How Long Does It Take a Fridge to Get Cold? Essential Things to Know
how long does it take a fridge to get cold

If you’re installing a new refrigerator, you might be wondering: how long does it take a fridge to get cold? When you purchase a new fridge, you’ll always want to transfer food into it immediately, but the vast majority of refrigerators take time to cool down.

On average, refrigerators can take up to twelve hours to attain food-safe temperatures. But the time for cooling varies based on the refrigerator type and brand. If you have a large fridge, it may take up to twenty-four hours to attain chilling temperatures

Small-sized refrigerators, also known as mini-fridges, can attain food-safe temperatures in four hours. The average cooling time of the fridge depends significantly on the brand and model of the refrigerator. The time for cooling also relies heavily on the fridge’s compressor. The time for cooling remains the same whether you have a new fridge or there is a power cut.

How Long Does It Take a Fridge to Get Cold?

Woman Standing near Open Fridge at Home

A vast majority of modern-day fridges can take around twenty-four hours to cool down. Your fridge must reach its optimal cooling temperature before you can store perishable items inside it. The time for cooling applies to the refrigerator and the freezer section.

As a general rule, you should assume that the fridge will take twenty-four hours for optimal cooling. But you should be aware of a few variations too. The most crucial factor that affects the cooling speed is the size of the fridge.

The rate at which the fridge attains food-safe temperature depends on many parameters. The design of the fridge also affects its cooling time. Nowadays, most refrigerators rely on the same design principles. The design comprises a cooling unit that functions like a heat pump.

The heat pump draws heat from one area and dumps it into another. When you first switch on the fridge, the bottom will be the coldest. To get cold enough, your fridge needs to draw heat from the food items stored inside. Different brands have varying cooling capabilities.

But this variation could differ by only a few minutes. A frost-free fridge takes four to six hours to attain the right temperature. This is because it has to eliminate heat from insulation and metals present within the compartment. In a frost-free refrigerator, the freezers get remarkable first, followed by other units. You can invest in refrigerators that have digital displays. These displays show you the exact operational temperature of your fridge.

Determining the Fridge’s Cooling Time

Determining the time for cooling your fridge is easy, thanks to the user manual. You can refer to the user manual to determine your fridge’s model number and brand. Based on the model number and brand, search online.

You can also visit the manufacturer’s website and check the time for cooling your refrigerator. Nowadays, you will come across many retail websites that are suitable to know the time for cooling the fridge. You can even download the installation guide from the fridge manufacturer’s website.

Navigating an online guide will be more straightforward. Another way to determine your fridge’s cooling time is to contact after-sales support. In most cases, after-sales support personnel are responsive and will assist you in finding the time for cooling your fridge.

Top Strategies to Boost the Chilling Process in Your Fridge

man's hand and system of fridge temperature

You may want your fridge to attain food-safe temperature quickly and store perishable items in it. Here are some practical ways to boost the chilling process of your fridge.

Place Your Refrigerator Away From the Walls

Your refrigerator’s cooling depends heavily on proper air circulation. If the fridge is pressed against a wall, there won’t be air circulation. Likewise, if one side is pressing against a wall, it will be difficult for the fridge to attain a food-safe temperature. Ensure that you keep your fridge a few inches away from the wall. This will assist in the better circulation of hot air from the fridge’s compressor.

Place Ice in the Freezer Compartment

Your fridge will cool faster if it is full of ice. You can also store ice in the freezer compartment to boost the cooling process. When the fridge has frozen food and ice, the circulating air inside it will be colder. Putting ice inside will also assist you in storing food items before the fridge has completely cooled down. Placing food items next to ice will keep perishable items fresh.

Don’t Open the Fridge Doors

It is intriguing to see what happens behind the closed doors of a refrigerator. But when you open the doors, the cool air will escape. The refrigerator will have to work overtime to attain a food-safe temperature. Therefore, to boost the cooling process, refrain from opening the fridge’s doors.

Keep the Area Cool

Hot weather in your home will make the refrigerator function over time. It will be more challenging for the fridge to maintain the optimum cooling temperature. Try to keep the area cool so that your fridge boosts its cooling. If your kitchen has air conditioning, keep it on until the fridge attains the food-safe temperature.

Never Store Hot Food Items Inside the Refrigerator

To ensure that the fridge chills quickly, you should cool everything to room temperature before storing it in the fridge. Try to cool food items on the counter before storing them in the refrigerator. Hot food containers can damage the internal compartments of your fridge.

Keep the Compressor Coils Clean

Ensure that the compressor coils are spotless. Dirty and clogged coils in the compressor can wear your fridge down and its cooling efficiency will take a hit. If you have an older fridge, consider cleaning the compressor coils periodically. Regular maintenance is imperative for the overall cooling efficiency of your fridge.

Significance of the Power Outlet

The refrigerator should have its own power outlet. Refrigerators are high-voltage appliances. If you don’t have a compatible socket in your kitchen, call the electrician and install one. Inappropriate outlet voltage can cause a fire. It may also cause short circuits at your home.

How Long Should a New Refrigerator Operate After the Initial Plugin?

Many experts say that new fridges should run for 80-90% of the time. Every refrigerator comes with a compressor that needs to run. The compressor is mainly responsible for helping the refrigerator attain food-safety temperature. Refrain from switching off the fridge after the initial plugin. Premium refrigerators come with a thermostat setting to let users know the proper operating temperature.

How Long Does it Take a Refrigerator to Get Cold After Power Outages?

Power outages can be your worst nightmare if you have a large amount of food inside the fridge. If there is a power outage in your area, do not open the doors of the refrigerator. By not opening the doors, you are allowing the cold air to stay inside the unit.

When there is a power outage, your refrigerator will keep food fresh for at least three hours.

The freezer will be able to store food safely for twenty-four hours. If the power outage is more than four hours, you may have to replace food items stored inside. After a power outage, the refrigerator will take around eight hours to attain a food-safe temperature again.

Reasons Why Your Fridge is Not Cooling

iced froster defrosting, icy fridge cleaning

If you open your refrigerator and find sour milk and perished food items, the experience may be frustrating. And the issue is more than annoyance or odors – it’s a health issue. Microbes and mold can develop in refrigerators that are not cold enough. Here are some top reasons why your fridge is not attaining food-safe temperature.

Problem with Door Gaskets

Issues with door gaskets can severely affect the cooling performance of your fridge. If there are issues with door gaskets, cold air will escape, and the refrigerator won’t cool properly.

Clogged Condenser Coils

Clogged condenser coils can be the main reason behind the inefficiency of your fridge’s cooling capability. The best way to address this issue is to contact after-sales support. They will send technicians to help you address this issue.

Location of the Fridge

The location of the fridge greatly determines its cooling efficiency. If you’re storing your fridge in a warm and humid area, you can’t expect it to cool things faster. Refrain from keeping the refrigerator in the vicinity of other appliances.

Food Items are Blocking the Vents

You should check the compartments of your fridge to find whether food items are blocking the vents. Try to arrange the food items appropriately so that the refrigerator attains cooling efficiency.


So, how long does it take a fridge to get cold? Experts suggest you allow your fridge twenty-four hours to help it reach the proper temperature. You can also contact the manufacturer or retail website to address your issues. 

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