Refrigerator Warm but Freezer Cold

Why is My Refrigerator Warm but Freezer Cold?

A refrigerator that stops cooling altogether is one thing, but it can be extremely confusing to find your refrigerator warm but freezer cold. Why is one compartment still cooling while the other seems to have completely stopped working? Let’s investigate!

Why Is Your Refrigerator Warm but Freezer Cold?

It may seem like a strange issue to have a half-broken fridge, but it’s actually not uncommon. If your refrigerator isn’t cold but freezer is, one of these parts is likely the source of the problem:

1 – Faulty Evaporator Fan Motor

What is it: Cold air is generated in the freezer section thanks to an evaporator fan motor. The fan draws cold air into the evaporator coils which is then dispersed throughout both compartments.

How it fails: If any part of your refrigerator’s defrost system isn’t working at full strength, it can cause your evaporator fan motor to work harder and for longer periods of time to cool the unit.

How to diagnose: A noisy fan can be a sign that it’s defective. Unplug your refrigerator and access the fan motor. Try turning the fan blade with your hand, and replace the part if you feel any resistance.

freezer cold but refrigerator warm
Image from Sears Parts Direct

2 – Damper Control Assembly Failure

What is it: Once cold air is generated in the freezer section, it makes its way into the fresh food compartment through an air damper control. This part opens and closes to allow the correct amount of cold air in.

How it fails: Is your freezer cold but refrigerator warm? The damper control assembly may be blocked or could have gotten physically damaged somehow.

How to diagnose: The only way to test the damper is to watch it and see if it opens and closes properly. If it isn’t working, swap the part out for a new one.

refrigerator isn't cold but freezer is
Image from Repair Clinic

3 – Defective Thermistor

What is it: The internal temperature of your refrigerator is monitored by a thermistor. When it gets too warm, the thermistor sends a signal to the main control board telling it to turn on the compressor.

How it fails: Thermistors do fail from time to time, especially when the defrost system isn’t working as it should. If you find your refrigerator warm but freezer cold, you should definitely test the part.

How to diagnose: Use a multimeter to test and monitor the thermistor resistance. It should change with the refrigerator temperature. If the resistance doesn’t change or the part doesn’t show continuity, replace the thermistor.

refrigerator warm freezer cold
Image from Repair Clinic


Is your refrigerator warm but freezer cold still after inspecting these parts? You may have a problem with your defrost or sealed systems, in which case you should call the refrigerator repair experts at D & T Appliance Service Company today!


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