What Is an Evaporator Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

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Ever wonder what keeps your fridge and freezer cold and your food fresh? The answer is an evaporator fan.

What is an evaporator fan?

An evaporator fan is a part of an air conditioning or refrigeration system. The fans pull air through coils, remove heat and moisture, and circulate cool air. Evaporator fans help maintain temperature for residential and industrial food processing, food storage, medical equipment, and research.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about evaporator fans.

Types of Evaporator Fans

Empty freezer—What Is an Evaporator Fan?
Image by the author via Canva—What is an evaporator fan?

Although there are several types of evaporator fans, there are three main types that you should know.

Three main types of evaporator fans:

  • Refrigerator evaporator fan
  • Freezer evaporator fan
  • Vehicle evaporator fan

What Is an Evaporator Fan in a Refridgerator?

An evaporator fan in a refrigerator is responsible for cooling the refrigerator. It’s located on the back wall of the freezer and pulls air through the condenser coils.

The fan then blows cool air throughout the fridge.

It also helps to remove moisture from the air, which prevents ice buildup on the evaporator coils.

What Is an Evaporator Fan in a Freezer?

An evaporator in a freezer is essentially the same as an evaporator in a refrigerator. People simply use a different term to talk about the same fan.

You can find the evaporator fan against the back wall of your freezer.

It looks like a box with visible fans spinning behind protective grills. Some evaporator fans in fridges and freezers include two fans.

The fan circulates cold air throughout your freezer and fridge.

What Is an Evaporator Fan in a Vehicle?

An evaporator fan is part of the AC (alternating current) system in your vehicle. The evaporator fan helps cool the AC refrigerant gas that’s pumped throughout the entire AC system.

When it turns on, it draws outside air through the vents and passes this air over the cooling fins of the evaporator.

The compressor then pumps refrigerant gas through tubes that carry it throughout your vehicle’s entire AC system. In a very basic sense, that’s where the cool air comes from when you get in your vehicle.

What Does an Evaporator Fan Do?

Evaporator fans serve an important purpose. They allow refrigerators, freezers, and vehicles to operate efficiently.

They help remove heat from the evaporator coils that are absorbing heat from the air in your refrigerator or freezer.

The fan blows this heated air outside of the unit where it’s no longer affecting its efficiency.

Evaporator fans also circulate cool air inside the appliance.

They do this by blowing air over the cold evaporator coils and into the rest of the fridge and freezer.

The main purpose of keeping your fridge and freezer cold is to preserve food. To remain healthy and safe to eat, your food needs to be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

What Does an Evaporator Fan Not Do?

Evaporator fans do not cool the air. They blow air over the cold evaporator coils.

The fan is simply moving the air around to help improve the efficiency of the appliance.

Evaporator fans make up only part of the overall cooling system in your refrigerator and freezer.

The other three parts:

  • The compressor
  • The condenser
  • The expansion valve

What Is an Evaporator Fan Motor?

An evaporator fan motor is the part of the evaporator that powers the fan. It’s located inside the unit and is usually made of plastic and metal.

The motor is attached to the fan blades and helps to circulate air through the coils.

Evaporator fan blades are typically made of plastic.

Where Is an Evaporator Fan Located?

The evaporator fan is typically located in the back of your freezer behind a protective covering plate.

The evaporator fan in your vehicle is usually located within the instrument panel in the front of your car. Some larger vehicles come with two evaporator fans—one in the front and one in the back.

Many people ask about the location of evaporator fans in very specific appliance brands.

Therefore, I made this quick table that shows the location of evaporator fans for popular refrigerators:

Refrigerator BrandWhere Evaporator Fan Is Located
Where is the evaporator fan located in an LG refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a Whirlpool refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a Maytag refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a GE refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a Samsung refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a Kenmore refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a Frigidaire refrigerator?Back of freezer
Where is the evaporator fan located in a KitchenAid refrigerator?Back of freezer
What is an evaporator fan? (where are they located)

Even if you don’t see your specific brand in the table, I bet you can guess where you can find your fan :).

Are Evaporator Fans Loud?

Evaporator fans are not usually loud.

You may hear a soft humming from your refrigerator or freezer.

If you hear loud humming, squeaking, or chirping noises, it is usually an indication that something is wrong with your fan.

Common issues include:

  • The motor has lost lubrication
  • The brushing is worn out
  • Mechanical malfunction

How Long Should an Evaporator Fan Run?

An evaporator fan should not run constantly.

Evaporator fans typically turn off when you open the fridge or freezer door, and automatically (and temporarily) shut off in regular cycles to regulate the internal temperature of your appliance.

If your evaporator fan runs all the time, you may need to replace it.

How Long Do Evaporator Fans Last?

Most evaporator fans last about 10-15 years, but they may need to be repaired or replaced sooner depending on the conditions in which they operate.

The harder you work your evaporator fan, the sooner you will need to replace it.

You may also want to routinely check your evaporator fan to ensure it’s working properly. I recommend checking the fan at least once per month, but certainly each quarter of the year.

How Much Does an Evaporator Fan Cost?

Most evaporator fans cost between $15 and $50.

On average, you should expect to pay about $150 to get one replaced. You probably can replace the fan yourself, but you can also get one professionally installed.

Here is a good video on how to test and safely replace an evaporator fan motor:

YouTube video by RepairClinic.com—What is an evaporator fan?

Best Evaporator Fans

If you’re looking for an evaporator fan, here are my favorites for a few common brands:

Type of Evaporator FanBest Evaporator Fan
LG Refridgerator4681JB1027C Genuine OEM Evaporator Fan
GE RefridgeratorUltra Durable WR60X10141 Evaporator Fan
Kenmore RefridgeratorEAU64824401 Evaporator Fan
What is an evaporator fan? (best evaporator fans)

Before you purchase an evaporator fan, make sure you double-check that the fan is compatible with your specific model of refrigerator.

You can get replacement evaporator fans online or at your local home improvement store (Lowes, Home Depot, etc).

Final Thoughts: What Is an Evaporator Fan?

Evaporators are an important part of the operation of refrigerators, freezers, and vehicle air conditioning units.

Unless you want your food to go bad or you want to feel hot in your car, it’s best to keep them in tip-top shape.

Related posts:

Sources

FamilyHandyMan
FDA.gov