July 20, 2015

How to replace a refrigerator thermistor

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator thermistor

This DIY repair guide gives step-by step instructions for how to replace a refrigerator thermistor. The thermistor senses temperature changes in the refrigerator and sends the control board a signal about the temperature change. If the thermistor fails, the refrigerator won't stay at the temperature you set, resulting in items either freezing or spoiling because it's too cold or too warm. Replace the thermistor with the manufacturer-approved fridge part that fits your model.

Watch our troubleshooting video to determine whether the thermistor in your refrigerator is working. Although the thermistor in this video might be in a different location, the troubleshooting is the same.

Use this basic procedure to replace the thermistor in Kenmore, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, GE, Maytag, Amana, KitchenAid, Samsung, LG, Gibson, Crosley and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
1/4-inch nut driver
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less


  1. 01.

    Disconnect electrical power

    Unplug the refrigerator or shut off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator.

    Tip: Move highly perishable food to a cooler or other cooled space. The refrigerator will be without power for about 30 minutes, which shouldn't affect most refrigerated or frozen foods.
  2. 02.

    Remove the thermistor cover

    Locate the thermistor in the refrigerator section; it’s under a small plastic cover attached to the surface of the back wall, side wall or ceiling.

    Release the thermistor cover and pull the thermistor out of the cover.

    Tip: See the parts list diagram for your refrigerator for help locating this component.
    PHOTO: Release the thermistor cover.

    PHOTO: Release the thermistor cover.

  3. 03.

    Remove the thermistor

    Pull the thermistor out of the mounting clip and unplug the wire harness. Remove the thermistor.

  4. 04.

    Install the new thermistor

    Attach the thermistor to the mounting clip and then to the wire harness.

  5. 05.

    Attach the cover

    Reattach the thermistor's cover and reinstall any shelves you removed.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Don’t proceed until you’re confident that you understand all the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

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
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: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
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 air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

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

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
 15 minutes or less
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

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.

January 3, 2022

How to fix a fridge door seal

By Lyle Weischwill

Learn about fixing a fridge door seal

December 30, 2021

How to fix your evaporator cooling fan

By Lyle Weischwill

Learn how to fix a broken evaporator fan

April 10, 2020

Cleaning your appliances after a drinking water advisory

By Julie Riebe

Find out how to clean and flush household appliances once a boil water advisory is lifted.