How Long Does a Fridge Take to Get Cold?

How long does a fridge take to get cold

There are many opinions and questions about problems related to the cold time of refrigerator. In case of power outage or you have just bought a new refrigerator, how long does a fridge take to get cold?

In this article we will give you information about this.

How long does the refrigerator take to get cold?

Refrigerators have 2 key functions with 2 different compartments. The freezer compartment keeps food frozen and makes ice while cooling area preserves food. The time that a refrigerator gets cold depends on many different factors.

1. After a power outage

During the power outage, leaked heat gets accumulated inside the fridge and temperature goes up. The amount of heat will depend on how long the power cut lasts. Longer the duration of power cut, more time the refrigerator will need to come back normal condition.

How long a refrigerator gets cold depends on variety factors such as duration of power cut, refrigerant used in the fridge, temperature of outside environment, how much food is stored inside.

After a power outage of 3–4 hours, a refrigerator takes about 30 minutes to get cold and safe enough to store food inside. But note that this is just cold, not frozen. In hot countries, the cooling time will be a little longer, about 1 hour.

After a power outage of 3–4 hours, a refrigerator takes about 30 minutes to get cold
After a 3 hour-power outage, a refrigerator takes about 30 -60 minutes to get cold

For a frost-free refrigerator, it requires a longer time to cool down than a normal fridge. It may take about 4-6 hours to reach the right temperature because a frost-free fridge needs to remove the heat from the plastic, insulation, and metals that are inside.

When you suddenly find your fridge is not cold for a long time, you should contact a repairman to check and avoid the refrigerator running for a long time, leading to block failure.

2. For a new refrigerator

A new refrigerator needs about 24 hours to get to the right temperature for storing food. Setting the suitable temperature will be good for both fridge itself and food.

Nowadays, modern fridges often have digital LED lights that enable you see the fridge’s current temperature. You can easily observe and wait until it reaches the required temperature and put your food in.

If the fridge is at the room temperature or does not reach the ideal condition, it is not safe to store your food.

You are recommended to read the user manual before using a new fridge.

You may also like: Best Quiet Mini Fridges for AirBnB

The ideal temperature for storing food

According to the FDA, the proper temperature for storing your food items or groceries is as follow:

  • The cooling compartments should reach 40 degrees F (or 4 degrees C)
  • The freezer must be at 0 degrees F (- 18 degrees C).

If your fridge does not have a built-in control panel that displays the temperature digitally, you should buy a fridge thermometer. It is important to check the internal temperature regularly to make sure the fridge can keep your food safe.

Why is the refrigerator not cold? How to fix it

Temperature is adjusted incorrectly

The wrong temperature setting is one of the most common reasons. If the temperature is set too low, the refrigerator will not be cold or need loner time to get cold.

How to fix:

Make sure you adjust the temperature properly as the direction in user manual, the cooling compartment should be at 40 degrees F and the freezer must be at 0 degrees F.

Further reading:  How to Defrost a Mini Fridge Faster?

Fridge door is not tightly closed

This mistake can lead to the slow cooling process. When the fridge door does not close tightly or you open and close it continuously, causing the internal cold air to escape.

To fix:

  • Regular check if the door is closed properly
  • Avoid the bad habit of opening the refrigerator door many times
  • Quickly take out the food items in the refrigerator, then close it

Further reading: Left Refrigerator Door Open Overnight: What will Happen? How to Fix It?

The fridge is too full

Too much food in cooling compartment or so many ice trays in freezer also affect how fast or slow the cooling process is.

If you store too many food items inside, the fridge is overloaded, and it must use more cold air than usual. That’s why the cooling process will be slows down.

To fix it:

  • Organize your food items neatly
  • Do not buy too much food when shopping
  • Put the right amount of food in the refrigerator
Do not overload your refrigerator
Do not overload your refrigerator

The refrigerator is frozen with the indoor unit

Sometimes, the indoor unit is frozen and it takes a longer time to get cold.

To fix:

You need to defrost regularly, to help the refrigerator gets cool faster and prolong its lifespan.

Other reasons

There are also a number of reasons why the refrigerator does not freeze, such as: the air conditioner runs out of gas, the pipeline in the refrigerator is broken, the fan is broken, etc.

What to do:

Not trying to fix it yourself. It’s best to call a repairman.

Factors that affect how long a fridge gets cold

Factors that determine how long a refrigerator takes to cool can be listed as below.

  • Size: Normally, a bigger fridge will take longer to cool. If you have a fridge with big capacity, it may take longer time to cool down.
  • Temperature of storage area: If a fridge was stored in hot places such as a warm truck or hot warehouse, it will take a bit longer to reach 40°F, compared to other fridges at room temperature.
  • How old the fridge is: An older refrigerator is less efficient, so it will take longer to cool down than a newer one.
  • How food is arranged: A well-organized fridge operates better because there is less space for warm air, and the refrigerator will easily maintain its cold temperature. However, when cooling down for the first time, you should not put anything in the fridge.
  • How often you open the door: You should keep the fridge door closed during the cooling process.

How to make the cooling process faster

  • Clean the the refrigerator and defrost it regularly to help it work better
  • Create good airflow for the fridge: keep it a few inches away from the wall, do not put too many items inside the refrigerator
  • Keep the coils clean: clean them every six months
  • Make sure the door is always tightly closed
  • Plug the fridge in properly: Plug it into its own outlet for safety reason
  • Pay attention to room temperature: Do not put your fridge in the room that is usually hot

Further reading: How Often Should You Defrost a Fridge?


How much time a refrigerator needs to get cold depends on many factors. In case of a 3 hour-power cut, the refrigerator needs about 1 hour to restore the cold temperature. With a new refrigerator, it will take 12 to 24 hours to get cold, depending on the brand.

Hopefully, the article is useful when providing information on how to speed up the cooling process and reasons that make the refrigerator not cold.


1. Guide on How Long Does it Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold,, Retrieved on Feb. 17, 2022

2. Refrigerator cooling time,, Retrieved on Feb. 17, 2022

Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing the kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.