Is Your Refrigerator Not Cooling? Here are 5 DIY Troubleshooting Tips

Believe it or not, we take a peek in our refrigerators about 14 times each day.

Since we use our fridge so often, it can be concerning when it starts acting up. If the temperature in the fridge goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the risk of severe bacterial infestations increases.

Every year, a whopping 250 lbs of our food either spoils in the fridge or gets tossed in the garbage following meals. But if your refrigerator won’t cool properly, you might end up wasting a lot more food than that.

Are you worried about your refrigerator not cooling the way it should? Read on to find out what steps you can take to pinpoint and resolve the issue on your own.

1. Double-Check the Basics

Before doing anything else, you obviously want to figure out if your fridge is still plugged in. But you also need to check if you have your thermostat switched to the right setting. With people coming and going, it’s not hard for someone to nudge the thermostat or cord.

Next up, find out if the door shuts completely. Make sure the gaskets don’t have any noticeable holes, as they may allow hot air to flow through.

Finally, see if there are any food items obstructing the vents. These can prevent frigid air from moving around in the fridge.

2. Clean the Condenser Coils

Typically, you’ll find the condenser coils either on the back of the fridge or the bottom. Dirty coils can lead to a fridge not cooling.

To clean them, begin by unplugging your appliance. Move your fridge to gain access to the coils, and gently vacuum away any gunk you see on them. Alternatively, you can also use a brush or a duster if you find it easier.

Once you’re done, plug it back in. Wait a few hours to see if there’s an improvement in the temperature of the fridge.

3. Don’t Forget About the Condenser Fan

If your fridge has condenser coils near the bottom, not the back, it should also have a condenser fan. The purpose of this part is to prevent the condenser coils from overheating.

You’ll find the condenser fan right next to the condenser coils. See if it spins, and clean off any dust and dirt.

However, if everything is clean and the fan still doesn’t work, or if it makes too much noise, you’ll most likely need to replace the fan motor. For a DIY fix, consider shopping online for appliance parts.

4. Take a Look at the Evaporator Fan

Does your freezer still work?

If you answered “yes” to the question above, you may be dealing with an evaporator fan issue. Therefore, it’s probably not time to replace your appliance yet.

To access the evaporator fan, you have to remove the cover, which should be in the back of your freezer.

Like with the condenser fan, listen for excess noise. This may indicate a failing fan motor.

5. Test the Damper

In order for frigid air to travel to the fridge from the freezer, the air damper must be able to open. If it gets stuck, your refrigerator won’t cool as well as it should.

When you want to test the damper, normally located near the top left of the fridge, hold your hand next to the vent. If there’s nothing wrong with your evaporator fan, a lack of airflow signals a closed damper. Since the damper should open on its own, you’ll need to replace it.

Final Thoughts on Refrigerator Not Cooling

In a worst-case scenario, you may end up trying all of the troubleshooting steps above to no avail. If the issue persists, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs on your own, consider calling in the professionals.

Keep in mind that the issue of your refrigerator not cooling is one that you should address immediately. Otherwise, you put you and your family at risk of severe foodborne illness.

Are there other things around your house that could use some fixing up? If so, feel free to check out more of our home repair tips today!