The modern refrigerator uses a condenser to generate cold air which then cools an interior cavity where food is stored. At times refrigerators can fail to sufficiently cool food items, and as a result these items can spoil. A warm refrigerator can be a costly problem, and steps must be taken to repair the situation as quickly as possible. If your refrigerator is getting warmer, and failing to keep your stored items cold, follow a process of elimination to find the cause.
Locate and adjust your refrigerator's internal thermostat if it's too warm. The thermostat is located somewhere in the interior of the refrigerator, and takes the form of a knob, slide or digital keypad, depending on the model you have. The temperature of your fridge is generally measured by one of three systems: a number scale, an actual temperature scale or a set of red and blue icons. Adjust the internal thermostat toward the higher numbers, or toward a lower actual temperature or toward the blue-colored icon, to lower the temperature of your fridge. The lower numbers, red icon and higher actual temperatures all indicate a warmer setting.
Unplug your refrigerator and leave it unplugged for a period of 30 seconds. Plug your refrigerator back in and allow it to reset -- and then test the fridge to see if it's running properly. If your refrigerator is brand new, it can take up to 24 hours to reach its prime temperature.
Check that all refrigerator doors and drawers are completely closed. If the doors or drawers are left open, cold air may leak out and affect the temperature of your refrigerator. Oversize food items can block doors and drawers, or block the cold air vents at the rear of the fridge, causing the temperature to rise. Arrange large items so they don't interfere with the operation of your fridge. Other possible causes of door-seal failure include faulty gaskets, and an unbalanced machine.
Ensure sufficient air is getting to the back and sides of your fridge, so that hot air can disperse. A minimum of 1 inch on all sides and the rear is required for most models. If the refrigerator is kept in a space that routinely reaches temperatures over 110 degrees F, it may not be able to produce enough cold air to maintain the proper temperature.
Inspect the light inside your fridge to ensure it turns off when the door is closed. Although it's small, the bulb can create enough heat to affect the inside temperature of the fridge. Check the rear of the freezer compartment for frost or ice formations which may block the flow of cold air into the refrigerator compartment.
Try not to overstock your refrigerator. Placing a large amount of items in the fridge at one time can cause the overall temperature to drop as the machine struggles to cool everything at once.