What the Samsung Refrigerator Error Code 40C/40E Means and How to Fix It

What the Samsung Refrigerator Error Code 40C40E Means and How to Fix It

Your Samsung fridge is flashing you the code 40C — or 40E in some models — but whatever could it mean?

You know it must be an error because it’s blinking urgently. You just don’t know what for.

In that case, you don’t have to worry; we’ve prepared a guide for you to cover every question you might have in mind about this error!

What it means, why this happens, and what to do to fix it — we’ve gathered it all and made a detailed but easy-to-follow guide to help you out when this error pops up.

What does an error code 40C/40E on a Samsung fridge mean and how do you fix it?

A 40C or 40E error code on a Samsung fridge means that the ice maker fan is facing issues. This usually occurs in side-by-side refrigerators.

Before troubleshooting this issue, remove all foods inside the fridge and then thaw it out. Afterward, check the fan housing for damages.

The ice maker fan is attached to the evaporator motor. Its primary function is to blow cold air into the compartment while the evaporator coils absorb heat from the refrigerant.

It also pulls warm air out and dispels it outside of the refrigerator. When this part is clogged or damaged, there wouldn’t be enough cold air in the fridge to make ice.

Conversely, there would be an excess of warm air trapped inside, causing your fridge to thaw out and, at times, overheat.

But the problem doesn’t always lie in the fan itself. Other parts of the cooling system might have been experiencing the actual error, and the fan’s just taking the brunt end of it as it overworks itself to cool the fridge.

When you encounter this error, the best thing to do is thaw the fridge out first and let all the heat from your fridge escape.

We’ve listed a few pre-troubleshooting tips you should follow before getting to the business of things, so keep on reading!

What should I do before troubleshooting an error code 40C/40E?

Since the 40C or 40E error code indicates a problem with a part of the cooling system of your fridge, you shouldn’t be surprised if your fridge flashes other error codes alongside it as well.

When your fridge can’t seem to make up its mind between flashing a 40E or a 21E, it’s just likely telling you which parts of the cooling system need your attention. For reference, here are other error codes you might get alongside a 40C or 40E:

  • 5E, 8E, or 14E: This means that the fridge’s defrost sensor has broken down or encountered a similar error.
  • 33E: This means that the ice pipe heater has encountered an error.
  • 84C: This means that the fridge’s compressor has locked up or is clogged.
  • 39E or 39C: This means that the ice maker’s function has encountered an error.
  • 21E, 22C, 22E: This means that other motor fans in the cooling system have malfunctioned.

Since the cooling system is a set of wires and components all connected to each other, it’s not a mystery that one malfunctioning component dominoes and affects the other parts.

This also means that fixing a 40C or 40E error code requires tinkering with wires and other internal parts of your fridge you wouldn’t regularly think of checking on — unless there’s an error like this one.

You’ll need a good pair of tools and some handyman knowledge. And because it’ll involve motors and control systems, we want to ensure your safety.

Consider the following steps a warm-up before the actual sport of disassembling your fridge. This will also prepare your fridge and make the actual troubleshooting procedure even easier.

  • Step 1: Power off your fridge and unplug it. Every troubleshooting method involving mechanical errors must start with powering off your fridge and unplugging it, for safety measures.

In this case, however, it’s to melt all the remaining ice in the fridge first. Letting the fridge thaw out this way instead of activating a defrost setting on your fridge also lets the cooling system — especially the motor fan — cool down.

  • Step 2: Take out all the food and thaw out your fridge. You’d naturally want your food to be safe, so transfer them into containers and set them aside in a cool place for a while.

Without the other items in sight, you’ll have an unobstructed view of every part of the fridge that you need to troubleshoot.

  • Step 3: Remove the inner cover of the fridge’s back wall. The back wall is where the evaporator coils are, which are responsible for absorbing heat from refrigerants and cooling them.

This makes the evaporator coils (also known as the cooling coils) susceptible to ice build-up as well. It’s a part that’s not often cleaned, even after a regular defrost cycle.

Make sure to watch it carefully and wait until the ice build-up around it melts away.

  • Step 4: Once everything is melted, wipe down everything with a dry towel. Leave the door open for everything to melt.

It’s important to remember not to use any heating sources to melt off the ice as it can affect the plastic material of the fridge.

Moreover, an electrical device near a defrosting fridge is a safety hazard. Water puddles will be everywhere.

After everything has melted, wipe it down with a dry towel. Make sure not to leave any moisture residue.

  • Step 5: Replace the back wall’s cover. Double-check if you’ve wiped the evaporator coils dry thoroughly, and afterward, replace its cover.

But wait — don’t put the food back just yet! We’ve still got one more step.

  • Step 6: Power up your fridge and press and hold the ENERGY SAVER and ALARM buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds, to reset the error code.

The Energy Saver and Alarm buttons are your fridge’s multifunction buttons. In other models, this might be the Freezer and Fridge buttons.

The multifunction buttons can reset flashing error codes and return the display panel to normal after an error is cleared.

After safely defrosting and cleaning your fridge, observe if the error will come back after resetting it.

If it does, power off your fridge and unplug it.

When thawing out your fridge and resetting the code doesn’t work, get your toolbox out. This means you’ll have to troubleshoot parts of the cooling system.

In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to replace them.

Common Causes of Error Code 41 and How to Fix Them

Unlike other errors that can be traced into a handful (or more) of issues, a 40C or 40E error can be narrowed down to three, all of them involving the cooling system.

You can find more information about them below.

Damaged Motor FanRemove the back wall cover (evaporator coil panel) of the fridge compartment and carefully unscrew the motor fan from its housing.

Check for any loose or damaged connections in the wiring around the fan.

Check for clogging in the blades and any other physical damage to the fan.

Replace the wires and the fan if necessary.
Faulty Defrost SensorRemove the back wall cover to access the defrost sensor near the evaporator coils.

Disconnect it from the evaporator coils and test it for resistance using a multimeter. Refer to your Samsung manual for electrical specifications.

Inspect the defrost sensor for any obvious damage.

Replace the sensor if necessary.
Defective Defrost ThermostatRemove the back wall cover to access the defrost thermostat near the defrost sensor.

Run a continuity test on the thermostat using a multimeter. Refer to your manual for the opening and closing temperatures of the thermostat.

While the thermostat is cold, it should have continuity; and vice versa, if it’s warmed up.

If the thermostat fails in either of these, replace it.
Malfunctioning Control BoardWhen none of the other troubleshooting works, access the control board located at the back of the fridge.

Unscrew the panel cover and take a photo of the wiring pattern on the board for reference.

Disconnect the wires from their terminals, and afterward, lift the old control board out of its place to inspect it for burn marks or signs of shorting out.

Replace the old control board with a new one.

These troubleshooting methods require handy skills and knowledge, so if you’re not well-versed with tools, call for assistance.

Most importantly, remember that all these methods require you to power off and unplug your refrigerator first for safety measures.

Damaged Motor Fan

As previously established, the motor fan is a part of your fridge’s cooling system that blows cold air into and gets rid of warm air inside the refrigerator.

The motor fan is typically located in the evaporator coil panel of the ice maker compartment, held in place by four bolts. 

To access the motor fan, you’ll need to unscrew the back wall panel of the fridge compartment and carefully lift the cover where the fan is located.

Solution: Remove the back wall cover of the fridge. Be careful of wires connecting the panel in place.

The motor fan is placed inside this wall cover. Once accessed, inspect the surrounding wiring for any loose or damaged connections.

Adjust any loose wiring; if it is damaged, you can replace the wiring later after you’ve inspected the fan.

As mentioned, the motor fan is held in place in its plastic housing by four bolts. Unscrew them and lift the fan carefully out of the housing.

Inspect the motor fan for any damages or clogging. 

For clogging, clean the motor fan with a soft, damp cloth with mild soap. Do not use flammable lubricants on this component.

For damages, purchase a motor fan replacement that matches the model of your fridge.

You can refer to the serial number of your fridge for the appropriate model.

After installing the new fan, test it for a run first to ensure that it was installed correctly. Power on your fridge and let it cool for about an hour.

Afterward, evaluate the cooling capacity of the fridge. If it cools like it normally would, you can now put your food back in place.

Faulty Defrost Sensor or Thermistor

Have you ever wondered how your Samsung refrigerator knows exactly when the fridge is growing too cold before activating Auto-Defrost?

It’s thanks to the use of a sensor in its cooling system!

A defrost sensor, otherwise known as a defrost thermistor, is designed to be sensitive to temperature changes. This is how it reads the temperature in your fridge.

The closer the fridge compartment gets to the temperature you set, the more reactive it becomes so that it can alert the control board immediately when the temperature reaches the one you set.

When the sensor fails to read the temperature correctly, it might not notice that the fridge is already too cold. As a result, the cooling system won’t get a signal to stop, and the motor fan will keep on working to exhaustive levels.

Solution: To remove the defrost sensor, pull the back wall panel cover out of its place. Be careful of wires connecting the panel to the wall of the fridge.

Carefully remove the defrost sensor from the evaporator coil. Inspect the sensor for any damages.

Run a resistance test on the sensor using a multimeter to verify that your sensor is working properly. You may refer to your manual for the exact electrical specifications of the fridge’s sensor.

As a reference point, if the room temperature in your home is around 75°F to 76°F (23.8°C to 24.4°C), the ohm reading should be around 5,000 ohms.

If the sensor is physically damaged or provides abnormal resistance, replace the sensor.

After replacing the thermistor, run the same cooling test as with the motor fan. Let your fridge cool for a couple of hours and evaluate if its cooling capacity has gone back to normal.

If it has, you can now repack your shelves. Be mindful of your storing habits as you do!

The fridge’s thermistor picks up changes in temperature, and one of the things that can affect this is storing high-moisture food near the evaporator coils — right where the thermistor is.

Storing wet food or warm food near the thermistor can disrupt its temperature readings and lead to over freezing, which in turn can put too much stress on the cooling system.

Defective Defrost Thermostat

Since the defrost sensor and the defrost thermostat are often linked, troubleshooting one would require troubleshooting the other.

Similar to the defrost sensor, the thermostat reacts to temperature changes as well. Unlike the defrost sensor, however, it’s not meant to read temperatures.

The thermostat’s job is to signal the start of a cooling or defrosting cycle by reacting specifically to the presence and absence of cold temperatures.

When it receives the signal from the defrost sensor that the fridge is warming up, the thermostat powers up the fan motor and the compressor to cool the fridge down. 

Likewise, it reacts to the chill in the refrigerator by turning off the compressor to avoid over-freezing.

A defective thermostat will not react at all to any reading from the thermistor and will keep the fan motor running until it strains.

Solution: Refer to your Samsung manual for the opening and closing temperature of the defrost thermostat.

Test the thermostat for continuity using the same multimeter you used on the defrost sensor.

While the defrost thermostat is cold and at its closing temperature, it should have continuity. A beeping sound from the multimeter will indicate if it detects this.

Meanwhile, when the defrost is warm and at its opening temperature, the multimeter should not react and indicate no continuity.

If the thermostat fails on either or both of these, replace it immediately.

Malfunctioning Control Board

The control board should be the last component you troubleshoot, as it’s the central part of a Samsung fridge’s cooling system.

When you’ve ensured that no other parts of the cooling system connected to the fan motor are malfunctioning, then you can replace the control board.

Like how a CPU is the brain of your PC setup, the fridge’s control board processes every signal and command from each internal component of the cooling system in your refrigerator.

As it keeps the refrigerator going, the control board is very heavy-duty and rarely malfunctions or wears down. However, it can burn down due to extreme heat — whether from the fridge overheating or inappropriate room temperatures.

It can also shortcircuit from power surges.

When the control board fails, the cooling system as a whole won’t be able to function properly, which can result in a 40C or 40E error.

Solution: Unscrew the back panel of the refrigerator and take note of the wiring placements of the control board. We suggest taking a photo of it as a reference for when you place it back later.

Carefully disconnect the wires one by one. Then remove the old control board and inspect it for any signs of burning or shorting out.

Afterward, install a new one.

Position the control board with its bottom part going in first and then snap the top half in place. Reconnect the wirings as pictured in the reference photo you took.

A 40C or 40E error can be quite a hassle, especially when it won’t let you cool your fridge. It’s an issue that won’t just go away with a simple restart.

The best advice we can offer to avoid this, however, is to regularly defrost and clean your refrigerator so it doesn’t strain the fan motor too much. 

Check your refrigerator habits as well; you don’t want to do anything that might accelerate the wearing down of your fridge’s cooling system.

Remember: prevention is cheaper than repairs or replacement.

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