How to Replace a Refrigerator Temperature Control Thermostat



This refrigerator repair guide explains how to access and replace the temperature control thermostat in the control housing of a refrigerator. If the refrigerator isn't at the temperature you set, the thermostat might not sense the temperature correctly or might not signal the compressor to turn on. In either case, you can replace the refrigerator thermostat using the manufacturer-approved replacement part that fits your model.

This basic procedure works for Kenmore, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, Gibson, Crosley, GE, Haier and other brands of refrigerators.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 30 min.

Parts Required

  • In-door ice maker

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Screwdriver
  • Safety gloves

Before you begin

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. 

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 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.

Step 1: Disconnect electrical power

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

Step 2: Remove the control knob

Pull the control knob straight off the front of the the temperature control thermostat and set it aside.

Step 3: Detach the control housing

Remove the screws that secure the control housing to the top of the  refrigerator compartment. Support the control housing so it doesn't fall after you remove the last screw. Carefully lower the control housing about 6"—wires prevent you from lowering it further.

Step 4: Release the temperature control thermostat

Release the brackets that hold the temperature control thermostat and the sensing tube in place. Pull temperature control thermostat and the sensing tube from the control housing.

If an insulation sleeve covers the sensing tube, remove the sleeve and save it to use on the sensing tube on the new temperature control thermostat.

Step 5: Disconnect the wires

Take a digital picture of the wires or tag them with numbered pieces of masking tape so you know how to reconnect them. 

Remove the wires and pull the temperature control thermostat out of the refrigerator. Set it aside for disposal.

Step 6: Connect the wires to the new thermostat

Remove the new temperature control thermostat from its package and carefully straighten the sensor tube. If an insulation sleeve covered the old sensing tube, transfer it to the sensing tube on the new temperature control thermostat.

Connect the wires to the new temperature control thermostat, using the digital image as a guide

 Warning: Incorrectly connecting the wires can damage the refrigerator component. If you're uncertain how to connect the wires, have a service technician complete this repair.

Step 7: Insert the new temperature control thermostat into the bracket

Properly position the temperature control thermostat and the sensing tube in the control housing and push it into the brackets. The new temperature control thermostat should fit into the control housing the same way the removed temperature control thermostat did.

Step 8: Attach the control housing

Carefully push the control housing into position, making sure  the wires are properly positioned so  the edges of the control housing won't  pinched them. Insert the mounting screws, tighten thm until they stop turning and then give the screws a reasonably firm twist to secure them.

Step 9: Reinstall the control knob

Position the control knob on the front of the stem properly and push it onto the stem completely.

Step 10: Restore electrical power

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