Fridge Not Getting Cold Enough – Appliance Service Company Explains

Fridges are an important appliance in most homes, and they play a major part in food storage and conservation by lowering the temperatures of food items. If you notice that your fridge’s coldness is reduced, you might want to know the reasons why and the potential solutions.

Why Is My Fridge Not Getting Cold Enough? If your fridge is not cooling enough, check to see if it is getting power.  If the light does not turn on when you open the door, the fridge might not have power.

Based on information from Dan-Marc Appliance, an appliance service company, here are some things to check if your fridge is not cooling properly: the door seal, the power supply, the spacing around the vents, and the condenser coils.

reasons fridge is not cooling and what to do

How To Clean the Dirty Fridge Coils That Are Causing the Fridge to Become Warm

You can clean your dirty fridge coils by using a coil brush designed to clean dust or hair off the refrigerator coils and sucking it up with a vacuum cleaner.

Refrigerant R600a Induction Compressor, Low Back Pressure. Hermetical motor air conditioning compressor

Dirty refrigerator coils cause your fridge to work harder to keep cool over time, and that can cause your electricity bill to rise. Let’s face it: no one wants to pay more money when the bill arrives the following month. So, cleaning your fridge coils regularly is important and should be done every six (6) months to a year.

Safety dust mask on metallic background construction concept.

Here’s how to clean your dirty fridge coils so that they will last longer, keep food colder, and cost you less money in electricity bills – unless you’re looking for an excuse to throw food out or buy a new refrigerator.

Items Needed to Clean Fridge CoilsPurpose
Vaccuum CleanerVaccuum the dust from the coils and from the floor behind the fridge after moving it to access the coils.
Coil Condenser Brush Brush to further clean off the coils.
Dust MaskThe dust can be easily inhaled, best to way a mask to protect your lungs.
Rag Rag to wipe down the cover the coils if there once one to remove.
Headlamp Flashlight It is best to have your hands free when cleaning the coils with perfect lighting. Using a headlamp is ideal.
  • Before you start the task of cleaning your fridge coils, you’ll need a few tools – a vacuum cleaner, a coil condenser brush, a dust mask, a rag, and a flashlight.
  • Turn off the appliance first to avoid getting an electric shock while looking for the coils.
  • Find the coils. These coils can be found at the back or bottom of your refrigerator, depending on the brand and age of your appliance. If the coils are on the back of your refrigerator, gently pull it away from the wall and look for a metal grid or panel attached to the back.

If they are at the bottom, the panel or grid is usually located at the front base of the fridge, right under the door.

  • Wear your dust mask and bring a flashlight to get a clear view of the site. Using the vacuum cleaner, pick up any debris that comes off easily. Vacuum the floor beneath and behind the fridge while you’re at it to keep the area clean while you work.
  • It’s now time to get your brush out. Scrape above, in-between, and below the dust repeatedly to get as much dirt as you can out. Keep the vacuum running to catch falling debris.
  • Before you replace the grid or panel, use a rag (preferably moist) to clean it. Then push your fridge back into place, plug in your appliance and you’re good to go.
fast way to clean fridge coils

How To Fix a Damper That Is Open That Is Allowing Your Fridge to Heat Up

You can fix your refrigerator air damper by inspecting it to see if cool air is coming out of your fridge vent and then contacting a professional home appliance repair service for further assistance.

A refrigerator air damper is a device that regulates the flow of air in a refrigerator. It controls the flow of cold air from the freezer compartment to the rest of the fridge. It is activated by a thermostat, which opens and closes a vent hole based on the temperature of the air in the refrigerator.

how to replace your fridge damper

A broken air damper prevents cool air from entering the refrigerator, causing it to warm up. If you have a damaged air damper, it is possible that it is not an isolated issue; other aspects of a refrigerator’s cooling system may also affect the air damper control function.

You should be aware that some refrigerators have dampers connected to the main electrical system, which may include the timer and thermostat, before deciding to attempt the repair yourself. To prevent future harm, these should be repaired or replaced by a professional.

If your refrigerator has a self-contained air damper unit, follow the instructions in the manual to try these fixes before hiring a repairman.

  • Stick your hand in front of the vent to check if cool air is flowing into the fridge.
  • Depending on changes in the interior temperature, some refrigerators feature a temperature-sensing bulb attached to the control. Verify that the bulb is not damaged and is in the right place.
  • Try turning the control knob to see if the linkage is still intact.
  • Remove the access panel to check the wiring and connections. If any cables are loose, it is best to contact an appliance repair professional.
  • Clean any dirt or debris off the damper. Debris can cause the air damper to become stuck.
  • Replace the access panel, turn the power on and let the compressor run. If you hear a hissing sound, contact an appliance repair professional. If not, you’re good to go.

How To Check to See If Your Start Relay Is Not Allowing the Compressor to Work, Which Does Not Allow the Fridge To Be Cold

You can check to see if your refrigerator’s start relay is not allowing the compressor to work by listening for a clicking noise and checking to see if your refrigerator is cooling.

Repairman fixing a refrigerator and making a thumb up sign isolated on white background

The start relay oversees supplying power to the compressor. The relay is set to an on/off command, causing the refrigerator to cycle on and off during the cooling cycle, keeping the fridge at the ideal temperature.

So, if your fridge isn’t cooling properly and food begins to spoil, how do you know that it is the start relay that needs to be replaced?

  • The lack of cooling caused by the compressor never starting up is usually the most obvious sign that the start relay isn’t working.
  • There is the usual hum when the fridge is running smoothly. However, if you don’t hear this hum and notice that the temperature in the freezer and fridge compartments rises, there’s a good chance that the start relay isn’t working.
  • An audible click is heard every time the start relay kicks the compressor on. It usually happens when the compressor is turned on. If the compressor does not turn on, the relay tries to restart it, and then it tries to restart the compressor again in 2-5 minutes.

The repeated clicking sound heard is a sign that the start relay isn’t working and needs to be replaced.

  • You can also physically test if the start relay is faulty by unplugging it from the compressor and shaking it. If you hear rattling, the relay is faulty and must be replaced.

Ensure That Your Fridge Door Is Closing Properly If Your Fridge Is Not Cold Enough

You can ensure that your fridge door is closing properly by checking to see if the seals around the door are in good condition and if the items in the fridge are arranged in such a way that the door does not prevent the door from closing correctly.

When the refrigerator door fails to close properly, cold air escapes, allowing warm air to enter. Your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home; it keeps your food fresh. It would be a shame if you awoke one morning to find that most of your leftovers had gone bad because your fridge door hadn’t closed properly.

Because the fridge door is opened and closed numerous times throughout the day, there is a chance that it will not close properly one day. There are several plausible causes for your refrigerator door not closing properly. It might be that:

  • The items in the fridge are either misplaced or overfilled.
  • The door hinges are not tight.
  • Ice prevents the door from closing.
  • The door seal is crooked and worn out.

Fixing your fridge door could be as simple as rearranging the contents of your fridge or replacing the door seal. You can ensure that your refrigerator door closes properly by doing the following:

  • Check the refrigerator to ensure that all food containers, shelves, and food items are properly positioned.
  • With soapy water and a washcloth, clean the fridge gasket, which is the rubber seal that goes around the refrigerator doors.
  • Tighten your fridge door hinges, which may have sagged due to frequent openings and closings and heavy items on the door, with a screwdriver.
  • Empty your fridge to remove any melted ice or food residue that may prevent the door from closing properly.
  • In some cases, the door seals will be worn out and will need to be replaced.

If Your Fridge Is Not Cooling Enough, Make Sure That Air Clearance Is Adequate

You can ensure that your fridge’s air clearance is adequate by making sure that there is at least an inch on all sides of your fridge when installing it in your home.

A refrigerator requires adequate air circulation. The air vents on the refrigerator will be located differently depending on the model. There is always a toe kick plate or grill at the bottom, and there are a few air vents in the back, often in multiple locations.

cartoon vector icons of refrigerator and side-by side refrigerator.

Air must be pushed out and drawn into the refrigerator unit through these air vents, and the evaporator fan is a key player in this process. So, if you want to buy a fridge or already have one, make a note of how much space you have for it at home and pay attention to the amount of air clearance that the fridge requires.

If you have an old fridge with coils in the back, leave at least three (3) inches between the appliance and the wall. One (1) to two (2) inches would be enough for newer models. For the sides and top of the fridge, a half-inch to one (1) inch of air clearance should suffice.

This requirement is usually mentioned in the user manual for each brand. Some of these brands and their air clearance requirements are listed below.

BrandsClearance Requirement
Frigidaire1 inch⅜ inch
LG2 inches2 inches
Whirlpool1 inch¼ inch
GE Appliances2 inches1 inch
Yale Appliance2 inches1 inch

If Your Fridge Is Overcrowded, The Airflow Is Blocked, Causing the Fridge to Warm Up

If your refrigerator is overcrowded, uncluttering the contents is one way to ensure that the airflow is not restricted, and that cool air is circulating. Do not place food items against the vents so that the air will circulate properly.

Refrigerator full of food

Because the majority of what we consume is perishable, we tend to want to stock our refrigerators with as much food as possible. Overfilling your refrigerator is wrong and can block the air vents and restrict airflow. I recommend the Hoojo Refridgerator Organizer that is available on Amazon. Click here to get yours delivered to your front door.

Tips to Prevent the Overloading of your Fridge that will cause it to overheat
Arrange your food so that items do not block the air vents. Leave at least an inch of space between the vent and a food item.
Do not add items to the fridge that are so close to the door that it makes it hard to activate the door seals. If the seals are slightly open, cold air will escape.
Make sure to remove the extra items in the back of the fridge that may no longer be needed. This will increase the fridge space.
Check the expiry dates of all items and throw expired items to prevent overloading of the fridge.
Place your vegetables in the vegetable tray so that they will not take up too much space on the shelves.
Purchase a beverage cooler instead of storing bottled items in the main fridge. Click here for pricing on Amazon.
Consider freezing items in the fridge that are leftovers if they will not be eaten within three days.

To ensure proper temperature flow, make space for proper air circulation between the freezer and fridge compartments, which occurs via vents located in these compartments.

how to organize the fridge video

In some cases, your fridge vents might be blocked, and this can be caused by a number of reasons, which include:

  • Moisture accumulation or excessive frost.
  • Inconsistent or fluctuating temperatures.
  • Items placed directly in the path of the air vents.

Regardless of the size of your fridge, overfilling it to capacity is harmful to the appliance. There are many reasons to avoid overfilling your fridge.

  • Air vent blockages:

Excessive food inside can obstruct the flow of air from the vents, requiring your condenser and fridge motor to work hard to sustain the set temperature. As a result, various parts of the appliance burn out. 

  • Impacts on the appliance’s energy efficiency:

The restricted flow of air and limited cooling power of a crowded refrigerator result in energy waste. Keeping your refrigerator at a comfortable full level allows it to operate at its most efficient level, lowering both energy consumption and your monthly electric bill.

  • Food damage:

When you overstock your fridge for an extended period, your food begins to spoil. This is because the items may be blocking air circulation in small spaces, which can increase the growth of bacteria and cause digestive issues when consumed.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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