Yesterday, I noticed that the refrigerator portion of my unit was not cooling, but the freezer was like sub-zero.

I've seen this problem before: typically it means that somebody didn't close the door all the way, a lot of moisture got inside the unit, and the airflow from the freezer to the refrigerator got blocked by the resulting ice.

I unplugged the unit overnight, and I observed that there were no obstructions this morning, so I plugged the unit back in.

To my surprise, I am still observing a sub-zero freezer with a non-cool fridge.

I see that the compressor fan is running, the freezer fan is running, and there does not appear to be any obstruction in the duct at the bottom of the freezer that carries the cold air to the refrigerator. I also do not see any sort of additional fan that is being used to force the air into the fridge, so I do not see any other components that could possibly be causing this problem. Yet, even if I put my hand right next to the duct, I don't feel much cold air entering the fridge (and certainly not enough to keep anything cool).

And, yes, I've turned the refrigerator control to coldest, so that's not the problem.

This one is very confusing... any ideas?

  • 1
    Maybe unplugging it overnight wasn't sufficient to melt the ice. Modern refrigerators are quite well insulated, energy star being the reason. Jun 20, 2016 at 0:32
  • Perhaps it is clogged with ice cream or some other crusty, gooey substance. Sometimes there are screws or some way to remove the bottom or back of the freezer compartment to access the vent. Jun 20, 2016 at 13:22
  • I removed the panel on the inside of the freezer portion to expose the coils. I did not see any ice build up on the coils, nor did I see any obstruction in the duct at the bottom of the freezer that leads to the refrigerator. I can feel just the faintest wisp of cool air coming into the fridge at that entry point. Is there somewhere else I should be looking for obstructions? Again, the freezer is getting cooled completely, so the point of failure has to be from the freezer to the fridge. Jun 20, 2016 at 17:25
  • Look for the vents that lead from the freezer to the fridge portion. These can sometimes be clogged. As most units don't actually have a separate vent going from the coils to the fridge, they just allow "bleed air" from the freezer to cool the fridge. Jun 22, 2016 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


There should be airflow from the freezer down to the fridge, but this can become blocked by ice, especially in some specific models. Try doing a complete manual defrost and see if that solves the problem. If it does, a modification to the defrost heater may be possible to keep this from recurring.


Some recent refrigerators have a duct damper that opens and closes to control the air flow.

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