Refrigerator door left open, now won't cool

by Chris
(San Diego)


Kenmore Coldspot sxs 10653264202

Someone propped a food freshener in the path of the refrigerator door and it wouldn't close for several days. There was moldy water at the very bottom of the refrigerator side under the vegetable drawer. The freezer did and has worked just fine.

The compressor is running and the evaporator fan is running.

After the repairman came ($45) I thought the problem was fixed. But, after two days, the refrigerator side still wasn't cooling down that much.

So, after reading your articles, I removed the panel, defrosted the coils (which was only frozen near the bottom with ice; near the top, it was fairly snow-like) and the drain (which was frozen with a half inch of ice in the pan and almost an inch in the bottom of the freezer.) with a hairdryer. I also cleaned out around the condenser by the front lower panel.

I think I got the drain completely dry, but I guess I can't be certain. I did not use a turkey baster, just a hair dryer, but I did it for a really long time both in front and in the back where it drains into the pan.

Right after I turned it back on (within minutes), the coils got a snowy-like frosty surface all over them (from top to bottom- very uniformly).

After attempting these remedies, the refrigerator side is a lot cooler than it was, but it is still not very cold and it has now been two days since I defrosted it.

There has not been any more accumulation of water in the refrigerator and the back wall of the freezer doesn't seem to be freezing or anything. (Freezer still working fine.)

The model seems to have been discontinued because I can't find parts for it anywhere.

Since I can't find the parts, I obviously can't start replacing them to see what is wrong.
Also, when you open the fridge door, normally you feel a cold breeze in your face and that is not the case now.

You can feel a very slight breeze coming in through the vent from the freezer into the fridge, but it isn't much and would not seem to be nearly enough to cool the refrigerator. I can't really tell if it blocked with ice or not. (There is not any access to it from the freezer side that I was able to see.) and there doesn't seem to be any manual control for a damper that I can find.

I thought that maybe you would be able to tell what is wrong from my description?

Find your part:


Hi Chris,

There is a vent at the top and bottom of the divider that separates the fresh food section from the freezer. Make sure there is no ice in those vents. Also if you have turned the freezer controls up turn then back to normal.

I am looking at a similar model (only one number different in the model so I am hopping that it is the same). Remove the damper and make sure there isn’t any ice in the damper. Note that you will not feel a lot of air coming through this damper even if it is working properly. Also down at the bottom there is a return vent; make sure that is free of ice. That damper seems to be electric but since this is Kenmore I can’t find a wiring diagram to help you diagnose the damper if it isn’t clogged with ice.

Do you have a thermometer you can put in the fresh food section and tell me the temperature? It is best to place the thermometer in a cup of water and wait 12 hours before looking at the temperature. The temperature should be under 40 degrees 37 is perfect.

Let me know what you find.

Thank you,

Comments for Refrigerator door left open, now won't cool

Click here to add your own comments

Please Help
by: Bill

Hello I left my refrigerator door open overnight,the freezer door was closed, now both sides will not cool. The refrigerator is about ten years old and a kenmore profile. What could be wrong,thanks for the help

by: Shawn/admin

Leaving the door open causes ice to build up blocking airflow sometimes causing the fan to stall. Start in the freezer and look for ice build-up and if you see any remove the ice. You will have to remove cover out of the back of the refrigerator so unplug the refrigerator first. Also check the airflow vents for ice and if there is any ice remove it.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Refrigerator Questions Archives . is a free service but it cost to keep it up and running. Donate to let this website help you next time!

Appliance parts online, right part, best price and fast shipping.