, and malfunctioning fans. But it may also stem from dirty condenser coils or improper temperature and Airflow control settings.

Therefore, regularly check the coils, fans, and settings. You may accidentally adjust the temperature settings and remove them from the correct point. The same applies to Airflow control. Clean the coils every six to twelve months, and ensure the evaporator coils do not freeze. Otherwise, there will be a moisture buildup, excessive freezing, and an inefficient refrigerator.

If nothing else works, your refrigerator may need servicing. Schedule a service visit from Whirlpool or any qualified independent technician. You may need to replace some components, including the air filter for models that carry one. Additionally, avoid overstocking the refrigerator to encourage proper air circulation.

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