Modern refrigeration is an awesome power of tech-assisted housing. Your fridge is there to keep milk, lunchmeat, and leftovers fresh and cold for days or even weeks after they enter your house. To do this, you rely on your fridge to remain cold-but-not-freezing a 40 F to 35 F at all times. The fridge may warm up a little when you open the door but is designed to carefully maintain a cool food-chilling temperature.
When your fridge stops maintaining a cold temperature, you’ve got a problem. You may notice that your cold drinks aren’t that cold, or even that your food is spoiling faster… but the fridge still feels cool on the inside. This can happen when your fridge is still trying and capable of cooling down the inside, but something has gotten in its way or reduced its efficiency.
Today, we’re here to share the top reasons why your fridge isn’t achieving optimum cool.
1) Too Much Stuff in the Fridge
Believe it or not, you can have too much stuff crammed into your fridge. Some amount of food mass in the fridge is good for maintaining cool because once they are cold, a jug of OJ or a Tupperware of casserole acts as a ‘cold battery’. However, to keep the entire fridge at the optimum cold temperature, your refrigerator compartment needs airflow.
This means that if too many items are stacked on top of each other or in tetris-like clusters because you like to have plenty of groceries, the items in the middle may be exposed to less cold air than the items on the outside of any stack. Try reducing the packed-level of your fridge to let the chilled air circulate.
2) Defrost Isn’t Working
The defrost function in your fridge is meant to keep the level of ice in the freezer and fridge compartments to a minimum. You might think a malfunction here would make the fridge colder. In reality, the frost builds up on critical elements like the evaporator coils and the fans that circulate the cold air. So if your defrost or frost-free function isn’t working, your fridge can actually get too warm.
3) Inaccurate or Bumped Temperature Control
Check your temperature control. If you don’t know where it is, find it first. These are usually near the front of your fridge, often at the top, bottom, or side of the compartment.If the temperature control/thermostat is where it’s supposed to be (Between Colder and Coldest or Between 35 and 40 degrees F), then you may have a problem with an inaccurate or misaligned control. You might also discover that an accidental bump set the thermostat much warmer and your fridge problems will soon be corrected when you nudge it back into place.
4) The Door Isn’t Sealing Closed
Just like keeping the AC inside your house, your fridge needs it’s door to seal tightly shut to keep the cold on the inside. A fridge door that doesn’t seal slowly leaks cold and is therefore not cold enough, though it may still feel cool when you open the door.Wipe your fridge door clean with a gentle detergent or a touch if vinegar. If the gasket seems hard, try rubbing a little vaseline to soften it and renew the seal. If the gasket is damaged or twisted, it may need to be replaced before your fridge can get really cold again.
5) Problematic Door Switch
Most fridges don’t like to run the condenser unless the door is confirmed to be closed. This helps save electricity by creating cold at the most efficient times possible. However, if your fridge thinks the door is open all the time, it won’t run the condenser enough to maintain the right level of cold.
Check on your fridge’s door latch. This is the tiny lever that pushes down when your fridge is closed (turns off the light) and springs open when the door is open (turns on the light). The latch may be gummed up with built-up grime or somehow broken during a rigorous grocery loading session.
6) Covered Vents Between Freezer and Fridge Compartments
Next, you want to check out how well air is flowing between the fridge and freezer compartments. Most fridges create all their cold for the freezer, then the refrigerator compartment is kept cold with a vent between the fridge and freezer areas. However, if that vent is covered up wither with ice or by stored food on either side, this can seriously hinder your fridge’s ability to circulate cold air and keep it cool on the refrigerator side.
7) Dirty Condenser Coils
Sometimes a fridge’s cooling problems go a little deeper than vents and door seals. The condenser coils, for example, tend to live underneath or in the back of a fridge and can become covered in dust and kitchen grime over time. However, these coils need to be exposed and clean in order to produce the kind of cold your fridge needs to function.
Every now and then, you may need to open up the bottom or back panel of your fridge and wipe down the condenser coils to make sure they are capable of producing maximum cold.
8) Refrigerant is Leaking
Your fridge might also be losing cooling power because it is literally losing the refrigerant liquid that generates the cold. A refrigerant leak is bad news for a fridge and often beyond the scope of DIY repairs. Fortunately, refrigerant leaks are also very rare.
9) A Fan Motor Went Out
We mentioned that air circulation is an important part of keeping your fridge and freezer at the optimum temperature. Sometimes ice can obscure the fans that blow air around but sometimes, the problem is the fan itself. If you’re having coldness circulation problems, check to make sure the condenser and circulation fans are running according to plan.
10) The Fridge Isn’t Level
Finally, on a slightly odd note, there’s a chance your troubles relate to the feet of your fridge. Or possibly the weight of the stuff in your fridge door. When a fridge door hangs off-kilter, the seal doesn’t line up properly and cold can leak out. This can happen with too much OJ and other heavy items in the fridge door, pulling it down and out of place. Or it can happen if your fridge is not actually standing level on the floor.Grab a carpenter’s bubble level and test the bottom floor of the fridge compartment. If it isn’t level, adjust or prop-up the feet until it is level.
—You rely on your refrigerator to keep your eggs and milk fresh, your sodas cold, and to have leftovers safely waiting to be microwaved at dinner time. Your life doesn’t have a place for a fridge that can’t get cold enough to achieve your goals. Try these ten DIY investigations and solutions before calling a repair service to make your fridge get properly cold again. For more refrigerator repair and diagnosis insights, contact us today!