July 20, 2015

How to replace the thermistor in a top-freezer refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the thermistor in a top-freezer refrigerator

This DIY repair guide gives instructions for replacing the thermistor in a top-freezer refrigerator. The thermistor is inside the control box and detects the temperature in the fresh-food section of the refrigerator. The thermistor sends a signal to the electronic control board to tell it what the refrigerator temperature is. 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 a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Watch our troubleshooting video to determine whether the thermistor in your refrigerator is working.

This guide shows how to replace the thermistor in some Kenmore and Frigidaire top-freezer refrigerators. Although the location of the thermistor may differ, the same basic replacement procedure can also be used for some Whirlpool, GE, Maytag, Amana, KitchenAid, Samsung, LG, Gibson, Crosley and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Nut driver set
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace a top-freezer refrigerator thermistor repair guide video.

Replace a refrigerator thermistor video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  2. 02.

    Remove the control box

    Remove the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Pull the control box forward to disengage the tabs at the back of the control box.

    Pull the control box down and unplug the control box wire harness from the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Remove the control box and place it on a work table.

    Remove the control box screw.

    Remove the control box screw.

    Pull the control box down.

    Pull the control box down.

    Unplug the wire harness.

    Unplug the wire harness.

  3. 03.

    Remove the thermistor

    Pull the thermistor out of the support bracket.

    Unplug the thermistor wire harness.

    Pull the thermistor out of the bracket.

    Pull the thermistor out of the bracket.

    Unplug the wire harness.

    Unplug the wire harness.

  4. 04.

    Install the new thermistor

    Connect the new thermistor to the wire harness.

    Push the new thermistor into the support bracket.

    Plug in the thermistor wire harness.

    Plug in the thermistor wire harness.

    Install the new thermistor.

    Install the new thermistor.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the control box

    Plug the control box wire harness into the refrigerator compartment ceiling connector.

    Line up the drain tube spout at the back of the control box with the drain hole in the upper back wall of the refrigerator compartment.

    Push the control box back across the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment, inserting the drain tube into the drain hole and engaging the tabs at the back of the control box.

    Reinstall the screw that secures the control box to the ceiling of the refrigerator compartment.

    Plug in the wire harness.

    Plug in the wire harness.

    Line up the drain tube.

    Line up the drain tube.

    Reinstall the control box.

    Reinstall the control box.

    Reinstall the screw.

    Reinstall the screw.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator to restore power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, 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
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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