Diagnosing Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Problems Video


If your refrigerator isn’t cooling  well and the fan on the inside back wall of the appliance isn’t running or blowing cool air like usual, you might need to replace the evaporator fan. This video from Sears PartsDirect shows how to troubleshoot problems with your refrigerator’s evaporator fan, including using continuity checks to identify the problem and make sure that the fan motor, electronic control board and the wiring that connects them are working correctly.

Check out our DIY Refrigerator Repair page for more how-to guides and videos, answers to common questions and error code charts.

Troubleshooting Evaporator Fan Problems in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator

Hi, this is Wayne from Sears PartsDirect. The evaporator fan is this little device back here that blows cool air into your refrigerator and freezer. Typically, it should run whenever you hear your compressor turn on. Today, we're going show you a few things to check if your evaporator fan motor isn’t turning on. 

Check the Electronic Control Board

For some of these tests, you’ll need a multimeter. First, let's see if the evaporator fan runs in the diagnostic test mode. To enter the diagnostic test mode on this Kenmore model, within 2 seconds, press the light switch 3 times and then press and hold it a 4th time until you hear a long beep. You're now in the test mode. If this doesn’t work on your model, check your tech sheet for instructions. You can usually find it located behind the bottom front grill or taped to the back of the refrigerator.

Once you’re in test mode, to test the evaporator fan, press the light switch twice and wait for 2 beeps. Repeat that step 3 more times. You've now started the evaporator fan test. If your evaporator fan runs during the diagnostic test but not in normal operation, you’ll probably need to replace your electronic control board. Here’s a link to a video that will show you how to do that.

Must-Have DIYers Tool  

For some tests in this video, you need a multimeter. It's an inexpensive, easy-to-use tool that measures voltage, current and resistance to determine the source of an electrical problem. It's an essential tool for testing anything electrical, including appliances, power tools, lawn tractors, air-conditioners and electrical outlets.

Troubleshoot Wiring Problems

If the evaporator fan doesn't run in the diagnostic test mode, then you could have a defective control board, but the problem could also be a bad evaporator fan or a break in the wiring. Let's check the wiring first. Unplug the refrigerator and remove the screw that holds the control box. Pull the control box down and check the red wire with the white stripe for visible damage. Repair the wire if it's pinched or broken.

Even if everything looks ok, there could still be a problem. We'll need to check the wires supplying power to the fan using a multimeter. For safety, always make sure the refrigerator is unplugged before checking continuity. Remove the electronic control board. Drop down the back freezer panel and unplug the evaporator fan.

To check for continuity, put the meter leads on either end of the red wire with the white stripe, one on the evaporator fan plug and the other on the control board plug. The meter should read near 0 ohms. Next, check for continuity through the light blue wire in the same way. If either wire doesn't have continuity, we will need to find the break.

Unplug the wire harness from the ceiling, and check continuity between the ceiling plug and the control board plug on the bad wire. If that checks out, then check between the ceiling receptacle and the fan plug. If you find a wire that reads infinite resistance, which is a 1 in the far left corner of the meter, repair the broken wire or replace the wire harness. If both those wires had continuity, the problem is with the fan motor or the electronic control board.

Examine the Fan Motor and Electronic Control Board

Let’s check the fan motor next. In this refrigerator, the evaporator fan motor has a control board inside the motor casing, so we won’t be able to check for continuity. Remove the support bracket and fan motor cover to examine the fan control board for damage and replace the evaporator fan motor if the board has visible burn marks. Here’s a video that will show you how.

If you don’t see any damage, then you should have the evaporator fan bench tested by a service technician. During a bench test, the service technician will apply 120 volts to the evaporator fan motor to see whether it runs or not. If the fan does not run in the bench test, replace the evaporator fan motor. If it does run in the bench test, replace the electronic control board. The electronic control board is not sending power the evaporator fan motor.

Well I hope this video helps you out today. Be sure to check out our other videos, here on the Sears PartsDirect YouTube Channel, and don't forget to subscribe.