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What To Do If My GE Evaporator Fan Motor Isn't Functioning Properly?

You Are Here:   Home > What To Do If My GE Evaporator Fan Motor Isn't Functioning Properly? > What To Do If My GE Evaporator Fan Motor Isn't Functioning Properly?

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If your GE refrigerator isn't cooling correctly, several culprits may be causing performance issues. The evaporator fan motor is one of the most common parts that need replacement. It pulls air over the cold evaporator coils, distributing cold air throughout the refrigerator and freezer. When it doesn't function properly, cold air may only be present in the freezer area and may not get sufficiently cold. Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation invites you to discover what evaporator fans do and how to diagnose performance issues or fan motor failure.

GE Fridge by Marufish is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

How Do I Determine if the Fan Is the Problem?

The fan motor may fail to operate or not operate effectively, so the first step is to check it. If a refrigerator has one evaporator, it's in the freezer compartment. Some models have more than one. To determine whether it's the cause of the issue, check to see if cold air is only in the freezer, which shows a circulation issue.

With the refrigerator unplugged, try turning the fan blade by hand. You'll need to replace the motor if the fan doesn't spin easily. You'll also need to replace the motor if it's noisy, which shows it likely has internal wear or damage. If the motor doesn't run, test the motor windings with a multimeter to check for continuity. If they lack continuity, replace the motor.

Evaporator fan issues may not always be an easy diagnosis, but there are other ways to troubleshoot intermittent issues.

How Do I Diagnose Evaporator Fan Issues?

Evaporator fan failure can cause the freezer not to cool sufficiently. Evaporator fans are typically behind the freezer's rear panel. Troubleshooting a potential issue requires several steps to rule out other causes and narrow down issues. Check your refrigerator's owners manual for model-specific details.

  • Start by ensuring the refrigerator has power and the power plug is connected tightly to the outlet.
  • Check if the freezer compartment is cold. A faulty evaporator fan will cause the freezer to defrost, so if it's cold, it typically means the evaporator fan motor is okay. Note that the fan usually won't be on when the door opens. Check to ensure you've set the temperature in the freezer correctly.
  • Check the freezer door switch, which is usually low on the freezer door. If your freezer has one, it'll turn on the light and shut off the evaporator fan. Hold the switch down for about a minute, checking to see if the evaporator fan kicks in. Failure to begin spinning and making a humming sound could mean a bad fan. A running fan but a warm freezer compartment means the motor likely isn't the problem.
  • An evaporator fan motor starting to wear out may make a squealing or chirping noise. There also may be something obstructing the free operation of the fan blades. You'll need to access the fan, which should be beneath the rear panel.
  • To access the fan motor, unplug the refrigerator after sliding it away from the wall. Remove the food and shelving from the freezer compartment. You may also need to remove the mounting hardware to access the fan and have working space.
  • Remove any air ducts attached to the rear panel at the back of the freezer compartment. You'll need to remove screws, most likely with a standard Phillips head screwdriver, and slide the ducts out.
  • Remove the screws from the panel at the back of the freezer compartment, typically with a Phillips screwdriver but sometimes with a small socket wrench.
  • Unhook the fan motor's wiring by pulling it loose. You may first need to press a tab to loosen it. Once you've unhooked the wiring, carefully slide the panel out.
  • Check the coils under the fan for frost buildup. Heavy frost buildup indicates the fan may not be the problem. You may need to leave the refrigerator unplugged for a day to thaw it out to determine if the condenser fan or relay is the problem. To make this process quicker, carefully use a heat gun or hairdryer on a low setting. Once you've defrosted and inspected the fan, reassemble and test the refrigerator.
  • Inspect the fan for obstructions or damage. Make sure the blade spins freely. If you removed obstacles or questioned the fan's performance, check it with a multimeter set to resistance or ohms. You'll need to check the two connected wires, as the third separate wire is the ground wire. Check the owners manual for specifications to determine if the motor is bad.
  • Replace or re-install the fan and other parts. Test the refrigerator to see if it works.


What Are Other Common Cooling Culprits?

The evaporator fan motor is one of several causes of your refrigerator and freezer not cooling properly. Other components could fail, requiring maintenance. Other potential causes include the following:

  • Dirty condenser coils under the refrigerator won't sufficiently dissipate heat that passes as coolant flows through them. Efficiency suffers as the fridge must work harder to maintain proper temperatures. Filthy coils can result in an inability to maintain appropriate temperatures.
  • A defective fan motor won't distribute air into the condenser coils and over the refrigerator's compressor. Diagnosing a bad condenser fan motor follows the same steps as checking an evaporator fan motor.
  • The temperature control thermostat turns on the compressor, evaporator fan motor, and condenser fan motor. You can check the thermostat by adjusting it until you hear a click when it turns on the refrigerator.
  • Start relays may wear out, causing the compressor not to run or run intermittently. A burnt odor likely indicates it's bad.
  • The defrost heater assembly that periodically melts away frost during the day could quit working and enable frost to pile up on evaporator coils.
  • The defrost thermostat controls the defrost heater and is essential for timely defrost cycles.
  • The compressor moves refrigerant through the evaporator and condenser coils. Start capacitors fail more often than the compressor itself.
  • Temperature control boards send power to the compressor and fan motors but don't fail very often.
  • Thermistors, which monitor the refrigerator's temperature, may fail to send temperature information to the control board.


Contact an Appliance Pro

Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation specializes in quality appliance parts and supplies for all major brands. Our professional team can help you or your service technician find the perfect parts for a seamless repair if your fridge has evaporator fan issues. Contact us for the parts you need for water heaters, washing machines, air conditioners, and other appliances.