10 Reasons Your Whirlpool Refrigerator Is Not Cooling & How to Fix It

10 Reasons Your Whirlpool Refrigerator Is Not Cooling & How to Fix It

If you open your refrigerator and find sour milk or warm wine, it should be apparent that your fridge needs to be cooling better. The problem is more than just annoyance and odors; it’s a health issue. Listeria and other food borne pathogens, along with mold, can grow in refrigerators that are not cool enough. There is often no need to rush out and buy a new refrigerator.

While you may need to call in an appliance technician for some repairs eventually, other fixes are simple and require no special tools or knowledge. Below are ten straightforward reasons why your refrigerator is not cooling and what to do about them.

1. Temperature Control Is Improperly Set

A common cause of inadequate refrigerator cooling is incorrect temperature control settings. This issue can occur inadvertently, often when children or objects alter the settings. When the compressor is audibly operational, yet the refrigerator fails to cool, it typically signifies this problem.

Whether due to accidental adjustments or external pressure on the control dial, improper temperature settings hinder the appliance’s ability to maintain the desired coldness. To rectify this, reset the thermostat to the appropriate temperature setting for the freezer and refrigerator compartments, allowing ample time for temperature stabilization. Ensuring accurate environments is vital for optimal refrigerator performance.

How to Fix It

To resolve this, follow these steps:

  1. Change the thermostat down to the desired temperature setting.
  2. Check the freezer and the refrigerator controls, as they should have separate locations.
  3. Allow a whole day for the temperature to stabilize after making adjustments.

It’s essential to maintain the correct temperatures inside your fridge. According to the FDA, refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, while freezers should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. To ensure accuracy, consider using a separate appliance thermometer rather than relying solely on internal gauges.

2. Condenser Coils Are Dirty

The condenser coils at the back of your refrigerator play a crucial role in dissipating heat. The refrigerator’s cooling efficiency is compromised when these coils become dirty or covered in dust and debris. Regular maintenance of these coils can help your fridge perform optimally.

How to Fix It

Follow these steps to clean the condenser coils:

  1. Unlatch the anti-tip brackets located at the exterior bottom front of the cabinet.
  2. Carefully slide the refrigerator out from its position.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hand attachment to gently clean the coils.
  4. Be cautious not to bend or damage the waves during the cleaning process.

If you have pets, consider cleaning the coils more frequently than the recommended six-month interval to prevent excessive buildup.

3. Door Gaskets Are Not Clean

Over time, the flexible door seals or gaskets on your refrigerator can accumulate dirt, food residue, or fingerprints. When these contaminants build up, they prevent the doors from sealing correctly, causing warm air to enter and compromise cooling.

How to Fix It

To clean the door gaskets effectively:

  1. Wipe down the gaskets with a sponge and warm, soapy water.
  2. Also, clean the areas on the fridge where the gaskets make contact.
  3. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, brushes, scouring pads, flammable fluids, or window cleaning sprays.

Maintaining clean gaskets ensures a proper seal and keeps your fridge at the desired temperature.

4. Food Items Are Blocking the Air Vents

Cool air is supplied from vents in the freezer section in most refrigerators. Any obstruction inside the fridge, such as large food items or containers, can block the airflow from the freezer, leading to inadequate cooling.

How to Fix It

To address this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Examine your fridge for large boxes or bags that may have been inadvertently placed in front of the vents, hindering the airflow.
  2. Move these items aside or relocate them to a different shelf.
  3. Check for any ice buildup around the vents and remove it gently to restore proper airflow and temperature control.

Ensuring unobstructed airflow is essential for maintaining consistent cooling throughout your refrigerator.

5. Refrigerator Is Under stocked

The amount of food and beverages stored inside your refrigerator can impact its cooling efficiency. An under stocked fridge may need to help maintain low temperatures as it lacks the thermal mass necessary for efficient cooling.

How to Fix It

To optimize your refrigerator’s cooling performance:

  1. Keep your refrigerator about three-quarters full with food and beverages, allowing for proper air circulation.
  2. In case of a minimal food supply, place a couple of water pitchers in the empty corners to help maintain adequate thermal mass.
  3. Avoid overloading the fridge; items need sufficient air circulation for proper cooling.

A well-stocked fridge ensures consistent cooling and efficient operation.

6. Door Gaskets Are Faulty and Need Replacement

Door Gaskets Are Faulty and Need Replacement

If cleaning the door gaskets doesn’t resolve the sealing issue, it may be time to replace them. Over time, gaskets can become old and brittle, leading to ineffective sealing.

How to Fix It

Here’s how to replace faulty door gaskets:

  1. Look for universal or brand-specific door gaskets online, typically priced between $35 and $100.
  2. To make the new gasket more pliable, soak it in hot water for a few minutes before installation.
  3. Loosen and remove the old gasket, which may require removing screws.
  4. Install the new gasket according to the provided instructions.

Replacing faulty gaskets ensures a tight seal, allowing your refrigerator to maintain the desired temperature efficiently.

7. The Refrigerator Is Out Of Level

To function correctly, refrigerators should be close to level. An unlevel fridge can lead to issues such as doors not closing properly or the door switch not working correctly, ultimately affecting the appliance’s cooling capacity.

How to Fix It

To level your refrigerator properly:

  1. Use a bubble or laser level to check its horizontal alignment.
  2. Ensure that the fridge is perfectly level from side to side.
  3. Maintain a slight 1/4-inch tilt toward the back from front to back to enable proper door closure.

Proper leveling ensures your fridge operates as intended, maintaining the desired cooling temperatures.

8. Clearances Are Not Maintained

Your refrigerator requires adequate clearances, especially on the sides and at the back, to allow for proper air circulation and cooling.

How to Fix It

To maintain the necessary clearances:

  1. Refer to your refrigerator’s user manual for specific clearance requirements, which may vary by brand.
  2. Generally, ensure at least 3/8-inch approval on the sides and 1-inch at the back.
  3. After sliding the unit back into place, reset the anti-tip brackets at the refrigerator’s lower two front corners.

Proper clearances help your refrigerator cool efficiently and prevent overheating.

9. Location Is Affecting the Cooling Capacity

The placement of your refrigerator can significantly impact its cooling performance. Placing it in an environment that is too hot or cold, such as outdoors or in a garage, can affect its ability to maintain the desired temperatures. Additionally, nearby hot appliances like dishwashers, ranges, or ovens can interfere with cooling.

How to Fix It

To optimize your refrigerator’s location:

  1. Attach heat-insulating material to the wall of the refrigerator if it’s placed near a heat source like a stove.
  2. Use your kitchen fan while cooking to reduce the overall kitchen heat.
  3. Consider creating a customized box or enclosure around the refrigerator to separate it from adjacent hot appliances, especially in extreme temperature environments like garages.

Proper placement ensures that external factors do not compromise your refrigerator’s cooling capacity.

10. The Electric Supply Is Faulty

Sometimes, a simple issue like a loose or unplugged electrical plug can cause your refrigerator to stop cooling. If the interior light doesn’t come on, and the fridge isn’t cold, this may be the problem. Alternatively, if the refrigerator is problematic, but the light is out, it could indicate a burned-out bulb.

How to Fix It

To address electrical supply issues:

  1. Ensure that your refrigerator’s electrical plug is securely inserted into the outlet.
  2. Check the type of outlet used; refrigerators should not be plugged into GFCI outlets, as they may inadvertently shut off power.

A quick check of the electrical supply can resolve cooling issues caused by power interruptions.

When to Call Out the Pros

While these ten reasons cover many common cooling problems, some may require professional attention. If you experience any of the following, it’s advisable to consult an appliance technician:

  • The fan motor is not working
  • The compressor is not turning on or off
  • Compressor relay replacement
  • Thermostat malfunction
  • Evaporator fan issues

A professional technician can diagnose and address complex mechanical problems to restore your refrigerator’s cooling performance in such cases.


When your Whirlpool refrigerator is not cooling as it should, there are several potential reasons to consider before resorting to purchasing a new appliance. You can restore your refrigerator’s cooling efficiency and prolong its lifespan by troubleshooting and addressing these common issues.

Remember to maintain proper temperature settings, cleanliness, and clearances while periodically inspecting and maintaining essential components. If more complex problems arise, seeking the expertise of a qualified appliance technician is the best course of action to ensure your refrigerator continues to keep your food cold and safe.


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