Refrigerator - Not Cooling Enough

If the refrigerator is running but not cooling at all or is not cold enough, several factors may influence the temperature.

Check Temperature Control Settings

  • For Dial or Digital Readout models, adjust your temperature control by one number higher for a cooler temperature setting.
    • Adjusting the temperature on dual control models:
    • Adjusting the temperature on set point models:
    • Adjusting the temperature on knob models:
    • Adjusting the temperature on single temperature models:
  • For Actual Temperature Readout models, adjust your temperature control by one degree lower for a lower temperature setting.
    • Adjusting the temperature on actual temp models:

Check Time Since Installation

  • For newly installed refrigerators, allow about 24 hours for the unit to cool down and stabilize. If 24 hours have passed and the controls have been set properly but the unit is still warm, you may need to schedule service. Schedule a service appointment online.

Check Refrigerator and Freezer Food Load

  • Closed containers of water, food or non-perishables will help to stabilize the temperature. This is because the items in the refrigerator absorb the cold and actually work to help the refrigerator maintain a steady temperature in much the same way that ice cubes keep a drink cold. When you open the refrigerator door, the cool air rushes out and warm air rushes in. The more items in the refrigerator, the less cool air is needed to keep the refrigerator cold. Therefore, when you close the door again, the refrigerator returns to a stable temperature more quickly.

Check Refrigerator and Freezer Door Closure

  • Check for large items such as trays, platters, food items (like pizza boxes) and ice behind the ice bin that may interfere with door closure.
  • If the doors do not close on their own when partially opened, you may need to adjust the leveling legs or rollers so that the front is higher than the back. Keep adjusting the leveling legs or rollers until the door closes on its own when you open the door halfway (at a 45 degree angle).
  • Make sure the door gaskets are sealing properly.
  • Adjust your door gasket:

Check for Large Containers Blocking Airflow

  • Large containers in back may block the flow of cold air and adversely affect the temperatures in the refrigerator. Move tall items forward so they don't block the air flow.

Check for a Dirty Condenser

  • To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug the appliance before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
  • When the condenser coils get dirty the sealed system does not operate as efficiently as possible. See Refrigerator - Cleaning Condenser Coils.
  • Most refrigerators manufactured since the year 2001 have condenser coils in a location that does not require them to be cleaned. If your model has coils that need to be cleaned, directions will be in the owner's manual for your specific model.
    • 2001 and newer compact refrigerators and smaller capacity top freezer models still have coils to be cleaned.
    • If the owner's manual indicates the model has coils to be cleaned, follow the directions in the manual.

Check Temperature of Installation Area

  • Your refrigerator may not cool properly if installed in a location which experiences temperatures below 60°F or above 110°F.

Check for Proper Air Clearance

  • In general, at least 1 inch of air clearance is required on each side, top and back of the refrigerator. Air clearance requirements do vary by style and model. Please consult the owner’s manual for model specific requirements.

Check Interior Lights

  • Close the refrigerator door slowly. On most models, the light should go out when the door opening is reduced to approximately 1 inch. If the light stays on, it may produce heat that affects your refrigerator temperature.
  • If the refrigerator door is misaligned, the light will stay on. If the light stays on, your refrigerator will not cool properly.

Check for Diagnostic Mode

  • If the refrigerator has just been serviced, it could still be in diagnostic mode. Disconnect power to your refrigerator for 30 seconds and this should reset the control panel. The refrigerator should now cool normally.

For Models GTS18F and GTS21F

For more information on GTS18F and GTS21F Top Freezer refrigerators, please view the following video:
If the above suggestions and tips do not fix the issue and you still have a situation where the fridge is not cooling or is not cold enough, you may need to schedule service. For service, please schedule an appointment with GE Appliances Factory Service. Make sure you leave the unit plugged in until the technician arrives. This helps ensure that the symptoms will not disappear!