How To Fix Refrigerator Not Cooling Problems?

by Evelyn Brown | Published On

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Imagine that you opened your refrigerator to enjoy a chilled cold drink. However, to your surprise, none of the drinks in your refrigerator are cold, although your appliance has been switched on for more than a day. Well, this means that your refrigerator has stopped cooling. Now, what can you do in such a situation?

To start with, you need to find out the potential reason behind the improper functioning of your fridge. There can be several reasons for this. There might be a spacing issue or a problem in your refrigerator’s condenser coils. In the following sections, we shall discuss in detail the potential causes behind the faulty operation of your refrigerator.

Why Is My Refrigerator Not Cooling?


The list of reasons your refrigerator is not operating is endless. Your refrigerator might not function properly due to the accumulation of frost on the surface of evaporating coils. This results in disrupted ventilation, which hampers the refrigerator’s functioning.

Another reason can be some default in the evaporator fan. The primary function of the fan is to circulate cool air starting from the freezer and moving to other compartments of the refrigerator. The food doesn’t receive any cool air when the air circulation stops. Consequently, although the freezer section maintains its coolness, the food section doesn’t.

Every frost-free refrigerator has a defrost system. The primary function of this system is to control the defrost cycle and cooling. A defrost system consists of a defrost heater and a defrost timer. The main role of the defrost timer is to switch your refrigerator between defrost mode and cooling.


On the other hand, the role of the defrost heater plays the function of melting the frost that has been accumulated over the evaporator coil. If any of the two functions improperly, the refrigerator cannot comprehend when it should defrost and when it should cool.

The refrigerant and compressor are of equal importance when using a refrigerator. If your compressor is not working properly, the cooling process will not even begin. On the other hand, the refrigerant impacts the cooling in your refrigerator.

If there has been an accumulation of any dirt in your condenser coils, it also results in faulty functioning. A defective start relay might also be the potential cause of this problem.

10 Reasons Why My Refrigerator Is Not Cooling

There might have been instances when you opened your refrigerator door and found that your milk had turned sour. Now the problem is not merely about the change in odors and the subsequent annoyance caused by it. It is more than that. You are at a high risk of exposure to listeria and other foodborne pathogens. Furthermore, the mold that might flourish in your refrigerator is no good sign. You would not want any unwanted substances growing in your refrigerator, right?

Luckily, most of these situations won’t require a new refrigerator. You just need to find out the cause of the problem and then approach it practically. While some repairs are easy to do and can be carried out by yourself, others might call for the help of professional technicians.

Listed below are the 10 most common reasons for faulty functioning of the refrigerator, which can be tackled at home without expert supervision.

Make sure you analyze each of these and find out the potential cause for the faulty operation of your refrigerator.

  1. Temperature Control Is Improperly Set

    The easiest way to fix a refrigerator that is not cooling enough is to adjust the temperature to suit your needs. If your household comprises children, they might be the reasons for the temperature change, especially if they have easy access to the fridge exterior.

    However, the tiniest thing can be a cause of temperature resetting. For instance, someone in your family, including yourself, might have accidentally brushed their hand against the temperature setting, or the food items pushed in the refrigerator may change the setting.

    All you need to do is change the thermostat to the required temperature. Keep a check on both the freezer and the refrigerator because each has distinct controls. Also, the temperature won’t undergo an instant change. It will take approximately one day for the temperature change to be visible.

  2. Condenser Coils Are Dirty

    Every refrigerator has condenser coils situated at the back of the refrigerator. When these coils are either dirty or full of spiderwebs, the unit will not be able to cool properly. To clean these coils, simply unlatch what are known as the anti-tip brackets situated at the exterior bottom-front of the cabinet. Slide out the refrigerator carefully and use the hand attachment available on the vacuum cleaner to clean the coils. Make sure you don’t bend or damage the condenser coils.

  3. Door Gaskets Are Not Clean

    After a certain point, the gaskets or flexible door seals might become dirty due to fingerprints or food. This in turn prevents the door from sealing properly. Use a sponge and warm, soapy water to wipe down the gaskets. You should also clean the portions of the fridge that come in contact with the gaskets. Make sure that there is no use of scouring pads, window cleaning sprays, brushes, or abrasive cleaners.

  4. Food Items Are Blocking The Air Vents

    Inspect your refrigerator for food items acting as potential blockades to the cool air vent. You might have unknowingly placed large bags or boxes in front of the air vents. All you need to do is pull those things aside or just relocate them inside the refrigerator. This is an easy way to ensure the proper ventilation of your refrigerator.

  5. Refrigerator Is Understocked

    The bulk of items within the refrigerator plays an important role in maintaining the coolness in the refrigerator. This bulk comes in the form of various food items. Any understocked fridge will have to work harder to ensure proper coolness. Properly stocked fridges have proper mass to retain cool temperatures. Try to make sure your fridge is sufficiently stocked.

  6. Door Gaskets Are Faulty and Need Replacement

    If you have recently cleaned your door gaskets, but your refrigerator’s cooling is still not up to the mark, you need to change your gaskets. If you wish to save money, you can easily do this task yourself. You can purchase any door gasket of good quality for between $35 and $100.

  7. Refrigerator Is Out of Level

    Your refrigerator should be close to level to ensure they are working efficiently. The fridge should be perfectly leveled from one side to another. Regarding front-to-back, your fridge ought to tilt ¼ inch toward the back to ensure that the doors have been shut properly. You can use a laser level or bubble to check the level.

  8. Clearances Are Not Maintained

    To ensure proper ventilation, your refrigerator ought to have sufficient clearance on either one of its sides, particularly on the back, for proper air circulation and to ensure that the refrigerator cools properly. The tolerance varies from one brand to another. Therefore, make sure you check the specific one for your brand. On average, you require a minimum of one-inch space on the back and ⅜ inch on either of the sides.

  9. Location Is Affecting the Cooling Capacity

    Suppose the refrigerator has been positioned in an environment that is either hot or cold, for instance, in your garage or outdoors. In that case, it will impact the cooling capacity of your unit. Suppose your fridge is situated in a temperate environment. Any hot appliance like ranges, dishwashers, or ovens close to the fridge might impact its cooling capacity.

  10. Electric Supply Is Faulty

    Ensure that the electric supply for your refrigerator is solid and tight in the power outlet. Any refrigerator should never be plugged into a GFCI outlet because this outlet might stop the power to your fridge.

What Is Optimal Fridge Temperature?

According to the FDA, the optimal temperature for refrigerators is 40F or lower, and the optimal temperature is 0F or lower. It is recommended to buy separate thermometers for temperature analysis rather than complete reliance on internal gauges.

Final Words

Therefore, it is evident that several reasons can be attributed to the faulty functioning of your refrigerator. These reasons range from improper climatic conditions to faulty electric supply.

You can prepare a plan of action depending on the reason that might be the potential cause of your refrigerator’s improper functioning. Most of these issues can be solved quickly and, therefore, won’t require much effort.

However, consider professional help if you cannot solve the problem yourself. Consulting a professional technician will cost you money, but it’s better than blindly solving the issue yourself.

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Evelyn Brown

Evelyn Brown is a housewife and spends most of the time at home taking care of her infant son. The time that she has left after cleaning the house and taking care of the son and the daddy is dedicated to making her mark on the internet. She loves to write about the kitchen appliances that she uses in her daily life. She also likes to spend quality time with her husband and drink aged wine and scotch.

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