Refrigerator Cooling Problems

When a refrigerator is working properly, it keeps foods fresh and prevents spoilage. If it's not cooling down, however, then your food can quickly go bad. Troubleshoot cooling issues to avoid paying service fees and to eliminate service wait times. You can often repair these problems without outside assistance. If a major component on your refrigerator has broken, contact a service technician for repairs.

Repair cooling issues to preserve the food in your fridge.

Not Turning On

If your refrigerator doesn't have any power, check that the power cord is plugged into an outlet. Allow the refrigerator up to four hours to cool down after you plug it in. Turn the refrigerator on and move the control knob to the cool setting as opposed to the zero setting. If the refrigerator still won't turn on, check your home fuses and circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker is tripped, reset it. Change out any blown fuses. If these don't resolve the problem, open up the refrigerator housing and examine the wiring and compressor. Replace any broken wires and change out the compressor if it's dead.

Not Cooling Properly

If the refrigerator is running but it's just not cool enough, try lowering the temperature setting. If it's already on the lowest setting, examine the evaporator and condenser coils. The evaporator coils are located inside the interior panel of the freezer, and the condenser coils are located inside the refrigerator housing. Clean both of these units. Test the self-defrosting system. Turn off the refrigerator for up to 48 hours then turn it back on. If the refrigerator works fine after this, you have an issue with the defrost system. Contact a service technician for repairs.

Refrigerator Warm

Your refrigerator may run normally, but your refrigerator may still be warm. You must keep the doors closed to keep cold air from escaping. If the doors are not closing properly, check the door gaskets and clean them if dirty. If the door gaskets are torn or brittle, replace them. Verify that the refrigerator is level. If not, examine the floor beneath the refrigerator and stabilize it before replacing the refrigerator. Your refrigerator will be warm after you add a lot of food to it. If your refrigerator is still not getting cool, check the compressor.

Other Issues

Your refrigerator normally makes noise when it's operating. If it shakes a lot, level it. If you hear a rattling beneath the refrigerator, examine the drain pan and secure with duct tape if it is shaking. If your icemaker is not dispensing ice, check that it's connected to the water supply and remove any objects blocking the ejector arm. Clean your refrigerator if it has an odor or if the ice has a strange taste. Your refrigerator normally cycles on and off. Moisture typically forms on both the inside and outside of the refrigerator when the ambient temperature is very warm.

Misty Faucheux

Misty Faucheux became a freelance writer in 1998 and has been an editor since 2004. She has written for a variety of websites and blogs, specializing in topics ranging from digital photography to computer systems to digital media. Faucheux received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Loyola University New Orleans.