If your refrigerator stops cooling effectively, it can range from annoying to dangerous. Some of these steps are quick fixes, while others require contacting a professional appliance repair service.
Here is what you can do if your refrigerator is not cold enough. The most common causes of your refrigerator temperature issues include:
- Power settings
- Cooling settings
- Faulty fridge door seal
- Too many items
- Blocked vents
- Dirty condenser coils
- Unlevel fridge
- Frosted over evaporator coils
- Broken evaporator fan
- Broken compressor
- Broken door switch
- Leaking coolant
- Refrigerator location
You can fix some minor issues when your refrigerator is not cold enough. However, the best and safest thing to do involves hiring an affordable appliance repair professional.
What Are The Common Reasons Why Your Refrigerator Is Not Cold Enough
This article will address the causes of refrigerator temperature issues and present some solutions. Continue reading to learn what you can do if your refrigerator is not cold enough.
1. Power Settings
First, check to see the refrigerator’s wall plug. It is best to get this one out of the way before proceeding. If your fridge connects to an outlet and it appears it’s not receiving power, check if you tripped a circuit or if there is power out in other home areas.
Next, check to see if the unit needs a reset. You should accomplish this by unplugging the appliance for a few minutes and then plugging it back in.
2. Cooling Settings
Try turning up the cooling level to see if it has any impact. You want the temperature controls in your fridge to read between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat may have been turned down and is causing the cooling problem.
Remember that the number on the thermostat refers to the amount of refrigerant used. This means that 5 is the coldest setting because it uses the most refrigerant. It is not uncommon for people to leave their unit on 1 because they believe a lower number is colder.
3. Faulty Door Seal
You can check if the door seal is intact and not damaged. If the seal is not tight, cold air can escape and cause your fridge not to stay as cold.
The door gaskets are the rubber seals that run around the door. Inspect them to see if there are any nicks or tears. Tearing could be why frigid air is escaping, and your fridge isn’t staying as cold.
You can try to repair the gaskets by using glue or replacing them entirely. Get an exact match for your fridge model, so they fit well and create a good door seal.
4. Too Many Items
Make sure that you aren’t overloading your unit with food. When too much food is in the appliance, it can block the vents and prevent cold air from circulating correctly. Take stock of what’s in your fridge and keep it at a reasonable level.
Remove some of the things from the appliance and see if that helps the appliance stay cool.
5. Blocked Vents
There is an exhaust vent at the bottom or back of your unit. Depending on where this vent sits, it could become blocked by items in your kitchen. If this is the case, move the objects blocking the vent and see if that solves your problem.
Too many items in your refrigerator could also prevent air from exhausting correctly. Make sure all necessary airways are unobstructed. If a blockage prevents air circulation, it can cause hot air to accumulate inside the unit.
6. Dirty Condenser Coils
The condenser coils sit on the back of the unit. If they are dusty, they won’t be able to remove heat from the refrigerator properly, and it won’t stay cool. Clean them off with a brush or vacuum attachment and see if that helps the fridge stay cooler.
The strain placed on the compressor by dirty coils can cause the appliance to fail prematurely. Make sure to keep the coils clean to prolong the life of your appliance.
7. Tilted Refrigerator
Check to ensure your refrigerator is level. A tilted appliance can cause problems with the coolant reaching all appliance areas. Use a level to check both front-to-back and side-to-side. Adjust the legs until the appliance is level in both directions.
Another issue caused by a tilted unit is that the door might not be closing properly. If the fridge is tilted, the door can open too far and cause a gap. This gap will let warm air into the unit and cause it to not stay cool.
8. Frosted Over Evaporator Coils
The evaporator coils sit in the freezer section of your unit. If they are frosted, the air isn’t flowing correctly, and your fridge won’t stay cool.
Another issue caused by the evaporator coils being frosted over is that the fridge will work overtime to try and cool itself down. This can cause the compressor to overheat and eventually break down.
To fix this, you’ll need to defrost the coils. You can do this by unplugging the appliance and letting it thaw out naturally. Once the coils defrost, clean them off to work properly.
9. Broken Evaporator Fan
If the evaporator fan is broken, it could also be causing the unit not to stay cool. The fan circulates air from the freezer into the refrigerator. If it’s not working, the refrigerator will not stay cold. Check to see if the fan is running and if it’s not, replace it.
Another issue caused by a broken evaporator fan is that the unit will start to accumulate ice.
This is because the cold air isn’t being circulated and the moisture in the air is condensing and freezing. If you see ice buildup, make sure to check the evaporator fan and replace it if necessary.
Replacing the fan is straightforward and only requires a few tools. You can find a replacement fan online or at a local appliance store.
10. Broken Compressor
If the fridge is still not staying cold, the compressor could have a problem. The compressor circulates coolant through the coils. If it’s not working correctly, it can cause the unit not to stay cold. Call a professional to check the compressor and see if it needs a replacement.
The compressor fan can also go bad, and this is a much simpler refrigerator repair than replacing the whole compressor unit. The fan helps to cool the compressor and keeps it from overloading. If the fan is not working, it can cause the compressor to overheat.
11. Broken Door Switch
If the door switch doesn’t work, it can prevent the fridge from staying cold. The door switch turns the fridge on and off when you open the door. If it’s not working correctly, the refrigerator will stay on all the time and won’t be able to cool down properly.
You can check the switch by pressing it to see if the light goes off. If the light goes off, your appliance senses the switch action correctly. If the light doesn’t go off, you’ll need to replace the switch.
12. Leaking Coolant
If the refrigerant liquid is leaking, it can cause the fridge not to stay cool. The refrigerant is what helps to cool air inside the unit. If there’s a leak, the fridge will not be able to cool properly. Call a professional to repair the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
If there is a leak, you will hear a hissing sound as the gas moves out of the pipe.
Chipping at accumulated frost is a common way people puncture pipes and cause coolant leaks. If you must remove frost yourself, use a hairdryer on its lowest setting and slowly melt the ice.
13. Refrigerator Location
The refrigerator’s location can affect its cooling ability. If you have a unit outside, it can be more challenging for the fridge to stay cold. The garage is usually not as well insulated as the rest of the house, so the fridge has to use more energy to stay cool during summer.
Whenever the refrigerator door opens, hot air from outside enters the appliance forcing it to work harder to cool items inside. It is a good idea to only stock an outside fridge partway so that there is less to cool.
Here are some other questions that you may find interesting:
What Are the Signs That Your Refrigerator is Going Out?
Your refrigerator may be dying if the motor works too hard to cool the appliance and is heating your kitchen. Excessive condensation inside your refrigerator could signify that the door is not sealing correctly and cold air is escaping.
Check your manual to see what can be done or contact a professional for a diagnosis.
Will Unplugging a Fridge Reset It?
Yes, unplugging your refrigerator will reset the compressor. Leave the appliance unplugged for several minutes. Verify your refrigerator has the correct temperature settings and wait for up to 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize.