What To Do When Your Refrigerator Won’t Cool


You’re parched and hot and need a cool refreshing drink. However, the beer you pull out of the fridge isn’t cold enough and that’s a reason for alarm. You can search for “refrigerator repair near me” and hire pros to fix your refrigerator. However, it’s essential to diagnose the problem so that you can save money in case of minor repairs that can be DIYed. Let’s check out what to do when your refrigerator won’t cool.

The Details

  1. Save the food – When your refrigerator isn’t cooling well, you need to save the food and beverages inside it as soon as possible. Go to a local convenience store and buy large bags of ice. Fill up a cooler with that ice and transfer meat, dairy, and a few other perishable ingredients in it. Make sure to seal them in plastic bags so that they don’t soak up all the moisture from the ice. You can also keep a few bags of ice inside the fridge.

Ideally, you’ll want to buy dry ice since it is much better at cooling, doesn’t make things wet, and evaporates directly into vapor. After you’ve saved your perishables, take out the leftovers, heat them up and start consuming as much as you can along with your family. If the fridge doesn’t get fixed within a couple of hours, you may need to throw out the rest of the leftovers. On the other hand, veggies, eggs, and condiments can stay at room temperature for a few hours without going bad.

  1. Check if the fridge is getting power – After you’ve saved the food, it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Start by checking if your refrigerator is getting power. Refrigerators are designed to turn on and off automatically depending on the internal temperature and a few other factors. So, you need to check the lights inside the refrigerator or the wall outlet to make sure that the refrigerator is getting power.

Open up the refrigerator and if the lights turn on, it is drawing power from the wall. If the lights don’t turn on, make sure that the power cord is plugged in. If the cord is plugged in and there’s still no power, you need to check your home’s electrical panel for a blown-out fuse or a flipped breaker. If everything checks out, then it’s not due to a power issue.

  1. Check the thermostat – New refrigerators come factory set at mid-range temperature, around the 35-degree mark. That’s the optimal temperature range to keep perishable food fresh without spiking up your power bill. However, sometimes if you push food or dishes into a packed fridge, you may accidentally bump the thermostat dial.

Check the thermostat dial. If it turns up to higher temperatures, the thermostat is not going to send a signal to the compressor to cool the fridge. Turn down the dial to a suitable mid-range temperature. If you have a modern refrigerator with an external digital thermostat with touch controls, there’s a high chance that your kid or pet may have accidentally changed the temperature setting. Change it back and activate the child lock on the external thermostat.

  1. Test the door seal – Your refrigerator is like a giant cooler. While the compressor, evaporator, and sensors do the heavy lifting of providing cool air, the process is kept efficient by an insulating and sealing design. The refrigerator doors are thick with specialized materials to keep the internal chamber isolated from the outside and minimize heat exchange as much as possible. The same holds true for the door gaskets.

The door gasket is a seal that wraps along the door edge of the fridge and helps to make a tight seal. It prevents cold air from escaping out and hot air from entering the refrigerator. If the door gasket is loose, most of the cold air is going to escape and the refrigerator won’t be able to keep things cool. Moreover, this also keeps the compressor running. Use the dollar bill test to check the door seal. Get a dollar bill halfway over the seal and close the door. If the dollar bill comes out with minimal force, then you need to replace the door gasket.

  1. Clean the condenser coils – Your fridge has condenser coils at the back. This coil is full of refrigerant. The job of these coils is to move around the refrigerant liquid to release heat quickly and cool it down. If the refrigerant isn’t able to cool down, it’s not going to be able to create cold air for the refrigerator. Unfortunately, dirty condenser coils are not great at releasing heat. If your condenser coils are dirty, buy a coil cleaning brush from the convenience store and free up all the trapped dirt and dust while vacuuming it up at the same time.
  1. Blocked air vents – Your refrigerator has air vents to circulate the cold air inside different compartments in the fridge. If those vents get blocked, air won’t be able to circulate properly. When that happens, some items would be icy cold while others would be warm or barely cold at best. That’s why you need to make sure that the air vents inside your refrigerator aren’t blocked.

Don’t overstuff your fridge since it increases the risk of blocked vents and inefficient cooling. If you’ve checked that the vents aren’t blocked and all the above conditions don’t point out a problem, then it probably has something to do with the internal components of the fridge. In that case, it’s best to call a professional.


Your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home. It allows you to keep your food fresh and store all sorts of perishable ingredients to make all kinds of food. When your refrigerator stops cooling, make sure to transfer the food to a safe place and try to find out the root of the problem. After that, you can search for “refrigerator repair near me” and hire pros to fix it for you.