If your refrigerated items are suddenly not as cold as they should be, you don't have to pick up the phone to call a refrigerator repair person right away. Instead, you can easily troubleshoot the issue yourself. Try these five techniques. They often solve the cooling issue, but if they don't, you can call a professional:
1. Check the power
If the fridge isn't cooling properly, it may not be getting power. If the light bulb inside the fridge is out, make sure the fridge is plugged into an outlet, and then, check your power breaker. If it is plugged in and the circuit hasn't tripped, it should be getting power, and in most cases, you will hear the motor running.
2. Vacuum the coils
Coils help to cool your fridge, and if they are blocked with debris, cool air cannot circulate around them. Grab a vacuum, get down on your hands and knees and vacuum the coils. In most cases, you can find the coils on the back of the fridge or underneath it. If you don't have a vacuum, use a damp rag to remove dust.
3. Double check the thermostat reading
If your fridge has a thermostat that you set to keep it cool, make sure it is running accurately. To check it, grab a thermometer -- a meat or candy thermometer will work fine. Use that thermometer to check the temperature of the fridge and make sure it is consistent with the thermostat setting.
If not, adjust the thermostat accordingly so you get the cooling you need.
4. Look at the seals
If the fridge is getting power, has clean coils and its thermostat is functioning properly, it may be losing cool air through bad seals. The seals line the doors of the fridge, and keep them closed tightly. Without proper seals, the doors stay slightly ajar, allowing cold air to escape.
You can visually check your seals to make sure they are all in working order. Look for seals that have come detached as well as seals that are ripped or disintegrating.
5. Rearrange the freezer
The way you have the food arranged in your freezer can also impact how well your refrigerator keeps your food cold. Look at the freezer and make sure you don't have food lined up against its back wall, blocking it vents. If air cannot circulate through those vents, the system won't cool properly.