Though your refrigerator and freezer often operate in sync, there are times when the freezer may function normally while the refrigerator’s temperature rises. Wondering why your KitchenAid freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm? Dirty condenser coils may not be sufficiently cooling the refrigerant and require cleaning. Learn more reasons why your refrigerator warms while the freezer keeps its cool.

Troubleshooting When Your KitchenAid Freezer Is Cold But Refrigerator Is Warm

When your KitchenAid freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm, a part malfunction often requires replacement. However, KitchenAid refrigerator troubleshooting can also include a DIY fix or simple adjustment. Use these troubleshooting tips to help determine the right solution.

Restricted Airflow Between Compartments

Airflow between the refrigerator and freezer is essential for proper cooling. Warm and cool air moves through vents in the two compartments. If these vents are blocked, airflow becomes restricted, and your KitchenAid refrigerator won’t cool while the freezer remains cold. Overstocking the refrigerator or freezer can block the vents, while a vent malfunction can also restrict airflow.

Follow these tips to ensure adequate airflow between the refrigerator and freezer:

  • Check the vents’ damper controls: Some vents have dampers that open and close to control when cool air enters the refrigerator. If the dampers malfunction and stay closed, the refrigerator won’t have access to cool air. In this case, the damper control requires replacement.
  • Avoid overstocking: Storing too many items in the refrigerator or freezer can block the vents and restrict airflow between items. Aim to keep both compartments only ¾ of the way full to ensure adequate airflow. 
  • Store oversize items away from vents: Large refrigerated containers or bottles can easily block the vents. Store these items on door shelving, so the vents are free of obstructions. Our tips for how to organize a refrigerator include additional storage solutions for large items to maintain airflow.

kitchenaid refrigerator not cooling but freezer is fine

Condenser Coils Require Cleaning

Condenser coils cool and condense refrigerant, releasing heat to help create cool air for the refrigerator. If the coils become coated in dust and dirt, they won’t be able to perform as efficiently. When this happens, it’s possible that the refrigerator won’t get cold but freezer will operate normally.

Your coils will get dirty even faster if you have pets that shed or live on acreage that allows more dirt to enter your home. We recommend that you clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils at least once every six months or more frequently if needed.

Cleaning the condenser can restore its function and will provide more efficient cooling. Some models today have self-cleaning coils, so refer to your user manual to determine if condenser coil cleanings are recommended for your model.

Here’s how to access and clean the condenser coils on a KitchenAid refrigerator:

  • Unplug the refrigerator.
  • Remove the base grille. Hold the grille on either side and push in the top while pulling the bottom upward.
  • Use an appliance brush or a vacuum brush attachment to gently clean the coils and the surrounding area.
  • Replace the base grille. Line up the support tabs with the metal clips and push in firmly to secure them in place.
  • Restore the refrigerator’s power.

*Note: Refrigerator coils are often difficult to access and cleaning them is a messy job. Let the pros at Cody’s handle it for you and schedule refrigerator coil cleaning service today!

kitchenaid refrigerator freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm

Image from Weather Imagery

Refrigerator Thermistor Failure

When you find your KitchenAid refrigerator not cooling but freezer is fine, a failed thermistor may be responsible. The thermistor monitors the refrigerator’s temperature, signaling the control board to initiate the production of more cold air through a change in resistance. When the thermistor can’t provide resistance in response to refrigerator temperature changes, it’s likely failed. If multimeter testing of the thermistor confirms failure with a lack of continuity, it requires replacement.

Defective Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan draws cool air over the evaporator coils and circulates it to the refrigerator. If the fan malfunctions, the freezer may still remain cold, while the lack of circulated air causes the refrigerator to warm. 

The following signs suggest a fan motor malfunction:

  • Fan blades don’t turn easily by hand
  • Fan motor runs more loudly than usual
  • Fan motor shows a lack of continuity with multimeter testing

If any of these signs are present, the fan motor should be replaced.

Defrost System Malfunction

A final reason your KitchenAid freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm could be a defrost system malfunction. When functioning normally, the defrost system melts any frost that develops on the evaporator coils. If a defrost system component malfunctions, frost can accumulate and block airflow in the coils, warming the refrigerator. Several possible components in the defrost system can cause a malfunction, including the defrost timer, control board, or thermostat.

To accurately pinpoint the problem, defrost system malfunctions should be assessed by a professional refrigerator repair service.

Cody’s Appliance Repair can help when your KitchenAid freezer is cold but refrigerator is warm. Schedule your consultation with our experienced technicians today!