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How to Fix a Fridge that is Not Cold Enough

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Written by TechVill Appliance Repair Ltd. Editorial Contributors

A fridge that is not cold enough can be an annoying problem to deal with. Food spoilage and inconvenience are among the issues that arise when your fridge fails to cool properly.

However, before you panic and call for professional help, there are several simple checks and steps you can take to diagnose and potentially fix the issue yourself.

Common Reasons for a Not Cold Enough Fridge

Several factors can contribute to a refrigerator not maintaining a sufficiently cold temperature. A common culprit is improper thermostat settings; setting the temperature too high or a malfunctioning thermostat can lead to inadequate cooling.

Additionally, a buildup of dust and debris on the condenser coils can hinder heat dissipation, affecting the fridge’s cooling capacity. Insufficient airflow due to overcrowded shelves or obstructed vents can also impede proper cooling. Problems with the door seals or gaskets, such as wear and tear or dirt accumulation, may cause cold air leaks.

Lastly, a malfunctioning compressor or issues with the refrigerant levels could also result in a fridge not being cold enough.

Regular maintenance, proper temperature settings, and addressing these potential issues can help restore optimal cooling in the refrigerator.

How To Troubleshoot A Problem

Understanding these common reasons can help you identify the problem and find a suitable solution. We have a separate article dedicated to Samsung refrigerator problems, check it out if you have issues with you Samsung fridge. Some of the possible causes include:

Check Thermostat Settings

Ensure the thermostat is set to the correct temperature. Adjust it to a colder setting if necessary and allow time for the fridge to reach the new temperature.

Clean Condenser Coils

Unplug the fridge and do the steps below.

  • Locate the Condenser Coils: The condenser coils are usually situated at the back of the refrigerator or underneath it. Refer to the user manual if you’re unsure about their location. They might be covered by a grille or panel that needs removal for access.
  • Prepare Cleaning Tools: Gather a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a specialized coil cleaning brush. These tools help remove dust, dirt, and debris accumulated on the coils.
  • Clean the Coils: Use the vacuum’s brush attachment or the coil cleaning brush to gently remove the dust and debris from the coils. Start at the top of the coils and work your way down, ensuring thorough cleaning. Be gentle to avoid damaging the coils.
  • Clean Surrounding Areas: While you’re at it, clean the surrounding areas, including the floor or wall behind the fridge, to prevent dust from reaccumulating on the coils quickly.
  • Reassemble and Power Up: Once the coils and surrounding areas are clean, reattach any removed grilles or panels. Plug the fridge back in or turn on the power supply.

Ensure Proper Airflow

Rearrange items inside the fridge to prevent overcrowding and ensure adequate airflow. Check for any obstructions blocking vents or preventing proper circulation of cold air.

Inspect Door Seals

  • Examine Seals and Gaskets: Start by inspecting the rubber seals or gaskets around the refrigerator and freezer doors. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or deformation. Run your fingers along the seals to feel for any irregularities or rough areas that could affect their integrity.
  • Check for Wear and Tear: Assess the overall condition of the seals. Over time, seals can wear out, lose their flexibility, or become brittle. If they appear worn or hardened, they might not create a proper seal when the door is closed.
  • Clean the Seals: Use a mild detergent or a solution of water and vinegar to gently clean the seals. Wipe them with a soft cloth to remove any dirt, grime, or food particles that could prevent a tight seal. Ensure the seals are thoroughly dry before closing the doors.
  • Perform the Dollar Bill Test: An effective way to check the seal’s integrity is the dollar bill test. Close the door on a dollar bill or a piece of paper, ensuring it’s halfway in and halfway out of the fridge. Gently pull the bill out. If there’s resistance when you tug on it, the seal is likely in good condition. If the bill slides out easily, it indicates a weak seal that needs attention.
  • Adjust or Replace Seals: If the seals are damaged, worn, or fail the dollar bill test, consider replacing them. Replacement seals can usually be obtained from the manufacturer or appliance repair stores. Make sure to install the new seals correctly, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Examine the Evaporator Fan

To examine the evaporator fan, start by unplugging the fridge for safety. Access the evaporator fan by locating it behind the freezer compartment’s back panel (if applicable). Remove any covering or screws obstructing access.

With the fridge door open, manually depress the door switch to simulate the door being closed and listen for the fan’s humming or whirring noise. If the fan isn’t running, check for any obstructions hindering its movement.

Gently rotate the fan blades to see if they spin freely; if not, this could indicate a motor issue. Ensure there’s power reaching the fan motor; if there’s power but no movement, it might necessitate a replacement to restore proper airflow within the refrigerator. 

Test the Defrost System:

If frost buildup is observed on the evaporator coils, it could indicate a malfunction in the defrost system. Check the defrost heater, thermostat, and timer for any faults.

Check the Compressor

Listen for the sound of the compressor running. If it’s not running or making unusual noises, it might be faulty and require professional repair or replacement.

Inspect Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant levels could indicate a leak or malfunction. If suspected, contact a certified technician to handle refrigerant-related issues.

Dealing with More Serious Problems

In some cases, more serious problems may be causing the inadequate cooling. Issues such as refrigerant leaks or faulty fan motors require more professional attention. In this case, it is always a good decision to call a professional appliance repair company.

How TechVill Can Help

At TechVill, we understand the frustration of dealing with a fridge or freezer that is not cooling enough. As an appliance repair service provider in Calgary, we are committed to helping our customers with all their appliance repair needs. Our certified technicians with at list 10 years of experience are dedicated to providing quick and reliable refrigerator repairs. We prioritize customer satisfaction, transparency, and clear communication.

Whether you need assistance with your refrigerators, washers, ovens, dryers, or any other household appliances, our team at TechVill is here to help.

As an authorized appliance service provider, TechVill’s technicians could handle various major brands such as Maytag, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Samsung, LG, and more. We offer the best service and provide a warranty to ensure lasting results.

We serve various locations in Calgary, including Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, Canmore, and Okotoks. With a focus on solutions, we aim to minimize inconvenience and provide timely assistance to our customers.

Contact TechVill for professional appliance repair services and let us help you fix your fridge cooling issues.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fridge Cooling Issues

  • Locate the Controls: Check the interior or exterior of the fridge for the temperature controls. They’re often located inside the fridge compartment or on the control panel at the front or top of the fridge.
  • Consult the Manual: If unsure, refer to the user manual that came with your fridge. It will provide guidance on locating and adjusting the temperature settings specific to your model.
  • Use a Thermometer: Place a refrigerator thermometer (available at hardware or appliance stores) inside the fridge. Wait for a few hours to ensure the temperature stabilizes. Then, check the thermometer reading against the recommended temperature settings for your fridge type (usually between 35°F to 38°F or 1.7°C to 3.3°C).
  • Adjust Settings if Needed: If the thermometer reading doesn’t align with the recommended temperature range, use the controls to adjust the temperature settings accordingly. Some fridges have a dial or digital display allowing you to adjust the temperature up or down.
  • Monitor for Stability: Allow the fridge some time (a few hours) after adjusting the settings to stabilize at the new temperature. Check the thermometer again to ensure it reaches and maintains the desired temperature.

Defrosting might help if your fridge isn’t cold enough due to excessive frost buildup in the freezer or around the evaporator coils.

Here’s when defrosting can be beneficial:

  • Frost Buildup: If you notice excessive frost inside the freezer or around the evaporator coils in the fridge, causing airflow blockage, defrosting can be helpful. Turn off the fridge, remove food, and let the ice melt naturally or use a gentle heat source like a hairdryer to speed up the process (be cautious to avoid damaging the fridge).
  • Routine Maintenance: Periodic defrosting (if your fridge isn’t frost-free) can prevent excessive buildup and ensure optimal cooling efficiency. Doing this every few months can maintain your fridge’s performance.
  • Inadequate Cooling: If the fridge consistently fails to maintain the correct temperature despite adjusting settings and basic troubleshooting, it might indicate a deeper issue that requires professional attention.
  • Unusual Noises: Loud or unfamiliar noises coming from the fridge, such as rattling, buzzing, or grinding, could signal mechanical problems with components like the compressor, evaporator fan, or condenser.
  • Excessive Frost or Ice Buildup: If there’s a significant accumulation of frost or ice in the freezer or on the evaporator coils, it might indicate a malfunction in the defrost system or other underlying issues.
  • Visible Leaks: Any visible leaks, puddles, or moisture around or inside the fridge could indicate problems with the water supply, drainage, or the cooling system.
  • Frequent Cycling or Constant Running: If the fridge cycles too frequently or runs continuously without reaching the desired temperature, it might indicate a malfunctioning thermostat, compressor, or other critical components.
  • Faulty Lights or Controls: Malfunctioning lights inside the fridge, unresponsive controls, or inconsistent readings on the temperature display might signal electrical or control panel issues.
  • Age or Warranty Expiration: If the fridge is considerably old or out of warranty and experiences recurrent issues, investing in professional inspection or repairs might be more cost-effective than frequent DIY attempts.
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