October 13, 2016

Diagnosing refrigerator evaporator fan problems video

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Diagnosing refrigerator evaporator fan problems.
Diagnosing refrigerator evaporator fan problems.

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.

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.

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.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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