Why Is My Refrigerator Not Cooling & 7 Ways to Fix it!

If your refrigerator has recently not been cooling food or items enough, you’ve probably asked yourself this question: “Why is my refrigerator not cooling?”

There could be several possibilities why this is happening. While some issues might be easy to fix all by yourself, you might need to hire an expert technician to help you solve some of the technical problems.

And in this article, we’ll be answering this question in detail and recommend 7 ways to fix this problem permanently regardless of whether you have a whirlpool, GE, or Samsung refrigerator.

So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Why My Refrigerator Is Not Cooling Enough

Why is my refrigerator not cooling in summary

For someone to ask, “why is my refrigerator not cooling?” they should have seen several signs. These include:

  • A warm interior which causes the food inside to be at room temperature
  • Stored food gets spoiled quickly
  • Ice melts inside the freezer and within the fridge
  • Water leaks from the freezer or the floor of the refrigerator
  • Frost builds up inside the freezer, fridge, and other areas of the refrigerator
  • You may hear unusual noises from the compressor or condenser fans
  • Warm air coming from the vent
  • An unusual condensation of water
  • The digital temperature display indicates an error

So, what causes your refrigerator to not cool?

1. Dirty condenser and evaporator coils

The condenser and evaporator coil play an important role in the refrigeration cycle. The evaporator coils, located behind the freezer, are responsible for sucking in hot air from the freezer into the refrigerant. The saturated refrigerant flows into the condenser coils to eliminate the excess air into the surrounding environment.

If both of these coils have debris or dust on them, they limit heat transfer. The evaporator coils will not suck enough heat to keep the refrigerator cool while the condenser coils will not eliminate heat appropriately.

2. Refrigerant leaks

The refrigerant is the fluid responsible for transferring heat from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil. When there’s a refrigerant leak on the unit, it has to overwork to eliminate heat since the amount of fluid that’s left isn’t enough to cater for the refrigeration cycle.

Note that refrigerant leaks can be difficult to detect. Sometimes, it can take people a lot of time to discern these types of leaks.

Also read: How to find refrigerant leaks

3. Dirty or blocked air vents

The air vents in the freezer are responsible for allowing heat to flow freely in and out of the refrigerator. If the refrigerator is not cooling enough, you might need to check the air vents.

  • Are there stored or items that are blocking air flow?
  • Are there dust particles or any other debris that could cause cold air to not flow into the device?
  • Can you see any frost or ice build up on the vents?

4. Faulty evaporator and condenser fans

Both the evaporator and the condenser fans have fans that help the air circulate in and out of these two components easily. When the fans are faulty, cold air won’t get into the freezer quickly and the condenser won’t be able to dissipate heat appropriately.

Signs of a faulty evaporator or condenser fan:

  • You’ll hear a rattling, buzzing, or clicking noise
  • The fans may stop functioning completely
  • The compressor will run more frequently than usual
  • The fan can cause frost buildup on the condenser or evaporator coil

5. Inappropriate temperature settings

Another reason why your refrigerator is not cooling is because you are using inappropriate temperature settings. Modern refrigerators normally have a digital temperature control display while old models may have refrigerator temperature dials.

If the temperature setting is not good, the refrigerator could be having a difficult time to cool the air inside the unit.

6. Improper installation

Improper installation could also limit how well your refrigerator cools the air inside the freezer and the fridge. For instance, if the area around your kitchen is humid, cooling all the items inside the fridge could take time or become difficult.

Another reason why my refrigerator is not cooling could include:

  • If it’s not level
  • If there are a lot of things around the unit that it blocks air flow

7. Damaged Gasket Seals

A damaged gasket seal could be the reason why my refrigerator is not cooling

Also referred to as the door seals, gasket seals play an important role in ensuring that the refrigerator doors remain sealed to prevent unwanted air or moisture from coming into the freezer or fridge. When these seals get damaged, air finds its way into the refrigerator. Hence, your device has to overwork to keep the air inside cooler.

How Do You Fix a Refrigerator That’s Not Working

What is the first thing to check when a refrigerator stops working? You may ask!

Here are a few things you can do.

1. Start by installing the refrigerator properly

Proper installation is critical in ensuring durability and proper air flow in and out of the refrigerator. For instance, your refrigerator should have ample space, and you should keep it in an area where there’s less traffic.

You should also ensure that there’s space between the wall and the components behind the refrigerator is 3-inches wide. The space between the top of the refrigerator and the ceiling should also not be less than 1-inch. This ensures proper air flow from the condenser and evaporator coils.

2. Check the power supply

In some cases, the refrigerator won’t turn on. Before you panic, I’d advise you to check the power supply first.

  • Start by checking if you’ve plugged the power cable all the way into the power outlet.
  • If nothing happens, plug the power cable into a different power outlet to see if the refrigerator will turn.
  • If nothing changes, inspect the power cable to see there are any worn out sections

3. Clear the air vents

air vents in a refrigerator
Source: Appliance Answers

Any obstruction near the air vents causes a frost build up on the area near it. The food or items next/near the air vents would also cool better than those that are far from it.

If this is the problem, remove anything (including frost buildup) close to it. There should be enough distance between the air vents and the items close to it. Also, if possible, don’t overstuff your refrigerator. Ensure that you put enough items or food stuffs into the refrigerator to promote cooling.

4. Are the gasket seals faulty?

The refrigerator door seals create a barrier for preventing outdoor air from coming into the refrigerator. So, if they are faulty, you need to check if there’s a problem with them.

One idea you can use to test their functionality using a paper. Place it on the appliance and close the door. If you can’t feel any tension, then they need fixing. Damaged seals also look flimsy, worn out, brittle, or cracked.

You can try to fix it or you can find a replacement for it.

If the seals are dirty but there’s nothing wrong with them, you can clean the area underneath using vinegar and a cotton swab. Here’s a video resource you can use as reference.

5. Adjust the temperature settings

If your refrigerator is not getting cold enough, you need to check the temperature settings.

An error indication on the digital thermostat can occur sometimes, and if not taken care as quickly as possible, the compressor could also face some difficulties. If that’s the case, shut down the refrigerator for a few minutes, then power it on to see if the error disappears.

Once it’s powered on, turn the dial to the 2 or 3 setting. That is the recommended setting for everyday use. Then, take some to time to observe any changes within 24 hours.

Note: the recommended temperature for a freezer by Beko and other reliable brands should be 00 F ( -180 C) while that of the fridge should be at 30 C or 50 C (35° and 38°F).

6. Clean the condenser and evaporator coils

If none of the five solutions works, you need to find a way to clean the condenser and evaporator coils. The way you clean these coils will depend on the dirt or debris on it.

First shut down the refrigerator. If there’s frost buildup on any of the coils, use a steamer, hot water, or hot dryer to melt the ice. You can also use a soft brush to clean the dust on the coils. Be careful to not use a lot of force when cleaning the coils; otherwise, you might damage them.

If after doing this nothing works, listen to the fan on both the condenser and evaporator coils to hear if it works. Any noise or rattling is a sign that the fans are faulty and you need to find a replacement. The price of these fans will depend on the model.

7. Check if there’s a refrigerant leak

If nothing works, then the refrigerant could be leaking from one of the components. At this point, you may need to call a qualified HVAC technician because refrigerant leaks can be dangerous when released into the air for a long time.

The technician will use special tools to detect a leak, reclaim the refrigerant, fix the problem, and then recharge the refrigerant back into the refrigerator.

Benefits of hiring a HVAC Technician if your refrigerator is not cooling

Note: Don’t try any DIY tricks, such as sealing pinhole leak with a cello tape, to fix the refrigerant leaks. According to the EPA, releasing refrigerant into the air is dangerous to property and the environment.

You can read more on this here: Refrigerant Management Regulations


Why is the fridge not cold but the freezer is?

Normally, the freezer distributes cold air to the rest of the fridge. If the freezer is cold but the fridge isn’t, it could mean that the condenser coils are clogged. Cleaning the dust or debris with a soft brush would solve the problem.

Why is the fridge not cooling but the light is on?

If the light on the fridge is on but it cannot cool, there must be a problem with the internal components. Calling a technician immediately is the best solution in this case.

What causes a fridge to suddenly stop working?

There could be numerous possibilities that cause your fridge to stop working. Other than a power outage, your fridge can cease working if there’s an issue with the internal components.

Why is the refrigerator running all the time?

The refrigerator could be having a difficult time cooling the air inside the refrigerant, due to an inappropriate temperature setting, a faulty fan, compressor, condenser, or evaporator coils. It may run all the time if the location you place it in is humid or hot that it has to keep running to keep the air inside it cool.

Wrapping it Up

We have come to the end of the article folks. I hope the article answers the question, “why is my refrigerant not cooling” and how you can fix the problem. If the issues persist even after trying all the recommended solutions, reach out to a qualified technician about the problem as soon as possible.