There are several possible causes when a refrigerator doesn’t keep your milk cold or your ice cream frozen. Before you attempt more complex repairs, try these simple fixes if your refrigerator is not cooling and if your freezer is not working:

  • Be sure the fridge is plugged in and getting power. The light should come on when you open the door.
  • Check the thermostat to make sure it hasn’t been turned way down by mistake.
  • Be sure the vents on the back of the freezer compartment aren’t blocked by boxes of ice cream or frozen vegetables—the vents have to be clear for cold air to circulate.
  • Vacuum the coils under or behind the fridge. Clogged coils can cause poor cooling.
  • Check to make sure nothing is stuck in the condenser fan and that it spins freely (models with coils on the back won’t have a fan). To do this, unplug the fridge and pull it out. Clean the fan blades and spin the fan by hand to see if it’s stuck. Plug in the fridge and make sure the fan runs when the compressor is running. If the fan doesn’t run, see the directions below, which show how to replace it.