The chill in your refrigerator matters more than just keeping your sodas cold. Your fridge needs to be cold enough to keep milk, eggs, meat, and your produce fresh. The chill in your fridge is essential for food safety at home for yourself and your family. Not to mention your grocery budget. The last thing you want is for your food at home to spoil before you’ve eaten it. Whether your fridge is failing to stay cold or it’s just not cold enough, we can help. There are more than a few different reasons why your fridge might be too warm and ways to make it colder. It might be a simple procedural problem or it might be a component that needs repairing. Whatever the cause, we’ll help you find the solution.
The first thing to do is investigate whether there’s a quick and easy fix to your fridge coldness problem. There are two common mistakes that fridge-owners make when it comes to keeping it cool. The first is bumping the setting and the second is blocking cold airflow from the freezer.
Adjust the Temperature Setting
Start by looking for the temperature setting. This should be a switch or knob that is turned to indicate the correct temperature inside your fridge. It is always possible that the setting was bumped when someone was loading or removing something from the fridge. Set the thermostat between the mid-cold and coldest setting, making sure it is cooler than it was before.
Clear the Compartment Vents
The next thing to check is your vents. Cold is generated behind or near the freezer, then channeled via cold air through a vent between the freezer and fridge compartments. If this vent is blocked, then cold air can’t circulate into the fridge and your refrigerator might be too warm. This can also result in the freezer being too cold or not defrosting properly.
Make sure that vent is clear on both sides. Move away from large boxes, bagged foods, or built-up frost over the vent.
Components to Repair
Once you have checked to make sure there are no simple causes to your warm fridge problem, it’s time to look into mechanical causes. Your fridge cold is maintained by a number of systems and there are more than a few small-to-medium repairs that could make the difference or fix the problem.
Align the Door
One of the possibilities is that your door is not aligned properly. If the door won’t close correctly, then the cold is escaping. Your fridge will both spend extra electricity staying cold and the fridge will likely be warmer than it should be. The first place to look is door alignment. Remove all the heavy items from your door and check the hinge alignment. Tighten your hinges to create a better-aligned seal.
Clean the Gasket Seal
The next way your door might not be sealing is if the gasket is hard or damaged or dirty. If the gasket can’t form a seal, then the fridge can’t trap cold and your compartment can become too warm. Clean the gasket and inspect it for damage. If your seal is damaged or hardened, replace it. Otherwise, wipe it down and then apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
Replace the Circulation Fan
There are two fans in your refrigerator. The first blows air over your condenser coils and it is important. However, the fan most likely to cause a warm fridge is the circulation fan between the freezer and fridge compartments. Just as the vent needs to be open, you need the fan to push cold air from one compartment to another. If this fan is broken, it will need to be replaced by removing the internal panels and accessing the fan.
Clean the Coils
Another common problem is your condenser coils. The coils radiate cold and the air is blown over them to chill the freezer and fridge. If dust covers the coils, the cold can’t reach the air and therefore can’t reach the fridge. You can wipe down the coils with a cloth or get a special condenser brush designed to clean condenser coils.
Replace the Thermistor
The thermistor is your defrost thermometer that detects how cold the freezer and fridge are to cycle the cooling process accordingly. If your thermistor is out, your fridge can’t accurately regulate its own temperature. It will need to be replaced if the thermistor is not working correctly.
Fix the Defrost Assembly
Finally, you may need to fix your defrost sensors, timer, or other parts of the assembly. A freezer that over-frosts or defrosts too often can both result in a warm refrigerator.
If your fridge is working perfectly (or you are waiting for a replacement part to arrive) there are also a few tricks you can use to make your fridge colder inside and to keep it colder while running. These are clever fridge management techniques that trap more cold inside the fridge and create cold-batteries that will last when your fridge is underpowered or standing open.
Stock the Fridge
Fill your refrigerator with food. The more food, especially moist or dense food, that is chilled the more cold you can store in the fridge. The extra contents function as cold-batteries. So if the fridge is opened or isn’t maintaining a cold-air temperature, dense cold foods can help.
Cool Gallons of Liquid
Liquids are also excellent cold batteries. Keep a gallon of orange or apple juice in the fridge for your health and better fridge performance. If you need to leave your fridge mostly empty, put a couple gallon-jugs of water inside as cold batteries instead.
Finally, make sure your fridge stays defrosted. If you don’t have a defroster feature, manually defrost your fridge before frost can build over the vents. If you do have a defroster feature, make sure it’s working correctly.
—Keeping your refrigerator cold is easier than it sounds. Maintain your fridge, keep the door sealed, and repair any parts that break along the way. We can help you with that last step if you contact us whenever your fridge starts to misbehave or become too warm.