What is the function of the fan in a refrigerator?

What does a refrigerator fan do?
ŠiStockphoto.com/jean gill

Key Takeaways

  • Modern frost-free refrigerators often have two fans: one beneath the refrigerator to cool the compressor and force air through the exterior coils and another inside to move air around the coils within the refrigerator.
  • The internal fan aids in more even cooling throughout the refrigerator and assists in the defrost process, ensuring the appliance operates efficiently and keeps food at the right temperature.
  • Older and smaller refrigerators might not have fans, but the inclusion of these fans in modern units is key to their functionality. They prevent frost build-up and ensure consistent temperature management.

Many older refrigerators and most small refrigerators (like small bar and dorm refrigerators) do not have fans, but most modern frost-free refrigerators have two. One is under the refrigerator to cool the compressor and force air through the exterior coils. The second is inside and moves air around the coils inside the refrigerator. This second fan helps provide more even cooling, and also aids in the defrost process.

See How Refrigerators Work for complete details on the inner workings of refrigerators.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why might a refrigerator without an internal fan have uneven cooling?
Without an internal fan to circulate air, colder air tends to settle at the bottom while warmer air rises to the top, leading to uneven cooling and potential cold spots.
How does the fan under the refrigerator improve its efficiency?
The fan beneath the refrigerator helps to keep the compressor cool, improving efficiency and longevity by ensuring it doesn't overheat while operating.