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Refrigerator Not cooling? Here's Why

by Pam Silva

At a Glance:

Why is My Refrigerator Not Cooling?

How to Fix a Refrigerator Not Cooling

Can You Fix a Refrigerator by Yourself?

Top Refrigerator Brands


Why Trust Us?

There’s a common sinking feeling that most homeowners experience when they realize something is broken. If you open your refrigerator and notice that it’s suspiciously warm, then you understand this experience. While you can live without a dishwasher and even a clothes dryer for a few days, you can’t go more than a day without a refrigerator. Every hour that passes with a warming refrigerator threatens all of your produce, meat, and dairy.

There are a few common reasons for a refrigerator, not cooling, and options to fix it. Here is what you need to know if your veggies are getting less crisp by the minute.

Why is My Refrigerator Not Cooling?

There are many systems that work together to keep your refrigerator cool, which means it's not always easy to diagnose the problem. As you start your troubleshooting process, consider a few top common issues that lead to your refrigerator not cooling.

  • There are electrical issues with the outlet. Your electrical plug could be turning on and off if there is an issue, leaving your refrigerator without power.
  • The vents are blocked. If you have an overly-full freezer or refrigerator, you could have blocked vents that prevent the air from circulating. Check to see if there is a box of ice cream in the way.
  • The vacuum coil is clogged. Clogged coils are common and can reduce the effectiveness of your refrigerator.
  • Your condenser fan is blocked. You can unplug the refrigerator, pull out the fan, and make sure the blades aren’t blocked by anything.

If your refrigerator is running but not cooling, the problem might be human error. Check to make sure your family members are fully closing the refrigerator after they grab an item. A careless teen could have left the appliance open an inch before they left for school, warming the food and driving up your energy bill. 

How to Fix a Refrigerator Not Cooling

You don’t have to be an appliance repair specialist to take some exploratory steps when your refrigerator isn’t cooling. The first thing to do is to check that all basic systems are intact. Is the light turning on when you open the door? Is the refrigerator producing water and ice? These are all important indicators that the appliance is working, but some part of it is broken.

During your troubleshooting process, make sure your food isn’t blocking the vents or preventing the door from closing. Now might be a good time to throw out any items you aren’t going to eat. Also, check the freezer to see if there is a buildup of ice near the door. This could be blocking it from closing or triggering safety shut-off systems.

Finally, make sure the settings are where you left them. Oftentimes, the source of a refrigerator not cooling is that one family member turned up the temperature by mistake. If you complete all of these steps and still can’t find the source of the problem, you may want to hire an expert.

Can You Fix a Refrigerator by Yourself?

Most refrigerators are not complex appliances, and they don’t require special hookups to your home. This means you likely won’t need a professional electrician or plumber to fix the issue like you would with a washer or dryer. However, just because you could fix the refrigerator by yourself doesn’t mean you always want to do this.

Before you can even make the repair, you need to identify what is wrong with your appliance. If you don’t know what to look for, this could take a significant amount of time. You will then need a variety of tools to make the repair. If you don’t naturally have basic tools in your home, it will take longer to find suitable replacements.

An appliance specialist knows how to diagnose issues with a refrigerator not cooling. They can quickly figure out what is going on and take steps to make the repair. They also have countless tools and parts that can be used to fix your system. What might take you an afternoon, they can do in less than an hour. Weigh your options with fixing a refrigerator by yourself as it may be easier to call someone instead. 

Top Refrigerator Brands

If your refrigerator frequently experiences problems and needs to be repaired, it might be time to replace it entirely. This will give you peace of mind while tapping into the modern technology of today’s refrigerators. There are multiple top brands to consider across different price points.

Samsung Refrigerators

Samsung Refrigerator

Samsung is one of the first brands to consider if you want to invest in a new refrigerator. The product line is diverse, which means you can find refrigerators that meet your needs at a variety of prices. Samsung offers basic top freezer refrigerators at affordable prices. These are considered baseline refrigerators if you need to replace your appliance on a budget. However, there are also upgrade options if you want something more advanced.

Some Samsung refrigerators come with smart screens, which turn this appliance into a hub for your home. While you grab your morning orange juice, you can check the weather, leave notes for your kids, answer the door if you have a smart security system, and even choose music to listen to as you get ready. These smart doors also allow you to see inside the refrigerator before you open it, so you don’t have to let out the cool air as you develop your grocery list. 

Explore Samsung Refrigerators | Phoenix

Bosch Refrigerators

Bosch Refrigerator

Bosch is considered an upmarket appliance brand, which means you might pay more if you want one of these refrigerators. However, this company builds appliances to last and offers different customization options to choose from. Some of the appliances have extra drawers in between the French doors refrigerator section and the freezer. You can adjust the settings to use these drawers as you need, whether you are crisping extra produce or chilling wine ahead of a party. 

Most Bosch refrigerators are stainless steel or come with white options. The sleek nature makes them an asset to your kitchen and can impress your guests — even if they are only pulling out a water bottle before you head out on a road trip.

Explore Bosch Refrigerators | Phoenix

Monogram Refrigerators

Monogram Refrigerator

Monogram offers some of the most unique refrigerators on the market, which is ideal if you need a specialty appliance for your kitchen. You can find compact, under-the-counter refrigerators if you need a smaller appliance for your den, outdoor patio, or an RV refrigerator replacement. There are also panel-ready options, so you can cover your refrigerator with a cabinet face. Monogram also sells wine coolers and beverage centers if you exclusively want to store drinks in these appliances.

You can also find standard-size refrigeration systems through this brand. Choose whether you want a refrigerator and freezer of equal size or buy an appliance with a dominant refrigerator and a smaller freezer system. Monogram appliances can accommodate families of all sizes, from large households to single homeowners living in small condo units.

Explore Monogram Refrigerators | Phoenix

Dealing with refrigerator that isn’t cooling is not only a nuisance — it can also lead to higher energy costs and wasted food. If you have a fridge that isn’t working, it’s important to assess the problem to avoid costly repairs. At Spencer’s TV & Appliance, our experts are here to help you find a replacement for your outdated refrigerator if you’re ready to upgrade your food storage experience.  


When it comes to buying a new refrigerator, our buyers have a lot of questions. Here, we answer a few.

Why is my refrigerator running but not cooling?

One of the biggest issues with refrigerators is the evaporator coils. These can get covered in ice over time, which prevents them from working. These coils will need to be defrosted before they can start working again. You may need to turn off your refrigerator for a period of time and clean up any melted ice that leaks out.

How long do refrigerators last?  

The average refrigerator will run for 10 to 20 years, depending on the model and its upkeep. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old and is starting to show signs of wear, then it may be time to replace it. Upgrading your refrigerator can reduce your electricity use while giving you the peace of mind that it won’t break any time soon.

Why Trust Spencer’s TV & Appliance?

Since 1973, Spencer’s TV & Appliance has grown to 10 locations throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The secret to our longevity is simple: personal service. Customer satisfaction has always been the focus of our business, and throughout the years, we have been able to work hard with our suppliers to bring you the best prices. After all, getting customers the best price and personal attention is how we compete with big-box stores, day in and day out.

Not only do we offer top-rated appliances, name-brand electronics, and the best mattresses on the market but we also provide water treatment solutions and perform kitchen design services. Stop by your nearest Spencer’s and see what you’re missing!

Shop Refrigerators at Spencer’s

At Spencer’s TV & Appliance, we provide high-quality, name-brand products at great prices — check out our catalog to shop refrigerators online today. Your friends in the business are always happy to help you identify the source of your refrigerator not cooling. Call us, or better yet, stop by at one of our locations in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale regions. Visit us today!

Learn More: Common Refrigerator Problems