Why Won’t My Refrigerator Cool Shortly After Being Unplugged?


If your refrigerator was working well before you unplugged it and is now not working after you plugged it back in, you should not be immediately concerned that the fridge is damaged. It comprises various components, some of which are more sensitive than others and can be triggered when you unplug and plug it back in immediately. Here’s why your fridge may not cool after being unplugged shortly.

The pressure in the compressor builds up when you unplug your refrigerator preventing it from restarting. There is the danger of damaging your compressor if you do this regularly, which would compromise your fridge as the compressor is at the heart of the refrigeration cycle and is critical.

Therefore, when you unplug it, it’s preferable to leave it unplugged for at least 15-20 minutes before plugging it back in. Be careful not to leave it unplugged for too long as it causes the temperature inside to rise hence retaining the moisture inside the fridge.  Bacteria and germs may then form on your food and if your fridge door is closed, the bacteria reproduce quickly and become extremely harmful, potentially resulting in a faulty door.

What Precautions Should You Take When You Unplug Your Refrigerator?

 When leaving for vacation, you may be considering unplugging all your electrical appliances, especially if you will be away for more than a month. All your other household appliances may be simple to disconnect because they do not do any harm, but you must take extra precautions before unplugging your refrigerator.

Remove All Your Food

If you’re considering unplugging your refrigerator, the first step is to remove all the food inside it and turn off the circuit breaker. Food is perishable, and without the cooling effect, it is bound to go bad, which would not only lead to the spreading of bacteria and germs but also foul odor.

Turn Off The Ice Maker And Temperature Control

If your refrigerator includes an ice maker, turn it off and place it in the cleaning position so that it can be cleaned as well. After that, turn off the water supply and the temperature control on your refrigerator. If you don’t know how to do this, you can always consult the fridge manual.

Clean It Properly

Clean your refrigerator thoroughly before unplugging it because there may be food particles on some components that could attract pests, such as cockroaches. Take out all of the components and wash them individually. You could use vinegar with baking soda to wash out all the stains, kill any existing bacteria and get rid of any odors.

Keep Your Fridge Dry

Make sure your fridge is clean and dry since bacteria love moist and humid environments. Leaving your fridge moist would encourage quick reproduction of the microorganisms, which would lead to food contamination. Ensure you dry your fridge after cleaning it.

Keep The Door Open

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can feel free to leave the doors open to allow airflow and avoid odors and mold growth. Since there’s no food in the fridge, there’s nothing to worry about.

What Would Make a Refrigerator Not Cool?

If your fridge doesn’t cool, the following are some of the components you should check and how to get your fridge working again.

Condenser Coils Are Dusty

The refrigerant in your fridge is cooled and condensed by coils situated beneath or behind the refrigerator. When there is too much dust or debris on these coils, the heat cannot be discharged efficiently, and it ends up in your refrigerator. Try removing the dirt with a special refrigerator coil brush or a handheld vacuum and see whether this fixes the problem.

The Condenser Fan is Broken

The condenser fan is usually inside a cabinet near the compressor and condenser coils at the bottom of the fridge. Refrigerator models that have coils at the back rather than the bottom do not have a fan.

The fan serves to keep the compressor and condenser coils cool. If it fails, the fridge will start to heat up. Check for debris and dust on the fan blades and wipe them clean with a towel. 

The dirt prevents the blades from spinning correctly. If they still don’t rotate after wiping them, you may need to replace the fan’s motor.

The Evaporator Fan Is Broken

In a panel behind is another set of coils, known as the evaporator coils. These coils are cooled by the refrigerant, which passes through them and converts to gas.

The evaporator fan serves to draw the cool air from the coils and circulate it throughout the appliance, first via the freezer, then through the refrigerator. If the evaporator fan motor is broken, then the unit won’t cool as expected.

Sometimes your freezer will work properly since it’s close to the coils, but your refrigerator won’t cool because the cold air is not getting transported there. If the evaporator fan is the source of the problem, you may have to replace it. 

Evaporator Coils Are Covered In Frost

The evaporator fan, as previously stated, takes cool air from the evaporator coils and circulates it throughout the unit, including the freezer. However, if the fan fails, the coils may freeze. Remove the back panel of your freezer to check for frosted coils. 

If this is the case, remove the contents of the freezer and refrigerator, unplug the device, and allow the coils to defrost for a day or two. You may need to engage a professional if the fan has been working okay, but the coils have iced over for an unknown reason. It could be caused by a defective defrost temperature controller or a faulty defrost heater.

The Air Inlet Damper Is Broken

Between the freezer and the refrigerator is the air inlet damper, which regulates the quantity of cold air that is pushed from the freezer to the refrigerator. The cold air will not circulate properly if the damper is blocked or breaks. 

Examine the damper to see if it is correctly opening and shutting. If it isn’t, you may have to replace it.

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