Have you been fighting with your refrigerator to keep it cold enough to prevent food contamination? Stop – before you go out and buy a new refrigerator, there are a few things to check to make sure that your fridge actually needs to be replaced.
Clean It Out
How much stuff do you have crammed into the freezer and fridge? If you have the freezer packed with food, the air may not be circulating inside enough to keep the fridge unit cool. Clear out all of the old food that you know you're never going to use. Eliminate anything that's become freezer burnt. Wipe down the inside of the unit entirely.
Give it a couple of hours to cool back down after you've cleaned it out and check the temperature. Is it lower than it was? If so, the problem was probably associated with the lack of air circulation – be more careful as you load the unit to allow for enough air to move around freely.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils used to be found on the back of nearly all refrigerators, but today, they are also located on the bottom of some units. No matter where the condenser coils are located, they need to be cleaned from time to time. The dirt, dust, and debris that finds its way onto the coil will coat it and prevent it from working the way that it should.
Start by vacuuming the coil to get all of the loose dirt off. If there's dirt remaining, get a bucket of hot water with some liquid dish soap mixed in. Use a scrub brush to scrub the coil and, then, let it dry. This will break down any grease that has caked the coils and is preventing them from functioning.
Plug the unit back in and let it cool off for a couple of hours – did this do the trick? If not, there's one more thing to check.
Check the Door Seals
When you close your fridge and freezer doors, they are supposed to trap all of the cold air inside the unit. If the seals along the doors are failing or damaged, they will allow the cool air to escape and the internal temperature will rise.
Get a dollar bill. Place the bill in the door and close it. Tug gently on the bill. If it comes out with ease, the seal needs to be replaced.
If all of the above hasn't helped to bring the refrigerator temperatures down, talk with your local appliance repair technician. He or she may have some other suggestions that'll help.