Refrigerator Not Getting Cold Enough

Refrigerator Not Getting Cold Enough

Having a refrigerator that is not getting cold enough is both costly and unhealthy.  Food can spoil much faster than the expiration date and can make you sick.  Normally the problem is one that is easily fixed.


1. Defective Door Switch

The door switch is located along the internal frame of the refrigerator.  It turns the light on when the door is opened and off when the door is closed.  If the switch is not operating correctly, when the door is closed the refrigerator will not resume cooling and if the interior light stays on it will also affect the temperature because of heat from the interior light.

2. Condenser Coils Dirty

Condenser coils are located either under or in back of the refrigerator.  If you find that these coils are dirty, unplug the refrigerator before attempting to clean them.  If the coils are dirty they will not let the refrigerator cool properly.

3. Defective Door Gaskets

Refrigerator door gaskets keep the cold air in when the door is closed as long as they have a proper seal.  Gaskets can become loose or damaged therefore letting cold air leak from the refrigerator.  Constantly opening and closing the refrigerator door lets cold air out and warm air in.

4. Temperature Control Not Working Properly

If the temperature control thermostat is faulty the refrigerator will not maintain the correct coldness.  Check your refrigerator temperature to determine if it is set at the correct level.  A normal refrigerators setting is usually around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) for the freezer.

Refrigerator Temperature Control Thermostat

5. Frost-Free Feature Not Working

When the frost-free feature is not working it will cause a buildup of frost around the evaporative coils in the freezer.  This in turn causes the evaporator fan to malfunction and not be able to blow cold air around.  Should the fan hit the frost it could be damaged.

6. Air Flowing Inside The Refrigerator Is Inadequate

If you have your refrigerator stuffed with food and everything is crammed together then the air will not be able to flow freely inside the refrigerator. This will not allow a correct temperature of coolness to flow around your food items.  Not having enough food items in the refrigerator will also cause it to function inefficiently.

7. Clogged Vents Between Freezer and Refrigerator

Cold air flows through vents between the freezer and refrigerator.  If ice forms in the vents the air will be blocked from flowing into the refrigerator thus not letting the refrigerator cool down properly.  If this happens you can unplug the refrigerator and let the ice melt, then reconnect the refrigerator.

8. Leaking Refrigerant

This is not very common but if you suspect this is your problem it would be wise to call a qualified service technician.

More Refrigerator Repair Help

Refrigerator Repair Help

Repair techniques below with helpful hints
and repair advice for the most common part problems you might have
with your refrigerator.

Refrigerator Parts

Some of the general diagnostic tips and repair techniques presented below may apply
for many makes and models, of side by side refrigerators, as well as top or bottom freezer units. GE, Maytag, Whirlpool, Amana, Frigidaire refrigerators, as well as many other major brands.


The diagnostic help outlined below is intended to be used only by professional appliance repair technicians.

If you are attempting to repair your refrigerator yourself, be aware that you are working with potential dangerous electrical currents that can cause serious injury or death. Be aware that appliance parts have extremely sharp edges and moving parts that can cause serious injury or death.

Always remove the power source from the unit you are working on. Unplug it! When unplugging or removing the power source, double check to make sure that you removed the proper cord or turned off the proper breaker. When tightening parts make sure that if the tool you are working with or your hand slips, you will not be injured by sharp or jagged edges.

Keep children and pets away from the working area and disassembled refrigerator parts. Be aware that there are other hazards involved in appliance repair, besides those listed above that may cause serious injury or death. Always use extreme caution when removing or installing parts.

Troubleshooting suggestions for the do – it – yourselfer.

  • Refrigerator and freezer repair help.
  • Squealing noise coming from the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Thrashing or clattering sound.
  • Frost is building up in the back of the refrigerator or freezer section.
  • Noise appears to be coming from freezer

Refrigerator and freezer repair help

Be aware that the refrigerator repair tips and diagnostic information given below is general in nature and is not meant to be all inclusive nor necessarily apply to your Refrigerator unit.

Squealing noise

The refrigerator makes a high pitched squealing sound, or chirping sound. Possibly coming from the freezer compartment, but does not make this noise all of the time.

Possible cause and parts repair help solution:

You may need a new freezer fan motor. This problem is more common in some older model refrigerator units.

Thrashing or clattering sound

Noise appears to be coming from behind refrigerator, near the bottom.


Possible cause and repair parts solution:

The refrigerator condenser cooling fan motor blade, located at the back of the unit near the compressor, may be be striking a foreign object, such as a piece of paper, cardboard, or some other object.

Very easy refrigerator repairs, no parts needed.

Fan blade may be loose.

Fan motor shaft may be loose.

Motor mount screw may have come off.

This diagnostic repair information applies to most refrigerator units, including Whirlpool, Kenmore, GE, Amana, Maytag, KitchenAid and Frigidaire.

Frost building up in back of refrigerator or freezer section.

Refrigerator Defrost Thermostat

Possible cause and repair parts solution:

  • Defective part, defrost timer.
  • Defrost Heater(s) are inoperable.
  • Defrost thermostat limit is defective.
  • Freezer fan motor is not working.

Thrashing or clattering sound

Noise appears to be coming from the freezer section.

Freezer Fan Motor

Possible cause and repair parts help solution 

  • The refrigerator freezer fan motor blade may be loose.
  • The motor shaft may be worn out.
  • The blade may be striking a foreign object such as paper
    or cardboard.
  • The blade may be striking ice build up or a stray ice cube.


Most of the refrigerator parts that are mechanical, such as a defrost timer, light switch, freezer fan motor, condenser fan motor, compressor, defrost element, fan switch, fan blade, cold control, thermostat, defrost terminator, limit switch, ice maker and water valves can usually be obtained for most of the above mentioned repair parts, even for refrigerator units that are 25 to 35 years old. These parts are still readily available.


Admiral, Amana, Americana, Arctic Air, Bosch, Caloric, Crosley, Dacor, Danby, E-wave, Electrolux, Estate, Frigidaire, GE, Gaggenau, Gibson, Goldstar, Haier, Hardwick, Hotpoint, Inglis, JC Penney, Jenn Air, Kelvinator, Kenmore, KitchenAid, LG, Magic Chef, Maytag, Modern Maid, Montgomery Ward, Norge, RCA, Roper, Samsung, Scotsman, Sharp, Sub Zero, Tappan, Thermador, U-Line, Universal, Westinghouse, and Whirlpool.