Refrigerator Not Cool? Here’s How To Fix It

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If your fridge is not running properly it can be tempting to call an expert out straight away to fix the issue before things start to melt. But before you call the repair team, it pays to check some of the simple stuff first. Here is our list of easy fixes you will want to look at to save yourself an awkward conversation with a repair technician and any unnecessary call out fees.  

Check the easy fixes first

Check your refrigerator is plugged in

It may sound too simple to be the problem but it is a surprisingly common reason people's fridges have stopped cooling. An easy way to check if you have power is to see if the light in your fridge comes on when you open the door. If not then you should check to see if it is still plugged in with the power turned on at the wall. You can test the wall socket by plugging in another appliance and seeing if it works. If it doesn’t, then you will need to consult a professional.

Check your thermostat is set correctly.

If you have power to your fridge then the next step is to check the thermostat. Locate your thermostat and check to see that it has been set to an appropriate temperature. According to the FDA, the recommended temperature for a refrigerator is at or below 4 degrees celsius. 

Check your door gaskets

The next thing to check is that your door gaskets are in working order. Door gaskets are the elastic strip around the edges of your fridge door. They work to keep the cool air inside by sealing once the door is closed.  First, you should do a visual inspection checking for tears or other damage. If they look okay then insert a 5 dollar note halfway and close the door. There should be some resistance when you go to pull it out. If not, then you should replace it and see if your problem is fixed. 

Check that cold air can circulate

Fridges keep cool by circulating cool air back and forth through vents that run between the freezer compartment and the refrigerator compartment. If there are boxes or other items blocking the vent, the airflow will be interrupted, diminishing your fridge's ability to keep cool. Locate your vent using the fridge’s owner’s manual if necessary and ensure it has not been blocked. 

Check your condenser coils are clean 

Condenser coils work to cool and condense the refrigerant in order to help keep the fridge cool. They are located under or behind your fridge. Because they are on the outside of your fridge, dust and dirt can accumulate on these coils which acts as an insulating layer and stops heat from being released effectively.  These coils should be cleaned using a handheld vacuum or duster multiple times a year in order to help keep your fridge running smoothly. 

Frost buildup

Frost buildup is the last simple fix check you can do in order to help fix your fridge's cooling issue. Frost can build up in your freezer causing a vent blockage. The best way to fix this is to defrost your freezer completely. Defrosting your freezer can take a full day so you will need to plan in advance where to store your frozen food items or have a big BBQ the night before!  Follow these easy steps to defrost your freezer:
  1. Unplug or disconnect your freezer from its power source. 
  2. Place towels or a plastic tray at the bottom of your freezer to catch the melting ice. 
  3. Let the ice melt. Opening the freezer door will allow air to circulate aiding in the melting process.
  4. Once the ice is completely melted, mop up the water and dry the inside of your freezer. 
  5. Once it is clean and dry, reconnect your freezer to its power supply. 
It may take several hours for your freezer to reach temperature. Once it has cooled off you can begin to put your frozen goods back inside.  If you have gone through and checked off the items above and are still having issues, it is a more serious problem. 

Complex fixes

While this fix is something you can do yourself before calling a repair technician, it does require more mechanical experience. It is a good idea to check and see if your fridge is under warranty at this point. Parts can be costly even without the labor and replacing certain components can invalidate your warranty altogether. 

Broken evaporator fan

Your fridge’s evaporator fan works by drawing cool air from the evaporator coils to circulate throughout the unit. If this fan does not function as it should then it may hinder the fridge’s ability to stay cool. If this is the case then you will need to replace the fan’s motor. Ensure you get a fan from a reputable supplier and follow a model specific guide in order to replace it. 

Frosty evaporator coils

A common occurrence following an evaporator fan not working correctly is for the evaporator coils to frost over. In order to check if your coils are frosted over you will need to remove the back panel from the fridge.  Follow these simple steps to check if your evaporator coils are frosted over:
  1. Unplug your fridge.
  2. Remove back panels, consult your owner’s manual if you are unsure. 
  3. Visually check to see if the coils are frosted over. 
  4. Replace the back panel. 
If your coils are frosted then you will need to let your fridge thaw out for a day or two. If after this you are still having issues you should consult an expert.  

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