Any refrigerator can have cooling issues, including Samsung ones. If you’re lucky, the problem may be easily fixed with a simple troubleshooting technique, but you need to detect the cause first. So, what are the most common causes and fixes for a Samsung refrigerator not cooling?
Here are the top 14 causes for a Samsung refrigerator not cooling:
- Power-related problems
- Incorrect modes and settings
- Broken or leaky door gasket
- Blocked airflow or circulation
- Failing evaporator fan
- Frozen evaporator coil
- Dirty condenser coil
- Broken condenser fan
- Bad thermistor or thermostat
- Malfunctioning reed switches
- Bad start relay or capacitor
- Control board failures
- Locked or bad compressor
- Low or leaking refrigerant
Many relatively new Samsung refrigerators display error codes if the system detects anomalies, so having the manual handy will help you navigate the probable causes. Also, you may have more than one reason for your Samsung refrigerator not cooling, as described below.
1. Power-Related Problems
Your Samsung refrigerator may not cool due to a significant voltage or power-related problem. If you check the display, you may see one of the following error codes:
- 85C: low voltage
- 83E: abnormal current
- 85E: low voltage for the compressor
- 86E: high voltage for the compressor
- 88 88: booting communication fault
Communication errors among the main components due to power-related problems are also indicated by the codes PC ER and PC CH. The Samsung refrigerator model you have may or may not display these identical codes. However, the implications are similar.
If you don’t find any error code or the display is blank, you should first check the power outlet to ensure it is live. Also, you must inspect the circuit breaker for the Samsung refrigerator. Reset the circuit breaker if it’s tripped or switch to a live power outlet if the current one isn’t working.
How To Fix
The 85C error isn’t a concern if the power was off for a while. Verify if the power outlet is live and the circuit breaker isn’t tripped. Then, press OK for around 3 seconds to clear this error code.
A simple hard reset or power cycle can fix the errors: 83E, 85E, 86E, and 88 88. Here are the steps for a hard reset on a Samsung refrigerator:
- Turn off and unplug the Samsung refrigerator.
- Turn off the circuit breaker and wait for a minute.
- Replug and turn on the circuit breaker and fridge.
- If the error codes persist, reboot the refrigerator.
- Use the power switch inside the fridge to reboot.
The power switch location inside your Samsung refrigerator model may vary a little. Family Hub models have this switch at the top of the right door.
Also, the above steps may not resolve the PC ER or PC CH error codes. However, you can fix the communications issue among the main components by disconnecting and reconnecting the wire harness.
The wire harness in a Samsung Family Hub is above the door. So, you should follow the power cycling and rebooting steps. Additionally, disconnect and reconnect the wire harness before you turn on the power supply to the refrigerator.
2. Incorrect Modes and Settings
Samsung refrigerators have a few pre-programmed modes, such as cooling off, vacation, etc. The cooling off feature is a demo or shop mode. So, the Samsung refrigerator has power, and the light inside is on. But the fridge won’t cool. This error code is usually the following:
- OF OF
- O FF
- OFF OFF
Likewise, some Samsung refrigerators have a vacation mode when the unit’s freezer runs fine, but not the fridge. The refrigerator maintains a temperature of under 62.6 °F (17 °C). Thus, if the fridge section is 59 °F (15 °C), the refrigerator isn’t cooling.
Similarly, the temperature settings should be accurate for your Samsung refrigerator for every zone. Thus, you ought to check if the cooling setting is appropriate.
How To Fix
Here are the ways to disable the cooling off, shop, or demo mode:
- Samsung refrigerators with the controls display inside the fridge. Press the Fridge and Flex buttons (top two), and hold them for 5 to 8 seconds or until the display flashes.
- Samsung refrigerators with a front display panel. Press the first two left buttons and the one at the top on the right side of the panel. Hold all the 3 buttons for 5 to 8 seconds.
- Samsung Family Hub refrigerators. Go to Fridge Manager, tap on Settings, and select the Cooling Off option. Choose Deactivate, and press Proceed to confirm.
If your Samsung refrigerator is on vacation mode–on purpose or unintentionally–press and hold this feature’s button on the panel for around 3 seconds to deactivate. Or, you can simply change the temperature or cooling setting, and the Samsung refrigerator will disable the vacation mode.
3. Broken or Leaky Door Gasket
Every door on your Samsung refrigerator has a gasket that forms an airtight seal when closed. If this gasket is leaking air, your fridge won’t cool to the desired extent. A misaligned, deformed, or broken door gasket may lead to a Samsung refrigerator not cooling at all.
Also, your Samsung refrigerator has a door magnet. This magnet locks the door and activates the reed switch. This reed switch won’t activate if the door magnet doesn’t align perfectly. Thus, your Samsung refrigerator won’t cool. I discuss the reed switch issue below in this article.
Many Samsung refrigerators have an ‘open door’ alarm. So, if you hear the alarm when the door is closed, you should suspect a failing, weak, or bad magnet. However, you won’t hear an alarm if the door gasket is at fault.
How To Fix
Inspect the door gasket to determine if it needs to be replaced. A door gasket may be loose, or some of it could be off the grooves, hence misaligned. Fix the minor misalignments and check if the door seals properly. If the door gasket is broken, you need to replace the part.
Here’s how you can replace a Samsung refrigerator’s French door gasket:
4. Blocked Airflow or Circulation
Blocked airflow or poor circulation inside a Samsung refrigerator impairs the cooling effect. Your fridge may still cool to a certain degree, but the temperature would be considerably warmer than required. So, check if you can feel the cool air circulating inside all the fridge sections.
Overloading a Samsung refrigerator can block the airflow or cause poor circulation, especially if you jam the vents with foods, containers, etc. If your fridge isn’t overstuffed, the problem could be the evaporator fan.
How To Fix
First, ensure your Samsung refrigerator isn’t overstuffed. You don’t need to underload a fridge, just make sure that it isn’t packed to the brim. Keep the vents clear, just in the immediate vicinity, so that the cool air can flow out and circulate. Then, check if the evaporator fan is working.
5. Failing Evaporator Fan
Your Samsung refrigerator has at least two evaporator fans, one each for the freezer and fridge sections. A failing evaporator fan for the fridge section won’t cool your Samsung refrigerator. So, you have to check if the fan and its motor are working properly.
Generally, a malfunctioning fan makes noise, and you would feel the lack of cool air circulating in the fridge. However, evaporator fans have become much quieter in recent years. So, even fully functioning fans don’t make much noise.
How To Fix
You need to take apart your Samsung refrigerator to get to the evaporator fan. This process involves taking out all the shelves and the interior panel at the back to access the evaporator unit. Check the fan blades for damage and spin them manually to verify the motor isn’t stuck.
Subsequently, you need to test the continuity of the fan motor to detect an electrical fault. If the fan has no issues, you may have a bad control board, or the evaporator coil is freezing when the fridge is turned on, thus blocking the cool air circulation.
Watch the following video on how to access and test the evaporator fan in your Samsung refrigerator:
6. Frozen Evaporator Coil
A Samsung refrigerator’s evaporator coil may freeze due to bad thermistors, defrost timer, or heater. Also, blocked vents and failing fans can cause frost in the unit. If a freezer is functioning alright, the problem may be the fan in the fridge, not the thermistors, defrost timer, or heater.
Regardless of the cause, you have to take apart the fridge to check the evaporator unit. You’ll see ice buildup on the coil and its fins. If the coil looks fine, your Samsung refrigerator is not cooling for one of the other reasons in this guide.
How To Fix
If the evaporator coil is frozen, you should defrost the Samsung refrigerator. Turn off the power supply and allow sufficient time to defrost the Samsung refrigerator naturally. If the temperature sensor, defrost timer, and heater are working fine, the evaporator coil shouldn’t freeze again.
However, the evaporator coil may freeze due to blocked vents, bad fan motors, and issues with the cooling system. This cooling system includes the compressor, condenser coil and fan, and refrigerant. Also, you may have a bad thermistor that isn’t detecting the fridge temperature.
7. Dirty Condenser Coil
Condenser coils can get dirty and inefficient for all refrigerators, not just Samsung.
The condenser coil is usually at the bottom of the back of a Samsung refrigerator. If you see this coil is dirty and probably grimy, the condenser won’t dissipate much heat, and the fridge won’t cool.
How To Fix
You must clean the dirty condenser coil, including its fan. The most practical option is using a vacuum cleaner. A brush, rag, microfiber cloth, or compressed air can make a mess around the fridge. After you clean the condenser coil, check if its fan is working at an optimum speed.
8. Broken Condenser Fan
Like the evaporator unit’s cool air circulation, the condenser coil has a fan that dissipates heat away from the fridge. Also, this condenser fan prevents the compressor from overheating. So, a broken condenser fan affects the coil and the compressor functions, which regulate cooling.
Check whether the condenser fan is working or not. Also, observe the speed or rpm of the fan. A low rpm or any intermittent spinning issues imply an electromechanical fault.
The fault could be in the motor or the circuit. The latter brings the control board and wiring into the equation.
How To Fix
Unplug the Samsung refrigerator, clean the fan, and check if the blades spin freely. If they don’t, the motor is stuck or bad. Replace the bad motor. If the motor is fine, the issue is electrical. So, inspect the wires and ensure they’re not frayed and loose. Then, suspect the control board.
9. Bad Thermistor or Thermostat
Your Samsung refrigerator has several thermistors, including:
- Room temperature sensor.
- Defrost thermistor.
- Freezer thermistor.
- Ice maker thermistor.
- Fridge thermistor.
A bad thermistor in any fridge section can prevent your Samsung refrigerator from cooling. Also, you may have a disconnected or broken thermostat. If the refrigerator thermistor has resistance and the thermostat has continuity, the problem could be the Samsung control board.
How To Fix
You have to replace a bad thermistor. Samsung refrigerators usually have the fridge thermistor behind the rear internal panel, at the top right. Replacing it is easy as long as you match the part number and handle the wire harness properly. However, you may want to test the thermistor.
Here’s how you can test Samsung refrigerator thermistors to decide if they need to be replaced:
10. Malfunctioning Reed Switches
The thermistor and thermostat are temperature sensors. Your Samsung refrigerator has a few more sensors that can malfunction, such as reed switches.
The reed switch is inside the main body of the fridge, where the door frame shuts. If you own a French door or side-by-side Samsung refrigerator, it has two reed switches for the fridge. The door magnets I discussed earlier should activate the reed switches. Otherwise, the fridge won’t cool.
Here’s how you can test if your Samsung refrigerator’s reed switches are working or defective:
How To Fix
You need a new set of reed switches matching the part number for your Samsung refrigerator. Here are the steps to replace the reed switches:
- Access the hinge cover above the refrigerator door.
- Remove the screws to take the panel off the fridge.
- Gently unplug and disconnect the wire harnesses.
- Flip the panel to access the reed switches assembly.
- Take the reed switches assembly off the retainers.
- Install the new reed switches and align the wires.
- Restore the hinge cover panel atop the refrigerator.
11. Bad Start Relay or Capacitor
The start relay or capacitor could be the problem if a Samsung refrigerator doesn’t start to cool, including the freezer section.
The start relay is a compressor component, while the capacitor is in the control board housing. Generally, these two quintessential parts don’t fail simultaneously. However, I’m clubbing these two issues as both prevent cooling, and the approach to replacing either part is a tad similar.
A Samsung refrigerator won’t work if the compressor’s start relay is bad. Refrigerators make a clicking sound if the start relay fails. Likewise, the fridge and freezer won’t cool or function if the capacitor is dead.
How To Fix
You have to replace a bad start relay or capacitor. Get the matching part and follow these steps:
- Remove the kick plate or rear panel at the bottom of your Samsung refrigerator.
- Remove the start relay from the compressor’s terminals if it’s bad.
- Replace the start relay at the compressor terminals.
- Or, unscrew the rear panel housing the control board to access the bad capacitor.
- Install the new capacitor and fit the wire connectors snugly.
- Reassemble the rear kick plate for the compressor or control board housing panel.
Refer to your Samsung refrigerator schematics to know the exact location of the compressor and control board. Here are the online manuals for a few popular series:
- Samsung RS2511 Series Service Manual
- Samsung RF23A9671 Series User Manual
- Samsung RS27T5561 Series User Manual
- Samsung RF260BEAESR Manuals
- Samsung RF220NCTASR/AA Manuals
12. Control Board Failures
Samsung refrigerators have an inverter control board for their variable speed compressors. So, a bad inverter control board may prevent the compressor from running. Hence, if the start relay isn’t bad when the compressor doesn’t start, you should check the inverter control board.
Variable speed compressors are extremely durable. Thus, a Samsung refrigerator not cooling for a compressor-related issue is more likely to be a bad start relay or inverter control board. You must check both to detect the culprit before you think about replacing either.
If the inverter control board’s light isn’t on, you must test the connections with the main control board. A blinking LED light on the inverter control board indicates a problem with its circuit. The LED blinking error codes vary from one series to another, so check your model’s manual.
Here’s a brief video to help you get familiar with Samsung refrigerator control boards:
How To Fix
Generally, Samsung refrigerator control boards aren’t repairable, whether it is the one for the compressor or the main. Hence, you have to replace a bad control board. Also, if you have a bad main control board, it’s difficult to know if anything else is a problem or working fine.
13. Locked or Bad Compressor
A Samsung refrigerator won’t cool if the compressor is locked, not running, or malfunctioning. A compressor may stop working if it gets overheated. Likewise, electrical issues such as frayed or loose wirings and shorts can lock a compressor. Also, a low refrigerant level may be an issue.
How To Fix
You can fix a bad start relay, inverter board, and wiring connection. However, you shouldn’t try to fix electrical shorts unless you’re a professional. Also, don’t handle a refrigerator compressor if the system still has some refrigerant. Contact a technician for any compressor problem.
14. Low or Leaking Refrigerant
Low refrigerant can prevent a Samsung refrigerator from cooling.
Your fridge shouldn’t have low refrigerant unless the coolant has leaked or is still leaking. This issue is serious as the coolant is hazardous. Contact Samsung support or a licensed technician if you suspect the refrigerant is leaking.
How To Fix
Don’t attempt to refill refrigerant without training and protective gear. Also, refilling is futile if you still have a leak in your Samsung refrigerator’s evaporator coils, condenser, or compressor. Get a technician to visit your home for a comprehensive inspection and surefire solution.