Side-by-side refrigerator not cold, but freezer works just fine

If you own a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer with the freezer part working just fine, but the refrigerator part is not cold enough, here are a few things to check in order to alleviate the problem.

First, be sure to check your refrigerator’s door to make sure it is closing properly. You can check the seal around the door, called a gasket, to make sure it’s not warped and does not have any cracks or tears. If it does, you might need to replace the gasket.

If you are not sure your gasket it causing the problem, an article from HowStuffWorks.com, offers this simple test: “Test the door gasket for leaks by placing a dollar bill between the gasket and the door jamb and closing the door. Pull the bill out. If it offers some resistance, chances are the gasket fits properly. If the bill comes right out, or falls out, the gasket is faulty and should be replaced.”

If your refrigerator’s door is sagging, tighten the hinges. If you need help on how to adjust your refrigerator’s door hinges, check out this article from TheFamilyHandyman.com on how to Straighten Sagging Refrigerator Doors. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the door hinges on your refrigerator.

In side-by-models, and in all refrigerators really, cold air is created in the freezer component of the appliance and circulated to the refrigerator part through an air baffle, which works similar to a damper. Lowering the temperature in your freezer closes the air baffle and keeps most of the cold air in the freezer part, which can raise the temperature in the refrigerator. You can adjust the control setting in your refrigerator, but be sure to wait 24 hours before you see the results your adjustments made (see: What temperature should it be inside my refrigerator and freezer?)

The temperature control setting you see when you open your refrigerator is really just a thermostat that detects the temperature of the air inside the refrigerator and regulates it by turning the compressor either on or off.

Check to make sure the condenser fan is running and is not blocked or stuck-up by dirt and dust build-up. The condenser fan is located next to the compressor in most models. View a photo of a refrigerator with the compressor and condenser fan located under the appliance. The Family Handyman website has an excellent article showing you how to clean a refrigerator condenser fan.

Check the vents in your refrigerator to see if they are partial blocked by frost build, food spills or by food items themselves. These vents supply the flow of frigid air your refrigerator needs. Wipe down the vents with a warm, damp, soapy sponge to clear away any blockages. Rearrange items in your fridge and freezer to make sure the vents are not being blocked.

Finally, check your refrigerator’s thermostat to see if it’s set and working properly. Test the thermostat with an ohm meter to make sure the part is not faulty or read more about testing your refrigerator’s thermostat by visiting this article: Why doesn’t my refrigerator cool enough?

Additional Reading:

Refrigerator Replacement Parts:

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3 responses to “Side-by-side refrigerator not cold, but freezer works just fine

  1. I found my freezer door open one night it must have been open for about 4 hours judging by the time I used it last and how long I had slept when I found this. Now my refridgerator is not staying cold and I fear everything is spoiled. Could the freezer door being open for that long cause my fridge temp to go down? And if so how long until it gets cold again. I can hear the fans running and the freezer is working fine all froze up again (I tested by making ice cubes). If it’s over 2 days and the fridge is still not cold do I need a new fridge?

  2. Also I turned up the control in the fridge and freezer to try and get it to get cold again quicker. I don’t have anything to put my food in and since it’s been warm for almost two days should I throw out all the food in the fridge?

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