Refrigerator not cooling? Here’s what you need to do

Last Updated on 17 February, 2023 by Sourav Roy

Is your refrigerator not cooling enough? It’s time to know all the potential reasons and solutions with me today!

Refrigerator not cooling

Have you ever invited friends over for drinks and found the wine to be warm despite refrigerating it for hours? This could be so embarrassing! How about opening the refrigerator on a hot afternoon with the hope of sipping on chilled water? Imagine not having cold water in the fridge when you feel so parched. Nothing can replace a glass of chilled water in that state.

Beyond having the luxury, a refrigerator not cooling can be a serious concern. Your appliance will begin to have a foul smell due to the food being spoilt. The milk will turn sour. There will be high chances of discovering bacteria and mould growth in the refrigerator. These are potential health hazards and can result in serious problems. Therefore, there’s no way you can take this issue lightly.

Now, if your refrigerator is old enough (15 years or more), you will gradually find the efficiency dropping. Making an effort to repair it will be a waste of your time and money. So, leave that thought behind and bring yourself the best refrigerator.

Are you in search of a single door refrigerator? I have tons of options for you in my blog 9 Best Single Door Refrigerators in India 2023 – Reviews & Buying Guide. Also, find some double door options here – 9 Best Double Door Refrigerators in India 2023 – Reviews & Buying Guide.

However, if your appliance is fairly new, it’s best to diagnose the problem and get it fixed. So, what do you do when your refrigerator stops cooling? Know it all with me. Right here, right now!


Refrigerator not cooling? Reasons & Solutions

1. Overstocking the Refrigerator

Overstocking the Refrigerator

Filling in the refrigerator or freezer with excessive food is one of the biggest mistakes. I have noticed most Indian households overstocking their refrigerators with weekly veggies or cooking excess food and then having an abundance of leftover food.

Guys, hold your horses! Do not overcook. Do not overbuy. Do not overstock. It will lead to less air circulation in the refrigerator. And then your appliance will struggle to cool. Therefore, overstocking is a big NO.

Solution: Store as much as necessary. Leave enough space for air circulation. Overdoing anything is not the best option.


2. Not cleaning the refrigerator

Not cleaning the refrigerator

The refrigerator is bound to have spills of food, milk, juices, and other things stocked in. While taking them in and out, you may end up have some spillovers. A minor leak in some packaged food can also be the reason behind your refrigerator having splatters. Well, these are all accidental, and they may not be in your control. But cleaning them right away is totally your call. Out of sheer laziness, people sometimes tend to leave the refrigerator and plan the cleaning later. But does that later ever come? Or do the stains dry up, and you stop noticing them? This gives space to contamination and bacteria in the refrigerator.

Consequently, it will result in diseases and deteriorate the efficiency of the appliance. You will notice the efficiency of the refrigerator diminishing by the day. So, do not encourage any bacteria growth in the appliance.

Solution: Like any other kitchen appliance, refrigerator cleaning should also be a part of your to-do list. Clean it the minute you find some unpleasant splashes or splatters. Keeping the refrigerator in the tidiest condition is a prerequisite.


3. Faulty Door Gaskets

Faulty Door Gaskets

Every refrigerator door is equipped with a rubber gasket. This is a tiny little component but plays a pivotal role in the functioning of the appliance. It is capable of sealing all the cool air inside the refrigerator. In case of any fault or damage in the rubber gasket, the cold air will seep out easily. This will make the refrigerator incapable of maintaining the temperature. So, you will find inefficient cooling in the appliance. Therefore, keep a constant check on the rubber gaskets.

Solution: If you notice any crack or fault or find it worn out, you must replace it immediately. Perhaps, it is one of the most inexpensive parts of a refrigerator.


4. Dirty condenser coil

Dirty condenser coil

Condenser coils are placed at the back of the refrigerator. They are responsible for carrying the hot gas released by the compressor. The coils cool the refrigerant. If they are dirty or blocked, the refrigerant running through them will not lose the heat. This means the refrigerator won’t cool enough. A dirty condenser also causes the compressor to overheat. Once the compressor overheats, it will stop functioning. As a result, the refrigerator will stop functioning as well. And then, of course, there will be no scope of cooling.

Therefore, you must keep the condenser coils absolutely clean and in proper condition. No dirt, no spiderwebs, no grease! Even a dash of it can result in poor air circulation and make your refrigerator lose its cooling ability.

Solution: You don’t need a professional to come home and clean the condenser coils. The process is simple enough for you to do it yourself. How to clean the refrigerator condenser coils?

  • Step 1: Disconnect the refrigerator power.
  • Step 2: Slide the refrigerator a little towards the outside.
  • Step 3: Use the hand attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dirt.
  • Step 4: Move the refrigerator back in place.

Here’s another easy way to clean the refrigerator condenser coil.

  • Step 1: Unplug the appliance from the power source.
  • Step 2: Go through the user manual and remove the toe grill.
  • Step 3: Use a coil brush to remove all the accumulated dust.
  • Step 4: Run in through a clean and dry cloth.
  • Step 5: Reinstall the toe grill.


5. The evaporator fan has gone bad

The evaporator fan has gone bad

The evaporator fan is the reason behind the cool air you feel every time you open the refrigerator door. It draws all the air across the evaporator coil, cools it completely and then moves it back to the refrigerator and the freezer. If there is any fault in the evaporator fan, there will be a rise in the freezer and refrigerator temperature. Once the evaporator fan stops completely, the refrigerant temperature will rise, and the compressor will overheat. When the compressor overheats, the unit will not produce any cool air and stop functioning eventually.

Solution: Replacing or repairing the fan motor are your two options. In any case, you need to detach it first. It is generally at the back of the freezer wall or any refrigerator compartment.

  • Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
  • Step 2: Empty your freezer and remove all the shelves.
  • Step 3: Once you find the evaporator panel, remove it and locate the fan.
  • Step 4: Detach the mounting clip, wire harness and fan blade.
  • Step 5: Place the new motor into the wire harness.
  • Step 6: Position the fan blades and the mounting clip back.
  • Step 7: Place the evaporator panel back.
  • Step 8: Time to fix all the shelves again.

If you have any difficulty in the process, seeking professional help will be a good idea.


6. Inaccurate temperature control

Inaccurate temperature control

Are you aware of what is the correct temperature for a fridge and freezer? The refrigerator temperature should be between 36 – 40 ° F, i.e. 4° C. the ideal freezer temperature should be 0° F, i.e. -18° C. You can decide on the exact temperature depending upon your model and the user manual.

If you have ever felt that the fridge is not cooling, but the light is on, a temperature check should be your first inspection. Most likely, you may have set the right temperature. But accidental bumps can be a reason behind any kind of unintentional change.

Solution: The temperature setting should be right in front of you as you access the appliance. Change the thermostat to the desired settings. A freezer and fridge have independent controls. Make sure to look into both. Also, once you do it, do not expect the appliance to cool immediately. Be patient. Wait for few hours or a day to stabilize.


7. Blocked vents between the freezer and fridge

Blocked vents between the freezer and fridge

The vents between the freezer and fridge play a big role in keeping your appliance cool. If the vents get blocked by any food item or covered by ice, it will lead to moisture build-up, decreased airflow or inconsistent temperatures. All these issues will hinder your appliance’s functioning, and you find your refrigerator not cooling enough.

Solution: Locate the vents in the freezer and refrigerator and make sure there is no blockage. Your refrigerator is also equipped with a defrost option. Manually defrost the appliance to ensure there is no ice build-up. Keep the food items away from the vents. Do not place temperature-sensitive food items even close to the vents.


8. Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant Leak

Here is another reason for your refrigerator not cooling enough. A refrigerant leak can happen if you have attempted any repairs and gone miserably wrong or if you have scrapped off the ice from the freezer. In any situation, this is bad news for your appliance. How do you know there is a refrigerant leak? You will find all the food losing its freshness, and it will feel warm no matter how many hours it has been. You will also begin to sense a musty smell from the refrigerator. Hence, it is not so difficult to detect this problem. A refrigerant leak will make the compressor work very hard. So, your appliance will begin to have cooling issues. You will also be in for some unreasonably high electricity bills. Are we ready for it? Certainly not!

Solution: If there is a small rust hole on the condenser or pipes, the manufacturer can weld a patch. In case of a severe situation, replacing the tubing will be the best solution. If the refrigerant cooling leak is in the condenser or compressor, the only solution is to replace the valves. This situation is definitely not a DIY repair. Professional help is what you need for sure.


9. Stuck air damper

Stuck air damper

An air damper circulates the flow of cool air between the refrigerator and the freezer. A stuck damper will restrict airflow, and you will notice your appliance functioning but not cooling enough. How do you diagnose this problem? Stick your hand ahead of the vent. Can you feel cool air? If you are certain about the evaporator coil functioning properly and the vents not being blocked, then a stuck air damper is the only reason behind inefficient cooling.

Solution: Repairing the air damper is very tough; replacing it should be the only solution. Once you are certain about doing so, you must invest in a self-contained unit with a power source and thermostat. Replacing these air dampers are easy.


10. Compressor Failure

Compressor Failure

A compressor is an indispensable part of the refrigerator. It circulates the refrigerant throughout the system and pushes it into the coils. A compressor enables the whole cooling process. If you find your freezer fan working perfectly and the refrigerator not cooling, a bad compressor could be the culprit.

In this situation, there could be two potential reasons. One, there is a fault in the compressor start relay. Two, there is a fault in the compressor. Replacing the compressor start relay is a relatively inexpensive affair compared to replacing the compressor itself. So, try your hands on that first.

  • Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
  • Step 2: Move the appliance a bit away from the walls.
  • Step 3: Remove the old compressor start relay (at the bottom of the refrigerator).
  • Step 4: Buy a new start relay and test the existing compressor.
  • Step 5: Give it few hours and check if the appliance is cooling the way it should.

Are you still facing the problem? In that case, the compressor needs a replacement for sure.

How to install a refrigerator compressor? Let us find out.

  • Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator, pull it away from the walls.
  • Step 2: Remove the back panels with the screws.
  • Step 3: Find the compressor at the bottom of the refrigerator. Then remove the start relay, overload protector and capacitor.
  • Step 4: Disconnect it from the suction line, process line and discharge line.
  • Step 5: Remove all the electricals, filter and ground wire.
  • Step 6: Remove the compressor.
  • Step 7: Attach the new filter to the capillary tube and weld it on.
  • Step 8: Position the new compressor correctly and connect all the tubes.
  • Step 9: Connect the compressor to the discharge, suction and process line and weld onto them.
  • Step 10: Transfer the rubber grommets from the old to the new compressor.
  • Step 11: Make use of a vacuum pump to remove the air from the compressor.
  • Step 12: Install back the start relay, overload protector and the capacitor.
  • Step 13: Connect all the cooling wires again.
  • Step 14: Fill the compressor with the refrigerant.
  • Step 15: Cross-check all the wires and other components. You have successfully installed a new compressor.

If installing a new refrigerator compressor procedure looks intimidating to you, expert help is a great option.


How to increase refrigerator cooling

How to increase refrigerator cooling

The above mentioned were some common reasons why you would find your refrigerator not cooling enough. You know what they say- Prevention is better than cure. Here are some easy and doable tips you can follow to improve the cooling of your refrigerator.

  • Avoid overcrowding in the freezer and refrigerator.
  • Clean the appliance regularly. Deep clean it once a week.
  • Limit the opening of the refrigerator door.
  • Do not put hot food inside.
  • Please keep it away from heat sources.
  • Turn it off when you are away for a long period.
  • Check for damages to the control board.
  • Tidy up the condenser coils.
  • Monitor the temperature.
  • Do not encourage ice accumulation.
  • Cover all the food items.
  • Keep the top of the refrigerator unoccupied.

Do not undervalue the strength of these little habits. They can do wonders.


One Last Thought

Is your refrigerator plugged in properly? Yes, I know it sounds like the obvious, but get your eyes on the power. It could be the reason too for your refrigerator not cooling. If you are struggling to identify the problem or get it fixed, do not shy away from calling the expert. Repair charges will prove out to be more economical than severe damages.

Also, if you have tried your hands on getting every minor and major component fixed and still not bouncing back to the old refrigerator efficiency, maybe it is time to say goodbye.

As a general thumb rule, if the repair charges exceed buying a new refrigerator, then have no doubts about bringing home a new one. If you are looking to explore some economical options, check my blog on the 9 Best Refrigerators Under 15000 in India(2023)- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide and 9 Best Refrigerators Under 20000 In India (2023) – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide.

You don’t want to miss some exciting options. Do you?

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