Short answer: Blocked vents, malfunctioning thermostats, faulty fans, dirty coils, or low refrigerant can be possible causes of not cooling Maytag refrigerators. 

When a Maytag refrigerator is not cooling, it’s a cause for concern for any homeowner. This issue not only threatens the freshness and quality of your stored food, but it could also be a sign of a more serious underlying problem with your appliance. While Maytag is known for its durability and performance, even the best appliances can run into issues. In such cases, identifying the cause becomes crucial in order to determine the right course of action. This could range from a simple DIY fix to needing professional assistance. Below, I explore some common reasons why your Maytag refrigerator might not be keeping your food cold and what you can do about it.

Why Is Maytag Refrigerator Not Cooling?

Malfunctioning Temperature Control Thermostat:

Fix Your Maytag Refrigerator's Warm Temperature
Malfunctioning Temperature Control Thermostat

The temperature control thermostat directs voltage to the compressor, evaporator fan motor, and condenser fan motor. If it fails, the refrigeration system may not run at all, leading to a lack of cooling.

Damaged Compressor:

The compressor is the heart of the refrigerator’s cooling system. It compresses the refrigerant and circulates it through the evaporator and condenser coils. If it’s damaged, the unit won’t cool.

Clogged Condenser Coils:

How to Clean a Refrigerator
How to Clean Condenser Coils on your Maytag

When condenser coils are clogged with dirt and debris, they can’t efficiently release heat. This means the refrigerator has to work harder to cool down, which can result in overheating and reduced cooling capability.

Blocked Airflow:

If the airflow inside the refrigerator is blocked due to overstuffing or a malfunctioning fan, the fridge may not cool adequately. Proper circulation is crucial for maintaining the desired temperature.

Failed Start Capacitor:

The start capacitor provides a power boost to start the compressor. If it fails, the compressor might not start, leading to a lack of cooling.

Dirty Condenser Coils:

Similar to clogged coils, dirty condenser coils can’t release heat effectively, making the fridge work harder and potentially not cool as well.

Maytag Refrigerator Condenser Fan Motor:

Maytag Refrigerator Condenser Fan Motor
Maytag Refrigerator Fan Motor

This fan motor circulates air over the condenser coils to help cool the hot refrigerant. If it’s faulty, the coils won’t cool efficiently.

Maytag Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Motor:

This fan circulates air over the evaporator coils, dispersing cold air throughout the refrigerator. If it fails, the refrigerator won’t cool properly.

Maytag Refrigerator Door Gasket:

The door gasket ensures the refrigerator remains sealed when the door is closed. A damaged gasket might not seal properly, letting warm air inside and making the refrigerator work harder.

Incoming Power Problem:

If there’s an issue with the refrigerator’s power supply, it might not turn on at all, or its cooling performance may be compromised.

Maytag Refrigerator Start Relay:

The start relay boosts the compressor. A malfunctioning relay might not provide the necessary power, resulting in the compressor not working efficiently.

How To Fix A Maytag Refrigerator Not Cooling?

Adjust temperature settings
Checking compressor

Check the temperature control thermostat:

Step 1: Disconnect Power: Before you start, ensure the refrigerator is unplugged or the circuit breaker is turned off for safety reasons.

Step 2: Access the Thermostat:

  • Open the refrigerator door.
  • The thermostat is typically located inside the refrigerator, in the control panel section.
  • You may need to remove some plastic covers or shelving to gain access to it. Consult your refrigerator’s manual for exact location and removal instructions.

Step 3: Visual Inspection:

  • Check for any signs of damage, wear, or wire burnouts.
  • Ensure all connections are secure.

Step 4: Test with a Multimeter:

  • Set your multimeter to the Rx1 setting to test for continuity.
  • Disconnect the thermostat from the refrigerator by removing its wires. (Remember to note which wire goes where for reassembly.)
  • Place one probe on each terminal of the thermostat.
  • Turn the thermostat from the lowest setting to the highest setting.
  • If the multimeter reading changes from infinity (no continuity) to zero (continuity) or close to it, the thermostat is likely functioning.
  • If there’s no change in the reading, the thermostat might be faulty and needs replacement.

Step 5: Checking for Proper Function:

  • Reconnect the thermostat and power on the refrigerator.
  • Adjust the thermostat to the coldest setting and listen for a click. This click typically means the thermostat is calling for cooling.
  • Adjust it back to the warmest setting. You should hear another click when it stops calling for cooling.
  • If you don’t hear these clicks, the thermostat might be faulty.

Step 6: Replacement (if necessary):

  • If tests indicate the thermostat is defective, it should be replaced. When purchasing a new thermostat, ensure it’s the correct type and model for your Maytag refrigerator.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing the thermostat or consider hiring a professional.

Replace the damaged compressor

Checking and replacing a refrigerator’s compressor is a complex task that usually requires specialized knowledge, tools, and skills. The compressor is responsible for circulating refrigerant in the cooling system. If you suspect a damaged compressor, it’s often recommended to seek professional help. However, if you’re familiar with refrigerator systems and have the necessary tools, here’s a basic guide:

Checking the Compressor:

Step 1: Safety First: Disconnect the power by unplugging the refrigerator or turning off the circuit breaker.

Step 2: Locate the Compressor: The compressor is typically found at the bottom rear of the refrigerator. It’s a large, cylindrical component.

Step 3: Inspect Visually:

  • Check for any visible signs of damage or wear.
  • Ensure all connections and wires are securely attached.

Step 4: Test the Compressor Motor:

  • Set your multimeter to the resistance setting (Ohms).
  • There are three terminals on the compressor, usually labeled “S” (Start), “R” (Run), and “C” (Common).
  • Measure and note the resistance between each pair of terminals:
  1. Between R & S
  2. Between S & C
  3. Between C & R
  • The sum of the resistance measurements between (R & S) and (S & C) should approximately equal the resistance between (C & R). If the readings are far off or if any of the terminals show no continuity, the compressor may be faulty.

Replacing the Compressor:

Step 1: Safety and Preparation:

  • Always wear gloves and safety goggles.
  • Recover the refrigerant from the system using a refrigerant recovery machine. It’s illegal to vent refrigerants into the atmosphere.

Step 2: Removing the Damaged Compressor:

  • Disconnect the wiring and any connected tubing.
  • Unscrew or unbolt the compressor from its mounting.
  • Remove the old compressor.

Step 3: Installing the New Compressor:

  • Place the new compressor in its designated spot and secure it using bolts or screws.
  • Connect the tubing. You may need to solder or braze the connections to ensure they’re sealed.
  • Reconnect the wiring as it was on the old compressor.

Step 4: Evacuate and Recharge the System:

  • Connect a vacuum pump and evacuate the system to remove any moisture or air. This step is crucial for the proper functioning of the refrigerator.
  • Once the system is evacuated, recharge it with the correct amount and type of refrigerant.

Step 5: Power On and Test: Reconnect the refrigerator to power and monitor its performance. Check if the refrigerator is cooling and if the new compressor is operating without unusual noises.

Step 6: Secure Everything: Replace any panels or covers you removed in the process.

Clean the condenser coils:

Cleaning the condenser coils of your refrigerator can enhance its efficiency, as dirty coils can make the refrigerator work harder, using more energy and shortening the lifespan of the appliance. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean the condenser coils:

Step 1: Safety First: Disconnect the power to the refrigerator to ensure safety. Unplug it from the wall outlet or switch off the circuit breaker.

Step 2: Locate the Condenser Coils: For most refrigerators, the condenser coils are located either at the back or beneath the unit. If they are at the bottom, they might be accessed from the front or back.

Step 3: Access the Coils:

  • If the coils are on the back, just pull the refrigerator away from the wall. Make sure to be gentle to avoid damaging any water lines or other connections.
  • If the coils are underneath:
  • Remove the base grille from the front by popping it off or unscrewing it.
  • If accessed from the back, remove the rear lower panel.

Step 4: Dust Off Loose Dirt: Use a soft brush or a coil cleaning brush (specifically designed for this task) to gently dust off any loose dirt and debris from the coils.

Step 5: Vacuum the Coils: Use the nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner to carefully vacuum away the dirt and debris from the coils. Make sure to be gentle to avoid bending or damaging the coils.

Step 6: For Stubborn Grime: If there’s grime that’s hard to remove, you can dampen a cloth with warm soapy water and gently wipe the coils. Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaning agents, as they can damage the coils. Ensure the coils are dry before proceeding.

Step 7: Check the Fan (if accessible): Some refrigerators have a condenser fan next to the coils. Ensure this fan is clean, and there’s no debris around it that might obstruct its movement.

Step 8: Reassemble:

  • If you’ve removed any panels or grilles, put them back in place.
  • Push the refrigerator back to its position, ensuring there’s enough space between the wall and the unit for proper air circulation. If your refrigerator has a water dispenser, be cautious not to pinch or damage the water line.

Step 9: Restore Power: Plug the refrigerator back into the wall outlet or turn the circuit breaker back on.

Step 10: Monitor the Refrigerator: After cleaning, monitor your refrigerator’s temperature to ensure it’s cooling effectively.

Check the Airflow:

Proper airflow ensures the efficient circulation of cold air inside the refrigerator and the dissipation of heat from the coils outside. Without it, the refrigerator won’t cool efficiently, leading to potential food spoilage.

Step 1: Inspect Vents and Grills: Begin by checking the internal vents inside the refrigerator and freezer compartments. Ensure they are not blocked by food items or ice build-up.

Step 2: Examine the Condenser Fan: Located near the condenser coils (usually at the bottom rear of the refrigerator), this fan is responsible for drawing air over the coils to dissipate heat. Ensure it’s not blocked by debris, and that it rotates freely.

Step 3: Check the Evaporator Fan: Found inside the freezer compartment, this fan circulates cold air within the refrigerator. If there’s a malfunction or blockage, the circulation of cold air may be impeded.

Step 4: Gaps in Door Seals: Check the door seals for gaps or damage. If air leaks out, the refrigerator will have to work harder to maintain a cool temperature.

Step 5: Allow Space Around the Refrigerator: Ensure there’s adequate space around your refrigerator, especially behind and above, to allow for efficient heat dissipation.

Check the Capacitor:

replace the compressor
Fixing Maytag refrigerator not cooling

The start capacitor provides the initial boost of power to kick-start the compressor, which is the heart of your refrigerator’s cooling system. A malfunctioning capacitor can prevent the compressor from starting.

Step 1: Disconnect Power: Always disconnect the power to the refrigerator before working on it to avoid electric shocks.

Step 2: Locate the Capacitor: Typically, the capacitor is located in the rear lower section of the refrigerator, close to the compressor. It’s a cylindrical component.

Step 3: Visual Inspection: Look for signs of damage, swelling, or leaking fluid. If the capacitor appears damaged, it should be replaced.

Step 4: Use a Multimeter: To test the capacitor’s functionality, you’ll need a multimeter. Set it to the resistance setting (Ohms). By placing the multimeter’s leads on the capacitor terminals, you should observe a resistance reading that initially goes from low to infinite. If the readings don’t change or there’s no reading at all, the capacitor might be faulty.

Step 5: Replacement: If you’ve determined the capacitor is defective, replace it with an exact match. Capacitors have specific microfarad (µF) ratings and voltage ratings which need to match the original.

Step 6: Restore Power: Once done, restore the power and monitor the refrigerator’s performance.


Why is my Maytag refrigerator’s light on but not cooling?

This could be due to several reasons such as a faulty thermostat, malfunctioning fans, or an issue with the compressor. It indicates that the fridge is getting power, but the cooling mechanism is compromised.

How often should my Maytag refrigerator cycle on and off?

Typically, a refrigerator cycles on and off based on its thermostat settings and the room temperature. It should cycle a few times an hour, but if it’s constantly running or not running at all, there might be an issue with its cooling mechanism.

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

Yes, it’s normal for the sides, especially near the bottom, to feel slightly warm. This is due to the heat dissipated from the condenser coils. However, if it’s too hot to touch, there might be a cooling problem.

Can a blocked water filter cause cooling problems in my Maytag fridge?

While a blocked water filter mainly affects the water and ice dispensing feature, it shouldn’t directly impact the cooling. However, it’s a good practice to change the filter as per the recommended schedule.

Does frequent door opening affect my Maytag refrigerator’s cooling efficiency?

Yes, frequently opening the refrigerator door allows warm air to enter, making the appliance work harder to maintain the set temperature. Ensure the door is closed properly after each use.

Why is there a puddle of water under my Maytag fridge, and can it affect cooling?

The water could be from a defrosting issue or a blocked drain tube. While it might not directly affect cooling, unresolved water issues can lead to other complications, so it’s best to address them promptly.

What is the ideal temperature setting for my Maytag refrigerator and freezer to ensure optimal cooling?

The recommended setting for the refrigerator section is between 37°F and 40°F (2.8°C to 4.4°C) and for the freezer section, it’s 0°F (-17.8°C) or lower.


When a Maytag refrigerator ceases to cool effectively, it disrupts the core function of the appliance and poses potential risks to food safety. The reasons behind such cooling malfunctions can range from straightforward issues like dirty condenser coils and blocked airflow to more complex problems involving the compressor or thermostat. Regular maintenance, like cleaning coils and ensuring clear airflow, can prevent many of these issues. However, for persistent or more technical problems, seeking professional assistance is recommended. Addressing these issues promptly not only ensures the longevity of the appliance but also the safety and well-being of its users.

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