Why Does My Fridge Have Temperature Problems?

Aug 01, 2023, 14:54pm

The refrigerator is an important element for the preservation of food. Its operation is simple.

  • To cool the food, the air circulates freely in the appliance: it is diffused into the enclosure of the refrigerator by an evaporator.
  • Cold air sinks, while hot air rises: this is why food must be stored in different areas of the fridge.
  • The more fragile foods, which must be kept longer, are placed at the bottom and the others higher.

It is important to know how to maintain it and to act quickly when there is a breakdown. One of the most common faults on this type of device is the temperature fault. There can then be two scenarios: the fridge generates too much cold or not enough cold.

  • If it is too cold, you will have to check the door seal, the thermostat, the Damper and the temperature sensor.
  • If there is not enough cold, check the thermostat, the safety klixon, the starting system, the evaporator, the fan, the resistance and the thermal safety.

A well-functioning refrigerator is crucial for food safety. If your fridge temperature is not stable, or if it’s too warm or too cold, this can impact the quality and safety of your stored food, and it may be a sign of underlying mechanical issues. Here, we delve into some common causes of fridge temperature problems and how they can be resolved.

Why Does My Fridge Have Temperature Problems?

1. Incorrect Thermostat Settings

Sometimes the solution is as simple as adjusting the temperature settings. The thermostat controls the temperature inside your fridge, and if it’s set too high or too low, it could cause problems. The ideal temperature for your fridge is usually between 35°F and 40°F (1.6°C and 4.4°C). Make sure to check your settings before considering more complex problems.

2. Faulty Thermostat

If your settings are correct, but the temperature isn’t, your fridge’s thermostat might be malfunctioning. The thermostat regulates the temperature by cycling the compressor on and off. If the thermostat is faulty, it might not signal the compressor correctly, leading to incorrect temperatures. If you suspect your thermostat is defective, you’ll likely need a professional to replace it.

3. Dirty Condenser Coils

Over time, the condenser coils at the back of your refrigerator can accumulate dust and grime. These coils remove heat from the fridge, and if they’re dirty, they can’t dissipate heat efficiently. This inefficiency can lead your fridge to overheat, causing it to run too long and cool too much. Cleaning your condenser coils regularly can help prevent this issue.

4. Faulty Condenser Fan Motor

The condenser fan motor draws air though the condenser coils and over the compressor. If the fan motor is defective, the refrigerator won’t cool properly. The fan motor should be running whenever the compressor is running. If the compressor is running and the fan motor is not, the fan motor might need to be replaced.

5. Door Seals Issues

The door seals, or gaskets, ensure the cold air stays inside the fridge when the door is closed. If the seals are damaged or dirty, the cold air will leak out, causing the fridge to work harder to maintain the temperature, which can lead to fluctuations. Inspect your door seals regularly for damage and clean them to ensure a tight seal.

6. Overfilled or Underfilled Fridge

An overfilled fridge can restrict the airflow, causing the fridge to work harder and possibly leading to uneven cooling. On the other hand, an underfilled fridge can also have trouble maintaining the right temperature because there isn’t enough content to absorb the cold air. Keeping your fridge reasonably stocked and ensuring proper airflow can help maintain the temperature.

7. Old or Malfunctioning Compressor

The compressor is the ‘heart’ of the refrigerator’s cooling system. If it’s old or malfunctioning, it may not be able to keep the fridge at the correct temperature. Compressor problems typically require professional repair or replacement.


Only refrigerators with No Frost technology turn on the freezer fan for every request for cold from the refrigerator compartment. The damper, also called the shutter, is then opened to let the cold in.

If the refrigeration section of your refrigerator is too cold, the damper may be left open all the time. You can check if it is blocked by frost on the bottom of the refrigerator.

Why Does My Fridge Have Temperature Problems?


The compressor is equipped with a thermal protection device, also called “klixon”.

  • Remove the black protective cover from the compressor, it usually slides up.
  • Remove the trigger with a flathead screwdriver.
  • With the multimeter set to continuity, connect the test leads to the Klixon terminals. If you have a value, then Klikson is working, otherwise it will have to be replaced.


You may have a device with a start capacitor that is located next to the compressor. Capacitor capacitance is expressed in microfarads, indicated on the label.

To measure a capacitor, you need a multimeter set to the capacitance function, which is expressed in farads. If you cannot find the specified value, this part will have to be changed.


If the compressor is working properly, check the evaporator (in 2 in the photo opposite). There are two models, static and ventilated.

  • Remove all food and all racks (shelves) from the aviary, then dismantle the bottom plate of the aviary, which is usually screwed on.
  • If there is ice, remove it by unplugging the appliance to defrost it, or using a hair dryer to defrost it faster.
  • Make sure there is no ice or frost. In this case, you need to unfreeze the device.

Remember, regular maintenance can help prevent many common fridge problems, including temperature fluctuations. It’s advisable to have your refrigerator serviced by a professional every few years to maintain optimal performance. However, if your fridge is very old and consistently has temperature problems, it might be time to consider a replacement.