How long does a fridge take to get cold after being off?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long does a fridge take to get cold after being off?”, discuss how cold does your fridge need to be, and what makes your fridge not get sufficiently cold.

How long does a fridge take to get cold after being off?

It takes 3-24 hours for a fridge to get cold after being off usually, but this time may have more variation because of the size, brand, and weight of the fridge. The small and powerful fridges require only a few hours to reach adequate cold temperatures. It also depends on the food items stored in the fridge that how long it will take to get cold. 

The mechanism by which fridge gets cold

The mechanism by which a fridge gets cold starts with the absorption of heat from the chiller cabinets with the cooling fluid. This fluid is then pumped outside the cabinets where the heat is then released. As the heat is to be removed from the insulation, metal, and plastic inside the fridge, so it will take some more time.

The cooling occurs in the freezing box first, this is why the temperature here is the coldest, followed by the cooling in the refrigerator where the temperature is less cold than that of the freezing box.

How cold does your fridge need to be?

Your fridge should be cold enough to inhibit bacterial growth but at the same time maintain the freshness of stored food to avoid any chance of food spoilage that may lead to food poisoning. If the temperature of the fridge is not monitored, there are chances of food poisoning by E.coli or Salmonella by the consumption of food stored at improper temperature.

According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the temperature of your refrigerator should range from 1-3℃. The reason behind this range is the fact that food starts to freeze at 0℃ while the growth of bacteria increases at 4℃. So, a refrigeration temperature of more than 3℃ will encourage bacterial growth, as a result, the stored food will be spoiled immediately and the consumption of such food can be a reason for food poisoning.

The temperature of the freezing compartment should be equal to or less than -18℃. This much low temperature will help inactivate the bacteria temporarily, letting you store your food for an extended period.

What makes your fridge not get sufficiently cold?

It is very important to monitor the temperature of food, but certain issues do not let the fridge get sufficiently cold. A few such important issues are:

Condenser coils

The condenser coils are meant to dissipate heat when the cooling fluid passes through them. If the condenser coils are clogged or dirty, they will not be able to perform their function (dissipate heat) effectively. Resultantly, the refrigerator will not work efficiently and it will not get sufficiently cold.

Fault in door seals

Around the edge of your refrigerator, there is a gasket. This gasket is meant to keep the warm temperature outside the fridge while keeping the cold temperature inside the fridge. In case of any leak/ leaks in the gasket, the cold temperature will get a chance to leave the fridge. Thus, the cooling efficiency of the fridge will be reduced and the inside temperature of the fridge will remain slightly higher along with more consumption of electricity.

Condenser fan motor

The condenser fan motor is meant to draw in air through the condenser coils and over the fridge compressor. If the condenser fan motor is not functioning well, your fridge will not get cold effectively.

Poor air circulation 

If you have placed your food inside the fridge in such a way that there are no vents left for proper air circulation, then there will be no appropriate circulation of the cold air. The improper air circulation will cause your stored food to spoil earlier. So, it is very important to keep the food in an arranged way such that the vents are not covered so that the cold air circulates properly.

Evaporator fan motor

The evaporator fan motor is located in the freezing compartment of your fridge and it is meant for the circulation of air from the freezing compartment to the refrigerating compartment. When there is a fault in the evaporator fan motor, then the freezing compartment will be having the right temperature but the temperature of refrigerating compartment will not be okay due to no circulation of cold air.

Other FAQs about Fridges  that you may be interested in.

How long can you keep fast food in the fridge?

How to Prevent Ice Buildup in Mini-Fridge

How hot should a fridge compressor get?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does a fridge take to get cold after being off?”, discussed how cold does your fridge need to be, and what makes your fridge not get sufficiently cold.