Why is Your Refrigerator Not Properly Cooling

It can be very frustrating to go to your refrigerator for a delicious, cool drink and find it feels lukewarm. You may have even noticed that any food in the refrigerator seems to go bad quickly. For whatever reason, when your refrigerator is not properly cooling, it can be a massive inconvenience, and it needs to be resolved quickly. So, here we’ll explore the reasons why your refrigerator is not properly cooling.

Image of a freezer

Frequent Lookie Loos

One of the most common causes of a refrigerator failing to properly cool is the refrigerator door is frequently opened or left open. If you have a family member, particularly kids, who likes to spend time agonizing over their snack with the refrigerator door open, they could be preventing your refrigerator from properly cooling. Every time the door is held open, the refrigerator needs to compensate for the temperature in the room, and this force the appliance to work harder and harder. Keep an eye on your family’s refrigerator habits, and if it is subject to frequent lookie-loos, you’ll need to institute some changes. This may involve having a separate beverage fridge, so the kids can get a cool drink whenever they want without compromising the safety of all the food in your main refrigerator.

The Wrong Temperature Setting

Although this may appear obvious, it is often overlooked. So, if your refrigerator doesn’t appear to be cooling properly, your first step should be to check the temperature setting. It’s very easy to bump the switch when you are loading your groceries and you may have accidentally adjusted the temperature.

The optimum temperature for a refrigerator is less than 40ºf, but you may need to experiment with the setting dial. Most models have a numbered dial, so if you notice that it is set on a low number, try increasing it in increments until it hits below 40ºf.

A Blocked Air Vent

Another reason why your refrigerator is not properly cooling is that the air vent has been obstructed. If you’ve packed food into the freezer compartment, the air vent may have become blocked. The freezer section is where most of the refrigerator’s cooled air is pumped through, so it can be circulated throughout both the internal cabinets of the freezer and refrigerator. If a tub of ice cream or bag of frozen vegetables has been pushed up against the vent, it will block fresh air from being circulated. So, check your freezer cabinet and make sure that the air vent has not been obstructed.

Dirty Condenser Coils

If you have an older refrigerator, you’ll be able to see the condenser coils on the back of the appliance. Other models have the coils under the unit, accessible by a panel near the floor. If your coils are visible, pull the refrigerator away from the wall and check to see if they are covered in dust or dirt. A dirty coil will be unable to effectively perform the heat transfer necessary for proper cooling. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the condenser coils as part of the appliance maintenance once a year. You’ll find instructions for performing this task in your owner’s manual, as the procedure varies according to the specific model. In most cases, you’ll just need to unplug the refrigerator, remove the access panel and gently clean any dust, pet dander or other debris that has accumulated.

There are a number of reasons why your refrigerator may not be properly cooling, and some basic knowledge could help you resolve the issue. If this is not the case, you can rely on an experienced appliance technician to provide an effective solution. If you are experiencing issues with your refrigerator, you can rely on a professional appliance repair technician to discover the underlying issue and offer a resolution.