How To Repair Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Problems

The reason your refrigerator isn’t cooling may have to do with the evaporator fan-related problems. The fan is located somewhere inside the back wall of the refrigerator or freezer compartments behind one or more panels. It is typically mounted onto an evaporator fan assembly. This fan when properly working is supposed to blow air through evaporator fins to aid the absorption of heat which cools the air before it is blown into both the refrigerator and freezer compartments. When the fan stops running or no longer blows cool air, it normally needs to be checked and that could make it necessary for its replacement. It is therefore critical to understand all the troubleshooting options needed to fix problems with the evaporator fan. Continuity checks are needed to identify the problem and make sure the electronic control board, the evaporator fan motor, and the wiring that connects them are working correctly.

Troubleshooting and fixing the evaporator fan if a refrigerator stops cooling

The evaporator fan is normally supposed to start running as soon as the compressor on your refrigerator turns on. However, physical obstruction can potentially stop the evaporator fan from running freely. Ice build-up too on the blades of the evaporator fan can hinder its operation. Melting the ice in most cases will solve the problem unless the blades become damaged to a point of bending and jamming or damage has been caused to the motor windings of the fan.  When the blades become bent, they can only be replaced because straightening them in most cases will not restore their balance successfully. Sometimes dirt also builds up on the bearings of the evaporator fan and that can be solved with penetrating oil application.

When your refrigerator evaporator fan won’t turn on, there are certain things you will need to check to troubleshoot, identify, and fix the problem:

Make sure to check the electronic control board

The first thing you need to do is to enter into the diagnostic test mode so that you may be able to confirm if the evaporator fan starts running. To do so you will need to check the technical sheet often taped at the back of your fridge or just behind the front grill on the bottom side.  If the fan successfully runs during the test mode but not in normal operation, you will know it is the electronic control board that will need to be replaced.

Troubleshooting the wiring problems 

In case the evaporator fan doesn’t run during the diagnostic test mode, it could mean the problem is with the control board, the evaporator fan itself, or breaks within the wiring connections. You will need to unplug the refrigerator from the electrical power outlet for your safety and then will need to check for continuity through the wiring. To remove it, you will need to unscrew the control box and then find the wire which supplies power to the fan. The wire will need to be inspected for any physical damages and even if none is found a continuity check will still need to be carried out using a multimeter. The control board must be removed before dropping the back freezer panel in order to get the evaporator fan unplugged, which allows access to the wiring. Two wires will require checking for continuity and most likely that’s a red and a blue wire. The continuity check for each of those wires should register zero ohms on your multimeter. If you don’t get continuity with any of the wires, there’s probably a break that needs to be found. The wire harness will need to be unplugged from the ceiling so that continuity can be checked between the control board’s plug for the bad wire and the ceiling plug. In this case, if continuity is not detected the multimeter should be reading infinite resistance, which displays 1. The broken wire will need to be repaired or the wire harness replaced. Should there be no problem with continuity, it could be that the problem lies with the electronic control board or the evaporator fan motor.

How to examine the evaporator fan motor and electronic control board

The fan motor of your refrigerator may have a control board inside its casing. That makes it almost impossible to check for any continuity other than looking out for visible burns on the control board. If any burn marks are visible, the fan motor will need to be replaced. If no burns, it is best to get help from a professional appliance repair technician because he is qualified to do further tests that determine if the control board sends power to the fan motor.

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