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How Long Does It Take for A Refrigerator to Get Cold? (And How to Get it Cold FASTER!)

If you’ve ever been done cleaning out your refrigerator or you’ve recently purchased a brand new one from the store, I only end up waiting for your refrigerator to get cold.

But what happens if your refrigerator isn’t getting cold or are you just being impatient?

You’ll likely wonder how long it takes for a refrigerator to start getting cold.

The truth is, there are a lot of factors that come into play.

In this article, we’ll discuss the problems and issues that may arise.

How long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold?

So, you’ve got a fridge that’s not cooling or maybe it’s just not cooling as much as it used to. You’d like to fix the problem, but you’re not sure where to start.

First of all, it’s important to note that the average time it takes for any fridge to cool down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit is about 12 hours.

However, the general amount of time it takes for any refrigerator to cool can range anywhere between 2 and 24 hours depending on many factors like the model, size, environment, and the contents in that refrigerator.

The range is so wide because every model is different and every environment will affect how long it takes for your fridge to cool down.

What are the average cooling times for different-sized refrigerators?

A fridge is not going to be fully cold as soon as you plug it in, we all know that. The average cooling temp of any fridge is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit and you can adjust the temps if you want it colder or warmer.

There are different times that it takes for different sized fridges to reach their ideal temperature.

Small-sized refrigerators

Small-sized fridges take about 2 to 12 hours to cool down totally.

These types of refrigerators are usually roughly between 2 and 5 cubic feet. On average, we’re talking about 4 cubic feet.

If you are talking about a mini fridge or a dorm-sized fridge, these are often totally cooled in less than five hours because they are so small.

You want to leave the door shut for as long as possible and do not open it unless absolutely necessary.

Medium-sized refrigerators

A medium-sized or average-sized fridge is going to take about 12 hours to fully cool.

A medium size refrigerator is roughly between 20 to 25 cubic feet.

Again, you want to leave the fridge closed for as long as possible and do not open the door unless you absolutely have to. By opening the door you are going to be letting out the cold air which can then lead to a fridge that does not cool down totally.

Large-sized refrigerators

For a large fridge, you are looking at anywhere from 2 to 24 hours to fully cool.

These types of refrigerators are as big as 25 cubic feet or more.

The larger the fridge, the longer it is going to take. There are no real standard answers to how long it takes any specifically sized fridge to cool down every single time because there are so many other factors that go into the cooling process.

What are some tips to get a refrigerator cold faster?

Before you get too stressed out about this seemingly long time frame, there are some things you can do. If you want to know how to get a refrigerator cold faster, we’ve got some tips for you!

  • Move your fridge away from the wall so that cold air can circulate more freely around it. It needs space to vent out the hot air. If you block the space, it will have a hard time getting rid of the hot air.
  • Make sure your room temperature is cool enough (between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit) so that your appliance doesn’t have to work too hard at keeping itself cold.
  • If you want to make get it cold faster, buy some ice and put it in the fridge or freezer. If possible, put some already cold ice packs in there as well.
  • Don’t open the doors of the fridge while it’s cooling. Opening the door allows cold air to escape the refrigerator.
  • Make sure your compressor and your coils are clean and dust free. Grab a damp towel and wipe it down. These components are located on the back of your refrigerator and they often get really dusty over time.

How to tell if your refrigerator is cold enough?

The FDA recommends that you should keep your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

This is pretty easy because most refrigerators on average range between 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This is well below the recommended temperature which is good.

If you need to find out what your refrigerator temperature is, you can simply use a thermometer and place it inside your refrigerator.

Another way you can check is to feel your food left in there. If it is cold to the touch, and it’s most likely at the right temperature.

Also, if you have an ice maker located inside your refrigerator, you can also check to see if it is producing ice. If it’s producing solid blocks of ice, and it also feels cold inside, then chances are your refrigerator is cold enough.

How to check the temperature of a refrigerator

The easiest and most accurate thing to do is to go ahead and place a thermometer into your refrigerator. Keep it in there for no less than 20 minutes.

When you’re done, just make sure you take it out and read it.

Some Modern refrigerators will also have the thermometer built inside the chamber somewhere on the back wall.

What factors affect the temperature of a refrigerator?

The refrigerator’s size

The first factor we have already discussed. The larger the fridge, the longer it is going to take to cool down. The reason is that it is going to have a larger space to bring it down to the desired temperature.

The refrigerator’s brand

Another possible factor is the brand of the fridge. Some brands have special extras or special components that help them cool down faster, like a cold boost in some Frigidaire models.

Some more expensive models are going to be able to cool down faster than other models as well.

The contents of a refrigerator

The things that you have in the fridge are also going to make a difference.

A great way to think of it is to imagine what you might keep in the fridge. Say you have a new fridge and you are putting your things back in.

You have small items like butter and milk, and then you have a large container of leftovers that are still warm.

It is going to take longer for a full fridge to cool down than an empty one because it also has to take into account the contents and get them down to a temperature that is not going to raise the temperature of the inside of the fridge anymore.

The temperature of the room around the refrigerator

Another factor is the temperature of the room where the fridge is kept. A hot room is going to put more stress on the fridge and is going to make it take longer to cool down than a room that is also very cool.

How often the refrigerator door is being opened and closed

As we have already mentioned, opening and shutting the door repeatedly is also a huge factor in how quickly it cools down.

If you are trying to cool a fridge that gets opened every ten minutes, the cold air is going to get let out and it is going to take much longer for the fridge to cool down as a whole.

The age of the refrigerator

Older refrigerators are also going to take longer to cool down. With newer fridges, you have newer technology. That means that it is likely to cool down faster and it is going to be more efficient at cooling than older models might be overall.

Cleanest of your refrigerator including the coils

If you are having trouble or you are worried that your fridge is not cooling down fast enough, you might want to clean the fridge a bit as well.

A fridge with dirty coils is not going to be as efficient at cooling as a clean fridge is and cleaning your coils may be all you need to do to help boost the cold.

The types of things inside the refrigerator

The items that you have in your fridge may also make a difference. Very large items take longer to cool down and are also more likely to affect the ambient temperature of the fridge than small items.

The power draw of your refrigerator

Your fridge may also draw more power which will help it cool down faster as well.

Where your refrigerator is placed in the room

The location of the fridge can also make a difference. You want it on an interior wall so that it is away from the windows and doors as that can raise the temperature of the fridge as well.

The quality insulation of your refrigerator

The last factor you might need to consider is the quality of the insulation on the fridge. A well-insulated fridge is going to be able to hold the cool longer and keep out the heat.

What should you do if your refrigerator isn’t cooling properly?

If your refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

If the thermostat is set correctly, the refrigerator should be able to cool according to the temperature set on the thermostat. Check that it is set correctly before continuing with your troubleshooting process.

Check the refrigerator’s power source. If it’s plugged into a different outlet and still not working, check if there is another appliance plugged into that outlet that might be causing interference with your refrigerator’s power supply.

Check for any damage or fraying in your power cord as well. If you find any damage or fraying, replace it immediately to ensure the proper functioning of your refrigerator.

Check the refrigerator’s coils. The coils in the refrigerator should be cold to the touch if they’re working correctly. If they’re not cold, then they may need to be cleaned or replaced in order for your fridge to function properly again.

Check the freezer. The freezer should be cold to the touch if it’s working correctly. However, if it isn’t cold enough, then there could be an issue with either its insulation or freon levels. In the case of low freon, you may need to find an AC repair specialist to repair and refill freon for you.

Some refrigerators may even have a blown fuse from a stormy night that killed the power in your house. If you suspect that your refrigerator’s motherboard has a blown fuse, then it’s likely that you may have to find a way to repair it. If you understand how you can do the repairs yourself, this is going to require getting to the motherboard and soldering in a new fuse.

What are some other maintenance tips for refrigerators to keep them cooling well?

When you’re trying to keep your kitchen cool and fresh, it can be hard to remember the maintenance your refrigerator needs.

Here are some tips for keeping your fridge in tip-top shape:

  • Cleaning the coils on a regular basis improves cooling efficiency by allowing air to flow through more easily.
  • Check for gaskets that may need to be replaced regularly. A fridge with a bad seal can lose a lot of energy and power.
  • Check the door seals for leaks and replace them if necessary. Leaks will cause your fridge to run less efficiently and use more energy than necessary.
  • Clean the inside of your refrigerator regularly by wiping down shelves and drawers with water or vinegar. This will help prevent mold from forming inside, which can make food spoil faster and smell worse than normal when it does get moldy!
  • Keep your refrigerator in a place with good circulation. Try to avoid cramming your refrigerator up against the wall. Give it a little bit of space so that it can vent. The outside of your refrigerator produces heat. If there is nowhere for the heat to go, it will likely warm up your refrigerator.
  • You’ll also want to make sure there’s enough space around it for airflow—no matter what kind of fridge you have (an upright one or one built into cabinetry), this is key for energy efficiency.
  • Also, make sure your fridge is kept in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight, windows, or doors that could let heat in from outside sources!

How long does it take a refrigerator to get cold after a power outage?

The good news is that refrigerators will return to a safe food handling temperature in an average of 8 hours.

That’s obviously great news and means that your food is likely still safe to eat as long as you don’t keep the refrigerator door open while it’s cooling back.

However, there are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with power outages and food safety.

Eggs, meats, milk, and leftovers (pre-prepared meals) should be discarded after a power outage because they can’t be safely held at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Refrigerators will stay in the safe zone for 4 hours after a power outage before they start losing cool air and go under the standard refrigerant temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After 4 hours, the refrigerator will start to lose cool air even more quickly.

You should not attempt to open your refrigerator doors while there’s no power in them. Try to conserve as much of the cool temperature inside as possible for as long as possible until you are able to get your refrigerator back up and running.

Should you wait for a new refrigerator to get cold before putting food in it?

The answer is yes. Here’s why.

When you first bring your new fridge home, it will take some time to reach its full functionality.

Most fridges will reach their full functionality after 12 hours, but there can be a range of cooling times depending on the brand, type, size of the fridge, and a few other factors.

Chances are if you have food that needs to be cold and you just bought a new refrigerator, there’s no point in leaving it out.

Put the food in your refrigerator and let your food continue to cool. It may cause your refrigerator to take longer to get to that certain 40° temperature, but there is no reason why you would not put it in.

Any brand new or fully functional refrigerator should be able to accommodate the extra contents inside of it and still be capable of cooling properly. However, it may take a little while longer for it to cool to the right temperature.

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