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Why Is My Refrigerator Not Cooling?

The solution to this problem may be simpler than you think; you just need to know where to look!
A warm refrigerator is a serious problem that may cost you hundreds of dollars in spoiled food and cause a great deal of stress. Although this dilemma may feel like a huge inconvenience, there is normally a solution, and it may be simpler than you think.
Suppose you have noticed that your fridge feels abnormally warm or is running hotter than the FDA recommended temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, it is time to start looking for the cause behind this complication. This article has gathered all of the most common problems related to refrigerators that aren’t cooling and their respective answers. All so you can take on your cooling complications with confidence!

A Quick Fix

Refrigerators are large and complex systems that have the difficult job of running 24/7. All of the time they spend running and their regular use can lead to a slew of complications over time. Luckily, not every issue is a reason for calling a professional.
There are plenty of simple problems that can be solved with minimal effort within just a few minutes. It is always best to start looking for the reason your refrigerator is not cooling by evaluating the simplest areas where errors can be made, so that is where we will start our journey to fix your fridge.

Power Is Key

All modern refrigerators require electricity to function. It sounds like a simple concept, but people often forget the importance of checking that their refrigerator is plugged in since the outlet is normally hidden.
Even if you have not intentionally unplugged your refrigerator, the plug may have come loose during cleaning or regular use. It is simple enough to slide your fridge out and check that it is securely plugged into an outlet. If it feels loose or is unplugged, you can firmly plug it back in and wait to see if the fridge starts to cool off.
Tip: If your refrigerator’s light does not turn on and it is also not cooling, then there is a good chance that it is not receiving the power it needs to function.

Over-filling Can Cause Cooling Failure

… Tip: Refrigerator doors may swing open or not close properly if they are heavy, and the fridge is set on an angle, so if replacing the gaskets doesn’t fix your loose doors, you should check to see if your refrigerator is level. …

Compressor Complications

Compressors are the origin of cooling in all refrigerators. They are a complex system that is commonly located on the bottom of refrigerators and can not be accessed without moving the appliance away from the wall. The compressor has a part known as the start relay that can be located at the junction of cords feeding into the compressor.
A complication with either of these parts can normally be determined through their replacement. Any work on the compressor requires you to unplug the refrigerator for safety and follow an owner’s manual specific to your refrigerator to ensure that all parts are replaced properly.
It is normally easier and cheaper to replace the start relay in comparison to the compressor, so it is best to start there. Replacing either of these components is completely possible to do at home, but it is a complex and intricate process that is too long to detail here, so feel free to seek professional advice.

Fan Failures

All refrigerators have an evaporator fan located in the back of the freezer, and some have a condenser fan located by the compressor. Both of these fans push air to keep your fridge cold, and if either one of them stops working, your refrigerator will stop cooling.
Checking both fans is rather simple, as you only need to locate them and ensure that they are spinning freely and efficiently. If they seem to be jammed or dirty, you can unplug your appliance and clean them. When you plug your refrigerator back in, both fans should be spinning properly and pushing air.
If one or both of these fans still aren’t running, then you may need to replace their motors. Each fan has an associated motor, and its replacement should be detailed in your refrigerator’s owner’s manual. This task may sound daunting, but it is commonly easier than it sounds, and the motors can be easily purchased at an appliance repair shop.

Keep It Clean

Refrigerators have a lot of hidden areas that are commonly neglected when it comes to regular cleaning. If these areas are dirty enough, they have the ability to prevent your appliance from cooling.

In simple terms, refrigerators work due to their circulation of cool air. This cool air is generated by a compressor, cooling coils, and a series of fans. There are vents within fridges, commonly in the back of the freezer and the top of the refrigerator, that circulate the air that cools your food.
If your refrigerator is overfilled and these vents get covered, then cold air is not able to circulate, and heat can not be removed. The items at the vents will likely be extremely cold while the rest of the refrigerator is rather warm. Lessening the amount of food you pack into your refrigerator and making sure these vents are clear should result in your fridge cooling down again within a few minutes.

Check The Thermostat Dial

Hidden somewhere in almost every refrigerator is a thermostat dial that allows homeowners to decide how cold they wish to keep their fridge. Even though 40 degrees Fahrenheit is the normal temperature for refrigerators, you can choose to keep your refrigerator cooler or warmer.
The thermostat dial may be small and tucked away, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get bumped or accidentally changed. If you check this dial and find that it is set to an abnormally warm temperature, turn it to a colder temp and wait to see if the cooling improves.

Wear & Tear

Refrigerators are hearty, but they are not invincible. Daily wear and tear can take its toll in many ways and lead to a loss of cooling. These complications often require a bit more effort and money than the previous group. So if you deduce that these situations may be the root of your problem and you wish to consult a professional, that is completely understandable.

Refrigerator Doors Seal

Your refrigerator’s ability to stay cold will mean nothing if all of that cold air is not securely contained. Loose refrigerator doors are the most common culprits when it comes to air leaks, but they can be an easy fix.
Your refrigerator’s doors may be leaking if you notice that the door is abnormally easy to open, bounces back when you close it, or you notice cool breezes and light seeping from the edge of the door.
Refrigerator doors deal with gaskets, which appear as rubbery bumpers, and faulty or broken gaskets are a common culprit of loose doors. They can often be replaced, and it is rather easy to do so. You will just need to know your refrigerator’s model to ensure that you buy the correct replacement gaskets.

Dusty Coils

Condenser coils are the structures that transport refrigerants from the compressor to the freezer to facilitate cooling. These coils are commonly out of sight, either on the back or base of your refrigerator. However, they are still majorly exposed.
This positioning creates the perfect conditions for a build-up of dust that can clog or over insulate the coils, which makes them unable to cool the appliance. To fix this problem, you will have to unplug your fridge, access the coils, and scrub them clean with a coil brush, which is specially designed to reach all of the nooks and crannies of these structures.

Tip: Clean all of the dust off the floor around your appliance after, ensuring it does not clump onto and clog other parts of your appliance.

If you are still struggling to find your refrigerator’s problem or you are not comfortable performing a fix personally, it is always okay to contact a trusted appliance professional. Stay safe, fix that refrigerator, and feel free to reach out to us with any appliance questions you may have. We are always happy to help!

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