• Please note, some of the links on our site are affiliate links (Learn More)

Whirlpool bottom freezer refrigerator has cold freezer, but refer at room temp. Help please!

Tom Ells

Premium Member
Jul 28, 2023
Bellevue WA
Model Number
More than 10 years
Hi, I hope that someone here might be able to help me. I'm going to list everything that has happened recently with my fridge, which means I might include info that is not relevant. If that is the case I apologize, but I'd rather give you too much info than skip somethng that might be important

A couple of days ago the refrigerator in my bottom freezer Whirlpool refer started to warm up. The freezer however appeared to stay cold. I put a simple refer thermometer into both the fridge and the freezer; fridge temp was 50+ while the freezer was below xero.

I came to this forum and did a search on the symptoms. I first checked the coils; they were somewhat dirty so I thoroughly cleaned them. Then I looked at the large fan that cools the coils. It was running nicely. I could also hear the compressor running. Since I already had the fridge out of it's spot I removed the lower back of the unit and vacuumed everything out. It was already pretty clean but I figured I'd do it anyway. Then I waited ~6-8 hours to see what happened. Unfortunately none of this work fixed the problem. The top was still warm, and the bottom was cold.

Next I removed the door to the freezer as well as all the racks and baskets and pulled off the back panel to check the evaporator. When I did this I first unplugged the refer, so by the time I got the panel off about an hour had gone by. The evaporator was ice/frost free and damp, but there was a large piece of solid ice in the upper right that surrounded some copper pipes and some wires. I slowly melted/removed the ice with a heart gun and an ice pick, carefully avoiding the pipes and wires.

Once the entire back area appeared ice free, I plugged the unit back in and watched the evaporator fan. It turned on immediately and seemd to work perfectly. I then unplugged the unit and let it sit for another 8 hours to make sure any internal ice build up that I could not see would have time to melt. I also removed the ice maker, which had never been hooked up.

At this point I plugged the unit in and periodically checked the temps in both the fridge and freezer. Things cooled very quickly, much faster than I expected. Within a few hours the freezer temp was below freezing and the fridge was below 50. By ~6 hours the freezer temp was below zero, and the fridge was at 35, and I thought that everything was fixed.

However, being a bit of a pessimist I did not load everything in again, but instead watched and continued to check the temps. Sure enough, a few hours later the fridge temp was back to 40, even though the freezer remained cold. It was now late at night so I went to bed. In the morning the fridge temp was ~55. Interestingly the freezer temp was no longer at or below zero, but had risen to ~15. I could hear the big fan running, as well as the compressor. No idea about whether the evaporator fan was working.

I unplugged the unit and let it sit for 45 minutes before plugging back in, hoping that might reset the control board. No luck. The fridge stayed warm and the freezer stayed cold, but only ~10 degrees.

One other possibly unrelated fact. Occasionally (maybe once/twice a day) there will be a fairly loud popping sound from the unit, it sounds a bit like a piece of ice had just been dropped inside the fridge. But nothing there that can be seen.

That get us to the present. From what I have researched, it appears that the most likely problem is that the condenser fan is not working or the airflow passage from the freexer to the fridge is clogged. Fan failure could be because the fan itself is bad, a temp sensor that activates the fan is bad, or the motherboard has failed. I doubt that the passage is clogged since the warming of the fridge, after it seemed to be working, happened so quickly. But here my ignorance might well have me making unwarranted assumptions about how long it takes that passage to ice up. Because the unit did initally get cold after the full defrost it appears the compressor is working and there is plenty of refrigerant, but again I might be making false assumptions.

So what is my next step? Do I pull the panel in the freezer again and check to see if the evap fan is working? Is there a temp sensor for the fan that I can check?

My wife and I have really liked this fridge until now, and a replacement (she has to have it in white) is close to $2k. I have no problem replacing bad parts if I am able to determine what is bad.

Any help will be greatly appreciated! And any questions are welcome.
If you have visual on the evaporator with the evap cover removed, and If you have no frost on most of the coil when the compressor is operating but you have a ball of ice at one upper corner, then you have a sealed system problem. More than likely you will need to replace the whole refrigerator unless you have some sort of warranty coverage.
Thanks Denver, I really appreciate you answering my post! My question is, if I have a problem with the system losing refrigerant, why did the refer and freezer (briefly) go back to the correct temps after I did a thorough defrost of the unit? I might not understand enough of how the a refrigerator works, but I have done a fair amount of work with automotive AC systems, and once the refrigerant is low in a car's AC there is no way to get any cool air. Obviously different systems but still similar in operation - at least I think thay are, but I realize I might be completely wrong on this! And why am I still getting decent cooling in the freezer?

Thanks again for your help!
Sometimes you can get enough cooling from what little capacity it has to make everything look right, but it can't work longterm. If your compressor is running and the fans are okay and nothing else is obviously wrong, and if you get an ice ball but no frosting on the rest of the evap, then generally that is a sealed system problem. You could try melting the ice ball I think you will see that it has no frosting on the rest of the evap once you start it up again.
I'm going to remove the back of the freezer this evening and check it again, I have not looked since my initial check and subsequent defrost. Very curious to see if the ice ball is back, I completely melted it when I was inside last time. This time I will not turn the freezer off before starting to take everything apart so I can get a better idea of the state of the evaporator.

Thanks again for your help!
I opened up the back of the freezer again, here is a photo. It took me longer than I expected to get the back opened so the coils may have thawed a bit. I left the unit plugged in the entire time to try to keep the coils with some frost. The coils are frosty, and the place in the upper right of the space above the evaporator is icing a bit, the copper pipe is already fully frosted over though not really icy, at least not yet.

Shortly after I pulled the panel out of place the evaporator fan turned on and ran continuously as I was replacing the panel and reassembling the drawer assembly. An hour after reassemby, the refer temp is down to 50 (it was 65) and the freezer is at 25. Almost midnight so I'll see what it looks like tomorrow morning, but it appears that once again the refer is cooling properly after I took things apart and put them back together, but really did nothing else.
Just discovered that the photo I tried to attach did not go through, so I tried again and it looks like it is showing.

I checked the fridge again at around 2PM, roughly 3 hours after reassemby. Fridge temp was 35, freezer just above zero. Strong flow of very cold air from the port at top inside the fridge. But this morning the fridge temp is back to 50, with no air flow at all from the port. My conclusion wold be that there is something wrong with whatever controls the evaporator fan, since when it is working the fridge gets cold. But since I am mostly ignorant of how the system works that might well be incorrect.

Your thoughts?


  • Evaporator.jpg
    229.7 KB · Views: 45
Anytime the compressor is running the freezer fan should be running. Is that happening? Frost patterns looks good to me meaning no sealed system problem. Possible Jazz board problem with it not going in defrost. Or Termination thermostat bad. Or defrost heater. Watch this video and learn the basic operation of the system.Tech sheet below:


  • GB2FHDXWQ02 Tech Sheet - W10322959 - Rev B copy.pdf
    260.7 KB · Views: 22
When you say "freezer fan" do you mean the evaporator fan? If so, it is currently NOT running when the compressor is running. When I opened the back panel to access the evaporator, the fan was not running. But while I was fussing with trying to take photos of the evaporator the fan came on and stayed on for some time after I had reassembled the freezer. While I could not hear the fan running there was a strong cold air flow from the port inside the refer. This continued until the refer hit the set temperature and then the fan stopped, and did not turn on again. From all I can tell it has not turned on since, and the refer temp has been slowly rising.

I'll watch the video, thanks for sending. And thanks very much for your help!
It looks like the evaporator is fully frosting, so that means the sealed system is good. Looks like you are getting incomplete defrost in upper right corner, so that could mean the thermal cutoff is wonky. That is what I would try next. I don't think that the problem is the jazz board.
I ran the diagnostic tests listed on the pdf. except #1 since it seemed I'd need to remove the interior freezer panel to do this. Test #2, Compressor/Condenser Fan test seemed to work fine. Test #3, Evaporator/Freezer Fan test it did NOT appear that the fan was running. There was no airflow to the top vent in the fridge, and I have felt good flow there when I knw the fan was working. Test #4, Fresh Food Thermistor was a Pass. Test #5, Freezer Thermistor was also a Pass. Test #6, open damper test, appeared to also check out. I could not see the damper without removing the cover, but I could hear the damper opening and closing. I'm not certain that "Pass" means the thermistor is good but that is what I am assuming.

So from this it seems to agree with my diagnosis that the freezer fan is not turning on when the compressor is running as it should. I know that the fan works, since I have seen it and also observed/felt cold sir coming into the fridge. So the question is, WHY is the fan not working? Would this be an issue with the motherboard, or is there another thermoswitch somewhere that activates the fan independently of the compressor? I might be wrong here, but from what I've read it seems that whenever the compressor runs the fan should also be activated. If this is true, then either the circuit from the compressor to the fan is compromised (bad wire or bad switch/relay), or the motherboard is not allowing the fan to turn on. Or something else that I just don't know about!

Todd, your message came in as was typing the above. What/where is the thermal cutoff? I'm not seeing that on the pdf that bigbuck sent me.
I know that the fan works, since I have seen it and also observed/felt cold sir coming into the fridge.


So the question is, WHY is the fan not working?

The fan motor could now be defective, it might not be receiving power or something could be jamming its movement.

from what I've read it seems that whenever the compressor runs the fan should also be activated.

All of the fan motors should run whenever the compressor is running, yes.

I watched the fan turn on last night, it was unimpeded and it ran continuously for several hours until the fridge and freezer were at the correct working temps. Then the fan stopped and has not turned on since, at least not that I could tell. Freezer compartment is still at zero, but the fridge has risen to 60. I can hear the compressor turn on, but the frezer fan does not follow it, no cold air being sent to the fridge.
I don't know what to tell you.You would need a multimeter to check for voltage like he does in the video.Thermistor rarely go bad on this design for one thing. The board does sends 120 volts to the evaporator fan motor at the same time as the compressor runs. FYI that looks like a Panasonic evaporator fan motor that has a high rate of failure that changes to this style fan motor: https://www.appliancepartspros.com/whirlpool-motor-evap-w11024089-ap6039916.html
Last edited:
If the motor is definitely good I would think either the board isn't powering the motor circuit at that time or there might be a problem in the wiring harness between them.

it ran continuously for several hours

Someone might still want to confirm that the motor is not being powered when it should be running. Intermittent motor failures are not unheard of. It's best not to make assumptions if possible.


Dan O.
I'm going to access the motherboard later today and try the tests shown in the video. Dan makes a good point, making assumptions is always a good way to get in trouble!
I accessed the board. I tried multiple times, but never got any voltage across the two wires that should have been at 120. I was in the correct test mode on the motherboard, #3 and 0. How can I not have voltage? Looking at the wiring diagram all I can come up with is I must not be getting current through the evap motor. Perhaps when I've been fussing around near the motor when checking the evaporator I bumped the motor and completed the cicuit, and once the motor turned off when the fridge reached the correct temp it wouldn't start again? Bad brushes in the motor?
Sorry, I just realized my last message might not be clear. The circuit I was testing was for current through the evaporator fan. It appears to me that the motor in the fan is bad, and I just got lucky and bumped it just right when fussing with the evaporator near the fan.
Looking at the wiring diagram all I can come up with is I must not be getting current through the evap motor

I'm not sure what or how you're testing.

The control sends power to the motor. Not vice versa. If the board is not sending power to the connections for the motor, the control itself is likely responsible. If the motor IS getting power (120V) but is NOT running, the motor is the problem.

The motor can't run if it isn't getting power. Is it getting power or not? :unsure:

Dan O.

Users who are viewing this thread

Support Our Site

If you feel that you have benefited from this site, and would like to show your appreciation, please consider making a donation.