When your refrigerator is too warm, you know it. Food spoils too quickly. Odors occur more readily. Your sodas aren't icy cold when you crack them. If you just keep cranking down the temperature setting but your fridge just won't cool, there are a few options for the possible cause. Many of them can be fixed at home without calling for appliance repairs.
Today, we're here to share the six most likely causes of a fridge that is consistently too warm.
1) Someone Bumped the Temperature Setting
Start by checking the temperature setting. If you haven't adjusted it already, there's a chance it was bumped to a warmer setting just before your problems started to occur. Bumping the dial is very common and also, thankfully, easy to fix. Just ease the setting back down to cold. Be careful, it's possible to freeze your fridge by setting it too cold.
2) Blocking the Circulation Vents
The next most common problem is blocking the vent that circulates the cold air. In most fridge designs, the freshly cooled air is generated behind the freezer compartment and enters the refrigerator compartment through a vent. This ensures that the freezer stays the coldest. However, if the food in either the freezer or fridge blocks this vent. Check your compartments and make sure the vents are clear. And that there is plenty of room for air to circulate inside the fridge.
3) Not Enough Food in the Compartments
The opposite problem is that you may not have enough food in the fridge and freezer. Cold food and liquids retain cold and share cold with other items, much like they do in a picnic cooler. If your fridge or freezer is mostly empty, there's nothing to retain the cold and the cold air generated is only so effective. To solve this problem, fill a few gallon jugs or pitchers with water and put them in the fridge. This will give the cold a place to retain and maintain.
4) Dirty or Old Gasket Seal
Check your refrigerator gasket. Older fridges (and fridges last a long time, so this is many of them) will have old rubber gaskets that dry out, twist, or even tear over time. A grimy or dripped-on gasket can also fail to form a seal. If there's anything wrong with your seal, you may have a cold air leak. Start by wiping down the gasket seal and lining it with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. If it's damaged, you can fairly easily replace this piece.
5) Dusty Compressor Coils
If you're comfortable taking off the refrigerator under-plate or backplate, then check on the compressor coils. If you see some metal coils that are completely covered in dust, this is the problem. Compressor coils contain coolant Air is moved over the coolant to chill it. If they're covered in dust, they can't provide cold. Carefully clean them off with a towel and close the panel back up.
6) Component Problems
Finally, there's the possibility that there is a deeper problem. If none of the previous causes seem to be your problem, then it may be a malfunctioning component that will require a professional to fix. There's a chance that your temperature sensor is broken or not correctly set. Or that the defrost timer is broken, or the vent fan between the compartments. There might be something wrong with your compressor, you might have a coolant leak, or it might just be a loose wire somewhere along the way. But if you can't find the solution in the first five potential causes, then it's time to consult with a professional who is trained in appliance repair and electrical safety.