Refrigerator Adjusting Temperature Controls

At initial startup both fresh food and freezer controls should be set at the normal setting or mid point settings. Temperature controls can be found in the back of the fresh food compartment, near the top of the fresh food compartment, or on the dispenser panel.

  • Models with two controls - Normal settings would be 5 and C or 5 and 5.
  • Models with single control - Normal setting would be 5.
  • Models electronic controls - Normal settings would be 0 and 37.

Wait 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize at initial start-up or when making an adjustment. Check the temperature in each compartment. At this point adjustments may be made.

In times of high food load (like holidays) or during the hotter summer months you may find it more effective to turn up the controls to make the entire refrigerator colder. You will find the best settings to suit your needs through experimentation.

Bottom Freezer:

  • Fresh-Food Controls: The freezer supplies cold air to both compartments. Cold air is circulated from the freezer to the fresh food compartment via a damper. The fresh food control regulates the damper between the two compartments by controlling the amount of cold air that flows into the fresh food compartment.
  • Freezer Controls: The higher the setting, the longer the compressor runs and as a result the colder both sections become. The freezer setting determines the compressor and freezer fan running times.
  • On models where you press Fridge or Freezer to adjust the temperature (doesn't have separate up and down arrows),  the temperature adjustment only goes one direction. When you keep pressing the Fridge or Freezer pad, the temperature setting will go up until it reaches the maximum limit and then starts over at the lowest limit. 

This video demonstrates how to use the temperature controls on french door refrigerators for temperature settings.


Side-by-Side (Prior to 1995) and Top Mount:

  • Freezer controls: The freezer supplies cold air to both compartments. Cold air is circulated from the freezer to the fresh food compartment via a damper. The freezer control regulates the damper between the two compartments by controlling the amount of cold air that flows into the fresh food compartment.
  • Fresh Food Controls: The fresh food control regulates how long the compressor runs, and in effect, how cold both compartments can become.


Side-by-Side (After 1995) and Monogram:

  • Fresh-Food Controls: The freezer supplies cold air to both compartments. Cold air is circulated from the freezer to the fresh food compartment via a damper. The fresh food control regulates the damper between the two compartments by controlling the amount of cold air that flows into the fresh food compartment.
  • Freezer Controls: The higher the setting, the longer the compressor runs and as a result the colder both sections become. The freezer setting determines the compressor and freezer fan running times. Turning the freezer control to OFF shuts off the compressor and consequently, shuts off cooling in both the fresh-food and freezer compartments.
  • Note: These are the models with numbered controls. On single control models, insert a coin into the slot in the middle of the dial and adjust the control.

This video shows how to adjust the temperature controls on SxS refrigerators:


The simplest way to determine which control determines how long the compressor will run and in effect, how cold the entire refrigerator can become, is to look for the control with the OFF indicator on the control.

Visit our GE Appliances Video Gallery for short videos on setting the temperature controls for your style refrigerator.