7 Reasons for Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling and How To Fix

Find more reasons why the Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling
Find more reasons why the Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling

Last Updated on November 28, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

A Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common causes of this issue and provide solutions to help you get your fridge up and running again.

Why is Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling on electric?

1. Condenser Coils.

These are located on the back of your refrigerator, and they help to release the heat from the coolant. If these coils are dirty, then they won’t be able to do their job properly.

Why does it fail?

The most common reason for a Norcold RV refrigerator to fail is because the condenser coils are not cleaned on a regular basis.

When the coils become clogged with dirt and dust, they are unable to properly dissipate heat, which causes the fridge to work harder and eventually overheat.

If you don’t clean your condenser coils at least once a year, you will likely experience this problem.

How to fix it? (According to Norcold.com & some Trusted Forum: Jaycoowners, Gdrvowners.com )

  • Remove the front panel of your fridge and vacuum the coils with a soft brush attachment.
  • If they are really dirty, you can use a mild detergent to clean them. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly afterward.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the coils, put the front panel back on and turn the fridge on. It should start cooling down within a few hours.
Image FarmFoodFamily 34
The dirty condenser coils make the fridge not cold

2. Condenser Fan.

This is the most common reason why your Norcold RV refrigerator is not cooling on electricity. The condenser fan helps to circulate air around the coils and helps to remove heat from the fridge.

If the condenser fan is not working, then the air will not be able to circulate and the fridge will not be able to cool properly.

Why does it fail?

The most common reason for a condenser fan to fail is because of a build-up of dust and dirt on the blades.

Over time, this can cause the fan to become unbalanced and eventually seize up. Another possibility is that the motor itself has burned out.

How to fix it?

  • Disconnect the power to the fridge.
  • Remove the fan blade and clean it with soapy water. Be sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it back on.
  • If the problem is a burned-out motor, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. You can find replacement motors online or at a local RV dealership.
Image FarmFoodFamily 35
Norcold RV refrigerator has power but not cooling due to the condenser fan

3. Evaporator Fan.

The evaporator fan is the most common cause of RV Norcold refrigerators not cooling on electricity. The evaporator fan circulates air over the coils to remove heat. If the evaporator fan is not working, the fridge will not cool properly.

There are a few things that can cause the evaporator fan to stop working. The most common cause is a blown fuse.

If the fuse is blown, the fridge will not have power and the evaporator fan will not work. Another common cause is a bad switch. If the switch is bad, the fridge will not have power and the evaporator fan will not work.

How to fix it?

  • Check the fuse. If the fuse is blown, replace it with a new one.
  • If the switch is bad, replace it with a new one. If the problem persists, call a qualified RV technician to diagnose and repair the problem.
Image FarmFoodFamily 36
The evaporator fan is one of the causes of RV Norcold refrigerators not cooling

4. Compressor.

The compressor is the workhorse of the RV refrigerator. It cools by circulating a refrigerant through a sealed system of coils and pipes. If the compressor isn’t working, the whole system can’t function.

Why does it fail?

The compressor is the heart of the absorption refrigerator and it has several functions.

It must pump a working fluid (ammonia) through the system, compress the ammonia gas, and then cool that compressed gas with water.

If any of these three functions are not performed correctly, the RV refrigerator will not work properly.

One common reason for compressor failure is a loss of lubrication. The compressor relies on a small amount of lubricating oil to keep it running smoothly. If this oil leaks out, the compressor will overheat and eventually fail.

Another common cause of compressor failure is a build-up of debris in the ammonia gas. This debris can come from several sources, including the water used to cool the compressed gas. If this debris is not removed, it will eventually cause the compressor to overheat and fail.

Finally, a compressor can also fail if the electrical system that powers it is not working properly. If the voltage is too low or the amperage is too high, the compressor can overheat and fail.

How to fix it?

  • If your RV refrigerator is not cooling on electricity, the first thing you should do is check the compressor. If the compressor is not running, it may be because it is not receiving power. Check the circuit breaker and make sure it is in the “on” position. If the breaker has tripped, reset it and see if that fixes the problem.
  • If the compressor is running but the RV Norcold refrigerator is still not cooling, the next thing to check is the ammonia level. If the ammonia level is low, it may be because there is a leak in the system. Check all of the hoses and fittings for leaks. If you find a leak, repair it and then check the ammonia level again.
  • If the compressor is running and the ammonia level is good, but the RV refrigerator still isn’t cooling, the next thing to check is the water level. The absorption refrigerator uses water to cool the compressed gas. If there is not enough water in the system, it will not be able to properly cool the gas. Add more water to the system and see if that fixes the problem.
  • If you have checked all of these things and the RV refrigerator still is not cooling, it is time to call a repairman. The problem may be with the electrical system or with the compressor itself. Either way, it is best to let a professional handle it.
Image FarmFoodFamily 37
Compressor fault makes RV Norcold refrigerator not cooling

5. Thermostat.

The next thing you want to check is the thermostat. If it is set too low, the fridge will not cool properly. You can find the thermostat by opening the back of the fridge and looking for a small knob.

Why does it fail?

There are a few reasons why your RV Norcold refrigerator might not be cooling on electricity. One reason could be that the thermostat is set too low. Another reason could be that the evaporator coils are frosted over. Lastly, the condenser coils might need to be cleaned.

How to fix it?

  • If the thermostat is set too low, you can simply adjust it to a higher setting. 
  • If the evaporator coils are frosted over, you can defrost them by turning off the fridge and unplugging it. 
  • Let it sit for a few hours until the ice melts. Then, clean the condenser coils with a brush or a vacuum.
Image FarmFoodFamily 38
Check the thermostat if it is set too low

6. Electric wiring.

Check the following:

  • Is there power to the refrigerator? Check the circuit breakers. If they are on, check for loose wiring connections at the breaker box and the fridge.
  • Is the cooling unit getting power? There should be a 120-volt AC reading across the red and black wires going into the cooling unit. If not, check the wiring going to the cooling unit.
  • If there is power to the cooling unit, but it is not running, it may be seized up. Try tapping on the cooling unit with a hammer or other object. If it starts running, it will probably need to be replaced.
  • If you have checked all of the above and the fridge still is not cooling, you may need to call a qualified RV technician.

7. Check the door.

If the door is not completely closed, the refrigerator will not work properly. Make sure that the door is shut all the way and that there is no gap between the door and the frame.

If the door is shut and there is still a gap, you may need to adjust the hinges. Loosen the screws on the hinge and move it until the door is flush with the frame. Then, retighten the screws.

If you have checked the door and it is still not cooling properly, there may be an issue with the seal. Inspect the seal for any cracks or tears. If you find any damage, you will need to replace the seal.

Image FarmFoodFamily 39


FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reset my Norcold RV refrigerator?

If your Norcold RV refrigerator isn’t working properly, you may need to reset it. To do this, simply unplug the fridge for 24 hours and then plug it back in. This should reset the fridge and get it working properly again.

If your Norcold RV refrigerator still isn’t working after being reset, you may need to call a repairman to take a look at it. In some cases, the fridge may need to be replaced. However, this is usually only necessary if the fridge is old or has been damaged.

Why is my Norcold refrigerator not getting cold but the freezer works?

It could be several things. Check the following:

  • Is the refrigerator plugged in?
  • Is the power switch on?
  • Is there power to the outlet?
  • Has a fuse blown or a circuit breaker tripped?
  • Is the thermostat set too low?
  • Is the condenser coils clean?
  • Is the evaporator fan working?
  • Is the compressor working?

If you have checked all of the above and your refrigerator is still not getting cold, you may need to call a repairman. However, there are a few things you can try first.

  • Check to see if there is ice build-up on the evaporator coils. If so, defrost the refrigerator.
  • If there is no ice build-up, make sure that the air vents are not blocked.
  • Check to see if the door gasket is sealing properly. If not, replace it.
Image FarmFoodFamily 41
Check the door gasket if the Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling well

When both AC and DC power are provided to a refrigerator, which mode does the refrigerator operate on?

If both AC and DC power are available for the fridge, AC operation is set as default. In case the refrigerator is cut off from the shoreline power, it is certainly possible to switch to DC power.

What level must the refrigerator be maintained at?

Refrigerators including portable and built-in versions are maintained at a peak of 30 degrees off level in both planes.

How quickly can I load food into my refrigerator after starting it up?

During the first start-up, it is recommended to let the refrigerator cool for 8-12 hours at the lowest temperature setting before placing any food inside. Avoid covering the shelves with materials such as plastic or paper.

The cooling process may take longer if warm foods are loaded, if the ambient temperature is high, or if the door is frequently opened. If the unit does not begin cooling within two hours, please get in touch with your dealer or contact a Norcold authorized service center.

Image FarmFoodFamily 42
Warm foods are fully placed slows the cooling operation down

What maintenance tasks need to be carried out on my refrigerator and at what frequency?

The refrigerator is designed to provide years of reliable service with minimal issues by conducting routine checks every three to six months. For more detailed information, consult the operator’s guide that comes with the refrigerator below:

  • Maintain cleanliness in both the food compartment and the freezer—refer to the “Cleaning” section. 
  • Defrost the refrigerator as needed, as outlined in the “Defrosting” instructions. 
  • Ensure the door seals properly by following “Door Sealing”. 
  • Be attentive to any unexpected cooling changes unrelated to weather, loading, or thermostat adjustments. In such cases, contact the dealer or service center. 
  • Guarantee that the airflow in the lower intake vent forwards to the condenser, and coils are allowed unobstructed, then extending through the upper exhaust vent. 
  • Keep the area behind the refrigerator clear, avoiding the storage of combustible materials, particularly gasoline and other flammable vapors and liquids.

If the refrigerator is not cooling properly, what steps should I take?

Place a piece of paper approximately the size of a dollar bill between the gasket and the cabinet, then close the door. Gently pull the paper; you should feel a small resistance indicating proper sealing. Repeat this process on all four sides of the door. If there’s no tangible drag on the paper, it is likely not to be sealed properly. In such cases, it is suggested to contact the dealer or an authorized Norcold Service Center to fix the door seal.

How can I acquire replacement parts for the refrigerator?

It is recommended to have the dealer or authorized Norcold service center offer the replacement parts.

Users experience

Several customers who have purchased and used the Norcold RV refrigerators for a long time have different experiences. A particular thing is stuck in the “Norcold RV Refrigerator not cooling properly” trouble.

Image FarmFoodFamily 43
User experience on defective mainboards

According to the user “Shawn T.” sharing on the Amazon platform, his Norcold fridge was not cooling well for 2 months. First, he did initial troubleshooting, the problem was the defective solenoid. However, when he replaced the new solenoid, the fridge was still not operating properly as usual and even generated a flame. By that time Shawn detected the real defective part as a board. After replacing the new 100% factory board, the refrigerator has been working flawlessly. His wife also saw that the cooling operation was so much better even though she had to set the cold level down to 3. (Source: Amazon)

user feedback on norcold fridge

Another consumer “Brendanf” also experienced the “Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling” issue early this year 2023. The model 2020 KZ Connect Connect 261RB did not work correctly. The initial solution was to let the fridge cool down for a long time, but until 42 hours passed, the Norcold RV refrigerator and freezer were not cooling. 

In a fleeting thought, Brendanf supposed Norcold RV refrigerator not cooling on propane, so he checked power, propane airflow, adjusted settings, and lights changes,.. but still found the core reasons. There were no notifications shown on the control board display or any manual user go past this problem. Thus, he did not know which errors to troubleshoot even though he is good at handling most things by himself. 

Finally, Norcold advised him to bring this refrigerator to the authorized services center.  

user feedback on norcold fridge 2


Norcold RV Refrigerator Not Cooling is a very common issue. In most cases, it can be fixed by following the troubleshooting steps above. However, if the problem persists, you may need to contact a qualified technician for assistance.

We hope this article has helped troubleshoot your Norcold RV refrigerator. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help!

Reference Sources: