How Long Does it Take a Fridge to Get Cold

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The length of time it takes for a fridge to get cold depends on several variables.  We’ll walk you through each of those variables and tell you what you can do to speed up the process and make your fridge cold as fast as possible. Just how long does it take a fridge to get cold?

how long does it take a fridge to get cold pinterest pin
how long does it take a fridge to get cold

How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Cool?

We took a look at several refrigerator name brands and the amount of time it takes them to cool. The average time it takes a full-size refrigerator to cool to the FDA recommended temperature of 40°F is 12 hours.

However, that time can vary greatly from 2 – 24 hours, depending on the brand and the size of refrigerator.

Refrigerator Cooling Times by Brand and Type

Following is a chart of popular brands of refrigerators by type, showing their cooling time according to the manufacturer’s website.

Brand Type   Cooling Time
General ElectricBottom Freezer24 hours
General ElectricFrench Door24 hours
Whirlpool       Bottom Freezer24 hours
Whirlpool       Side by Side    24 hours
Whirlpool       Top Freezer    24 hours
Whirlpool       Mini Fridge     4 hours
LG ElectronicsBottom Freezer2-3 hours
LG ElectronicsFrench Door2-3 hours
LG ElectronicsSide by Side 2-3 hours
FrigidaireSide by Side8-12 hours
FrigidaireTop Freezer8 hours
FrigidaireMini Fridge    4 hours
MaytagBottom Freezer24 hours
MaytagSide by Side24 hours
MaytagMini Fridge  4 hours
SamsungBottom Freezer2 hours
SamsungFrench Door2 hours
SamsungSide by Side2 hours
KitchenAidBottom Freezer24 hours
KitchenAidFrench Door24 hours
KitchenAidSide by Side24 hours

How to Determine Your Refrigerator’s Cooling Time

The best way to determine your refrigerator’s cooling time is to do an online search using a search engine like Google. You’ll want to search for the brand name and model number to find information relevant to your particular refrigerator model.

Another way to find out how long it will take your refrigerator to cool is to look in your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Factors that Impact How Long Refrigerators Take to Cool

There are several variables that will impact the length of time it takes your refrigerator to cool. Those include the size of the refrigerator, room temperature, age and condition of the refrigerator, whether the fridge is stocked or not, and how often the door is opened. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each variable.

open refrigerator with milk inside
open refrigerator with milk inside

Size

Is the refrigerator large or small in size? In other words, does it hold several cubic feet of goods, or is it a small version, holding just a few items, created for a small space like a college dorm or studio apartment?  

Smaller refrigerators tend to cool faster than large refrigerators because there’s less space that has to be cooled, resulting in less time needed for the cooling to take place.

Storage Area Temperature

Where are you storing the refrigerator? Places like the garage in the summertime will take longer for the refrigerator to cool than in a well air conditioned interior space that’s significantly cooler. 

Outside Temperature

If you’re receiving a new refrigerator that’s coming to you on a delivery truck, you’ll want to consider the outside temperature.

A refrigerator that’s been transported to you on a delivery truck in the dead of winter will take less time to cool than a refrigerator that comes to you on a delivery truck in the peak of summer.

Age and Condition

What is the age and condition of your refrigerator? Newer refrigerators are made to be more efficient and will likely cool faster than say a 20-year-old refrigerator.

Is the refrigerator in excellent operating condition, or is it limping along? Its condition also matters for how fast it cools the inside of the refrigerator.

Empty vs Stocked

A refrigerator that’s full of already cooled food items will cool faster than one that is totally empty because the temperature of the food items helps to bring down the overall internal temperature of the refrigerator.

How Often the Door is Opened

If you want your refrigerator to stay cool or to cool more rapidly, you’ll want to keep the refrigerator door shut. Every time the door is opened, it allows the cool air to escape and warm air to fill its space.

When trying to cool your refrigerator, keep the door shut whenever possible.

Distance from the Wall

How far your refrigerator is placed from the wall will also be a factor in how fast your refrigerator cools.

If it’s pressed right up against the wall, it will take longer for it to cool than if it’s pulled a few inches away from the wall and allows proper air circulation to reach all the way around the refrigerator.

How to Speed Up the Cooling Process

Sometimes there’s just not time to wait for your refrigerator to cool and you need it done as quickly as possible because there is no other solution to keep your food cool. Here are some things you can do to speed up your refrigerator’s cooling process.

Keep Door Closed

Keeping your refrigerator door closed while it’s cooling will help it to cool more quickly and work the most efficient way possible. It will keep the cool air in and any warm air out.

Ensure Good Airflow

Make sure the refrigerator is at least 2 inches away from the wall so that it has the proper air flow behind it that it needs to work.

Keep the Coils Clean

If you’ve had your refrigerator for a time, you’ll want to be sure to keep its coils clean. An annual dusting will help to keep it running well and cool your food quickly.

Plug it in Properly

Plugging your refrigerator in properly might seem quite straightforward, and it can be.  But it’s one of the most important aspects of helping your refrigerator get cold as fast as possible. 

Room Temperature

Consider cooling your room temperature, if possible, to help the refrigerator work more efficiently.

For example, if you’re cooling a refrigerator in the hottest part of the summertime and the room where the refrigerator is being placed has air conditioning, turn on the air conditioning to bring the room temperature down so the refrigerator doesn’t have to work so hard to cool itself.

Add Ice

How to cool down a fridge faster? If you have access to ice, consider placing a large container of ice inside the refrigerator to help it cool faster. Keep in mind that the ice will melt so you’ll want to use a container that can hold liquid without leaking.

Open refrigerator filled with food how long does it take for fridge to get cold
Open refrigerator filled with food

How to Know When Your Refrigerator Is Cool Enough to Store Food

According to the FDA, your refrigerator needs to be 40° F or less to safely store food.  And your freezer should be 0° F to safely store food. Check to make sure your refrigerator and freezer reach and maintain this temperature.

If your refrigerator and freezer don’t have a built-in thermometer, you can buy one specifically to use for maintaining the internal temperature.   

ideal fridge temp for food safety
ideal fridge temp for food safety

How to Check the Temperature in Your Fridge

To check the temperature of your refrigerator, simply use the built-in thermometer if your refrigerator has one. If it doesn’t have one, consider buying a thermometer that you can leave inside the refrigerator. 

To check the temperature in your fridge, leave the thermometer inside the refrigerator with the door closed for 2-3 minutes before opening the door and checking the temperature.

What if Your Fridge is Not Cold Enough?

If your refrigerator isn’t cold enough and is properly plugged in, it could be because of a lack of electricity or it could also be the fault of refrigerator.

If various components of your refrigerator aren’t functioning properly this can also be the cause of the temperature rising inside your refrigerator.

How Long a New Fridge Takes to Cool

The amount of time it takes for a new fridge to cool varies greatly depending on the brand of refrigerator as well as its size. Here are some average times it takes for refrigeration appliances to cool according to refrigerator size. 

Type of Refrigeration ApplianceHow Long it Takes to Cool
Mini fridge      4 hours
Standard Refrigerator2 to 24 hours
Freezer12 to 24 hours

Tips for Keeping Food Cold Without a Working Fridge

We’ve all experienced a power outage and perhaps a refrigerator that doesn’t work for whatever reason.  Regardless of the situation, at one time or another it’s possible that you’ll need to figure out how to keep food cold without a working refrigerator. Here are some ideas.

Don’t Open the Door.  The best thing you can do is keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. This will help to keep the cold air in and the hot air out. And the food will last longer.

Use Ice. Consider using ice chunks or ice cubes to keep your food cold. If you have a little extra space, place it in a container and put it right inside to help keep food cold. Replace the ice when it melts.

Use the Freezer. If your refrigerator has a freezer that’s still functional, consider moving as much food as you can from the refrigerator to the freezer. When you put the cold food together, it helps to insulate it and keep itself cold.

The Reason Behind Your Refrigerator Not Cooling

Perhaps your situation is that your refrigerator is not new, but it’s stopped cooling properly.  There could several reasons for this including a lack of electricity, less power than is needed for the refrigerator to run efficiently, or fridge components don’t work properly.

Try troubleshooting your refrigerator to see if the problem can be determined.

How Can I Determine My Fridge’s Cooling Time?

If you’re still unsure of the cooling time for your refrigerator or if we’ve not included the make and model of your refrigerator in our chart above, there are a few other places you can look for this information. 

Refer to the user manual that came with your refrigerator or search the manufacturer’s website.

You’ll also want to consider the outside ambient temperature as well as the indoor room temperature at the location where the refrigerator is placed. If you’re working to cool your refrigerator on a hot summer day, it’s going to take longer than in the dead of winter for example.

What Variables Determine Cooling Speed?

There are four main variables that determine the speed at which your refrigerator cools. Ambient temperature, fridge capacity, fridge insulation, and placement all factor into the length of time to cool your refrigerator.

Ambient Temperature. Temperature plays a factor. It will take longer to cool a refrigerator that’s in a hot location that it will to cool one that’s in a cold location.

Fridge Capacity.  A larger refrigerator that’s empty will take longer to cool than a small refrigerator that’s already stocked full of cool food.

Fridge Insulation. How well your refrigerator is insulated will determine its efficiency and a well insulated fridge will cool faster and stay cooled longer.

Placement. A refrigerator that’s smooshed up against the wall will cool slower than a refrigerator that’s at least 2 inches away from the wall.

When is it Safe to Put Food in the Fridge?

It’s safe to put food in the refrigerator when the internal temperature reaches 40°F or less. And it’s safe to put food in the freezer when the internal temperature reaches 0°F.

When the temperature is higher, the food is at risk of spoiling, when the temperature is lower, the food is at risk of becoming frozen in the refrigerator or freezer burnt in the freezer.

fruit and vegetables inside a refrigerator
fruit and vegetables inside a refrigerator

How Long Does it Take a Fridge to Get Cold After a Power Outage?

If the refrigerator is kept unopened, it will potentially stay cold for up to 4 hours.

And a freezer will stay cold for up to 48 hours if it’s full and unopened.

A refrigerator that’s half full will last up to 24 hours if the door is kept closed.

When the power comes back on, check the freezer food temperature and assure that it’s 40°F or below. If this is the case, then the food is safe to eat. Another indicator is if packages have ice on them, they’re most likely fine. But we always recommend using your own judgment and throwing away any food that is spoiled or you think might be spoiled.

How Long Should I Wait Before Plugging in a New Fridge?

Some manufacturers recommend letting a refrigerator set in place for 3 hours so that it can settle before plugging it in. Then you can plug it in and wait for it to fully cool before adding any food.

Fridge Door Left Open: How Long Will It Take It To Get Cold Again?

It happens every so often. If you have one of those refrigerator doors that sounds an alarm when the refrigerator door is left open, chances are you won’t have a problem.

But let’s say your refrigerator door is left open for a length of time, and you’re not sure how long it will take for it to cool back down.

Depending on the size of your refrigerator, the contents of the fridge, and the brand of refrigerator, it could take anywhere from 2 -24 hours for it to get back down to the 40°F safety threshold.

How Long Does The New Refrigerator Take To Make Ice?

It typically takes about 24 hours for most full-size refrigerator models to make ice.

Why Does Your New Refrigerator Keeps Running Constantly?

If your new refrigerator keeps running constantly, take a few moments to check the temperature of your freezer.

Chances are that the freezer could be set too warm, causing the refrigerator to run constantly in an attempt to compensate. Instead set your freezer to 0°F and see if that makes a difference.

How To Adjust the Thermostat For A New Refrigerator?

According to the FDA, the ideal freezer temperature is 0°F and the ideal refrigerator temperature is 40°F.  A temperature too high or too low can be detrimental to the food being stored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to the question of how long does it take a fridge to get cold. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

How long does it take a fridge to get cold after plugging it in?

How long does it take a fridge to get cold once plugged in? It takes about an average of 12 – 24 hours for a refrigerator to cool and reach the recommended food safety temperature storage guidelines of 40F degrees.

How long does it take a fridge to get cold after power outage?

Once the power is restored, it takes an average of 12 hours for the refrigerator to reach 40F degrees, which is the recommended temperature according to the FDA for food safety.

How long does it take for a new fridge to get cold?

How long does it take for a new fridge freezer to get cold? It can take anywhere from 12-24 hours for a new refrigerator to reach 40F degrees.

How long does it take for a mini fridge to get cold?

The average time it takes for a mini fridge to reach the FDA recommended temperature of 40F degrees for food safety is an average of 4 hours.

How long does it take for a drink to get cold in the fridge?

It can take up to 8 hours for your drink to get cold in the refrigerator. The best solution is to put the drink the fridge the night before. Or you can place it in the fridge first thing in the morning and be enjoying refreshing and cold it by afternoon.

One apple in open empty refrigerator
One apple in open empty refrigerator

How long does it take for a Beko fridge freezer to get cold?

According to the Beko.co.uk website, you’ll want to allow your fridge to settle for 4 hours after it’s delivered and before plugging it in. Make sure the refrigerator is turned on and then allow an average of 12 hours for it to cool to 40F degrees for food safety. 

How long does it take for a new Whirlpool fridge to get cold?

According to the Whirlpool website, you should wait 24 hours from the time your new refrigerator is plugged in to allow your new refrigerator to cool before adding food.

How long does it take for a fridge freezer to get cold after defrosting?

It can take anywhere from 4 – 12 hours for your fridge freezer to get cold after you’ve finished defrosting it. Replacing frozen foods will help to lower the temperature faster, similar to adding ice to your refrigerator to help chill it.

How long does a new Frigidaire refrigerator take to cool?

According to the Frigidaire website, it takes about 24 hours for your new refrigerator to cool to the FDA recommended temperature of at least 40F degrees for food safety.

How long does it take for a new LG refrigerator to get cold?

According to the LG website, you should allow your refrigerator to cool for 2-3 hours before adding any food. For food safety reasons,  the internal temperature needs to be 40F degrees or less according to the FDA.

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