Short answer: If your GE refrigerator isn’t cooling: verify it’s plugged in and the settings are correct. Inspect the vents for obstructions. Clean coils, and check for door seal issues.

A GE refrigerator that’s not cooling can be a significant concern for homeowners. These appliances are central to our daily routines, preserving our food and keeping our drinks cold. When they malfunction, not only is there a potential for food wastage, but it also disrupts our daily lives. There could be several reasons behind a GE refrigerator not maintaining its temperature, ranging from simple issues like a door left ajar to more technical problems involving its compressor or cooling system. This guide will delve into common causes and troubleshooting steps to help you identify and possibly rectify the issue with your GE refrigerator.

Why Is The Refrigerator Not Cooling?

Temperature Setting Not Set Correctly:

What temperature should I set my GE refrigerator to
How To Adjust Temperature On Your GE Refrigerator

If the temperature setting in the refrigerator is not set to an optimal level, it can lead to issues with cooling. Sometimes, the settings might be accidentally adjusted to a warmer temperature. Always ensure that the temperature dials or digital settings are set to the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Filthy Condenser Coils:

Over time, the condenser coils located at the back or beneath the refrigerator can accumulate dust, dirt, and pet hair. These coils are responsible for releasing heat from the refrigerator. If they are dirty, they cannot dissipate heat efficiently, causing the refrigerator to work harder and possibly not cool properly.

Malfunctioning Condenser Fan:

My GE Refrigerator is Not Cooling
Malfunctioning Condenser Fan GE Refrigerator

The condenser fan is responsible for drawing air over the condenser coils, aiding in the dissipation of heat. If the fan is malfunctioning, it won’t effectively cool the coils, causing the refrigerator to not cool as it should.

Incoming Power Problem:

If there’s an issue with the power supply to the refrigerator, it may not run correctly. This can be due to problems with the electrical outlet, circuit breakers, or internal wiring of the refrigerator.

Improperly Programmed Defrost Timer:

Most refrigerators have a defrost cycle to prevent frost buildup. If the defrost timer is malfunctioning or set incorrectly, it can lead to excessive frost build-up on the evaporator coils, which can impede airflow and reduce cooling.

An issue with the Door Seal:

The door seal or gasket ensures that the cold air remains inside the refrigerator and the warm air stays out. If it’s damaged, cracked, or not sealing properly, it can allow warm air to enter the refrigerator, making it harder to maintain the desired temperature.

Malfunctioning Thermostat Dials:

The thermostat regulates the temperature inside the refrigerator. If it’s malfunctioning, it might not sense the correct temperature, leading the refrigerator to not cool or even freeze its contents.

Temperature Sensor Malfunction:

Modern refrigerators use temperature sensors to relay the internal temperature to the main control board. If these sensors are faulty, the control board might not get accurate temperature readings, causing cooling issues.

GE Refrigerator Damper Control Assembly:

GE Refrigerator Damper Control Assembly Replacement
GE Refrigerator Damper Control Assembly Parts

The damper control assembly regulates the flow of cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment. If it malfunctions, it might either restrict the flow entirely or let too much cold air into the refrigerator, causing temperature inconsistencies.

Solutions For GE Refrigerator Not Cooling

Cleaning the freezer
Setting temperature

Check Temperature Control Settings:

Step 1: Locate the temperature controls, usually found inside the refrigerator or freezer compartment.

Step 2: Ensure they are set to the recommended settings as mentioned in the user manual (typically somewhere around the middle setting).

Step 3: If you have recently added a large amount of food, you might need to adjust the setting temporarily to a colder setting.

Check Time Since Installation:

Step 1: Note that it takes up to 24 hours for a new refrigerator to reach the desired temperature.

Step 2: Ensure the refrigerator has been plugged in for at least 24 hours.

Step 3: If it’s a brand-new installation, avoid opening the doors frequently during this initial period.

Check Refrigerator And Freezer Food Load:

Step 1: Open the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

Step 2: Ensure they are not overly packed; air should circulate freely around food items.

Step 3: Rearrange items if necessary and avoid blocking vents with large items.

Check Refrigerator And Freezer Door Closure:

Step 1: Inspect the door seals for any dirt or obstructions.

Step 2: Clean the seals with a damp cloth if needed.

Step 3: Ensure that the doors are closing completely and are not being obstructed by food items or containers.

Check For Large Containers Blocking Airflow:

Step 1: Look inside both compartments for any large containers or items blocking the vents.

Step 2: Rearrange or reduce the size of the containers to allow for better airflow.

Step 3: Ensure that there’s space between items for optimal air circulation.

Check For A Dirty Condenser:

Step 1: Locate the condenser coils, either at the back or underneath the refrigerator.

Step 2: Using a coil brush or vacuum, gently clean the coils to remove dust or debris.

Step 3: Ensure the area around the condenser is free from obstructions.

Check Temperature Of Installation Area:

Step 1: Measure the ambient temperature of the room where the refrigerator is located.

Step 2: Ensure the room temperature is within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Extreme cold or heat can affect the refrigerator’s performance.

Step 3: Adjust the room temperature or relocate the refrigerator if needed.

Check For Proper Air Clearance:

Step 1: Ensure there is adequate clearance on all sides of the refrigerator as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Step 2: Ensure the space behind and above the refrigerator is clear to allow heat to dissipate.

Check Interior Lights:

Step 1: Open the refrigerator door and observe if the interior light turns on.

Step 2: Close the door slightly and check if the light turns off (some models might have a transparent section or a switch to test this).

Step 3: If the light stays on, it can heat the inside. Check the door switch or consult a technician.

Check For Diagnostic Mode:

Step 1: Refer to the user manual to see if your refrigerator has a diagnostic mode.

Step 2: Activate the diagnostic mode following the instructions. This will help identify any issues.

Step 3: If any errors are identified, you might need to consult the user manual or contact a technician for further guidance.

Diagnosing and Replacing the Evaporator Fan in a Refrigerator:

Checking evaporator panel
Fixing the GE refrigerator not cooling

Step1: Diagnosis:

  • Listen to hear if the compressor is running.
  • Open the freezer to check if any air is coming out; it should be cool.
  • Measure the temperature in the freezer compartment (in this case, it was 55-56 degrees).

Step 2: Accessing the Evaporator Fan:

  • Remove the rack from the freezer.
  • Take off the cover to expose the evaporator fan.
  • Check if the fan is moving. If it isn’t, this could be the issue.

Step 3: Removing the Ice Maker (if it obstructs the fan):

  • Unplug the ice maker.
  • Remove the two screws at the top.
  • Lift the ice maker to remove it.

Step 4: Removing the Evaporator Fan:

  • Remove the two screws on the back wall of the freezer compartment.
  • Tilt the cover down to expose the evaporator coil and motor.
  • Unplug the motor harness.
  • Detach the ground wire from the side of the coil.
  • Unmount the bracket holding the fan motor.
  • Remove the fan blade from the motor.

Step 5: Installing the New Evaporator Fan:

  • Insert the new motor into its bracket.
  • Attach the fan blade to the new motor.
  • Remount the motor bracket to the wall of the freezer.
  • Connect the ground wire to the side of the coil.
  • Plug in the new motor.
  • Before reassembling, plug in the refrigerator to test and ensure the new fan works correctly.

Step 6: Reassembling:

  • Replace the cover over the evaporator coil and secure it with screws.
  • Reinstall the ice maker: Mount, secure it with screws, and plug it in.
  • Place back any foam insulation if present.
  • Attach the fan cover.

Step 7: Final Check: Plug the refrigerator back in and ensure everything is working correctly.


Why does my refrigerator seem to run constantly?

Variations in room temperature, frequent door openings, or a large amount of food can make a refrigerator work harder. If these factors are not present, it could be an issue with the thermostat or other internal components.

Is it normal for the sides of my refrigerator to feel warm?

Yes, it’s normal. Refrigerators often have coils or condenser lines running along the sides to dissipate heat. However, if it feels excessively hot, it could be an indication of a problem.

What’s the ideal temperature setting for my refrigerator and freezer?

The recommended temperature is around 37°F (3°C) for the refrigerator and 0°F (-18°C) for the freezer.

Why is there a puddle of water under my refrigerator?

This could be due to a clogged or frozen defrost drain or a broken or misaligned drip pan.

Can I place hot food directly into the refrigerator?

It’s best to let hot food cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Putting hot food inside can increase the internal temperature, making the appliance work harder.

Why does my refrigerator make strange noises?

Some noise is normal, like the hum of the compressor or the sound of water dropping during the defrost cycle. However, loud rattles, buzzes, or bangs might indicate a problem.

How can I eliminate bad odors inside my refrigerator?

Clean the interior with a mixture of water and baking soda. Storing an open box of baking soda inside can also help neutralize odors.

Should I clean the back of my refrigerator?

Yes, it’s a good practice to periodically clean the back, especially the coils, to maintain efficiency and prolong the appliance’s lifespan.


The efficient functioning of a GE refrigerator is essential to keep our food fresh and safe to eat. However, when a GE refrigerator is not cooling properly, it can be both frustrating and concerning. Various factors, from temperature settings and dirty condenser coils to malfunctioning components, can influence its performance. By understanding the potential reasons for such issues and the solutions provided, homeowners can often troubleshoot or even resolve many common problems. However, for persistent or complex challenges, seeking professional assistance is always recommended. Ensuring the refrigerator operates at its optimum not only prolongs the appliance’s lifespan but also guarantees the safety and quality of the food stored within.

Key Points:

  • A malfunctioning evaporator fan can prevent cold air circulation, leading to the refrigerator not cooling properly.
  • The compressor start relay is essential for powering the compressor; if it fails, the refrigerator might not cool at all.
  • The automatic defrost cycle prevents frost buildup on the evaporator cooling coil; a failure in this cycle can obstruct air flow and cooling.
  • The condenser fan motor, located at the back of the refrigerator, helps dissipate heat; its malfunction can affect the cooling process.
  • Temperature sensor thermistors monitor temperatures in different areas of the refrigerator, aiding in regulating cooling cycles.
  • Regular checks on refrigerator settings, door closures, and food load can prevent cooling issues.
  • A dirty condenser can hinder the dissipation of heat, affecting the refrigerator’s cooling efficiency.
  • Proper air clearance around the refrigerator ensures effective heat exchange and optimal performance.
  • Malfunctioning interior lights can generate excess heat inside the refrigerator.
  • Running diagnostic mode can help identify specific problems or malfunctions within the appliance.

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