How Long Does A Fridge Take To Get Cold Enough For Food? Find Out Here!

Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by
how long does a fridge take to get cold?

How Long Does A Fridge Take To Get Cold? 

green and pink plastic container

It's safe to say that every home has at least one refrigerator, no matter where it's located. They function by reducing and regulating the temperature of the food stored in them, which helps preserve the food for longer. It is not uncommon for people to be curious about the quirks of refrigerators, particularly the length of time it takes for the refrigerator to become cold.

After being turned off, a refrigerator might take anywhere from 2 to 24 hours to get cold. On the other hand, this time might vary greatly depending on various factors, such as the size of the refrigerator and the brand. When it reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, a refrigerator is considered cold enough by FDA storage regulations to be used for food storage.

This article looks at the different factors determining the length of time required for the cooling process in refrigerators. It then goes into detail about each factor and explains why it matters.

How to know if your fridge is cold enough?

Fridges work by absorbing the heat in their compartments using a coolant. The coolant is usually a liquid called Freon. As it absorbs heat, it expands. When it gets warm, it contracts, and the refrigeration cycle begins again.

The coolant circulates through pipes, insulation, plastic, and finally, into the environment where it is cooled further. If you open up the fridge door, you'll see that coils inside the cabinet absorb the heat. These coils use electricity to make the coolant change phase.

When your fridge works properly, the temperature inside will be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius). This is the recommended temperature for storing food. Anything above this temperature is considered too hot for food safety reasons.

If you want to know how cold your fridge is, check the temperature of the air coming out of the air vents. If it's 40 degrees, then your fridge is just fine. But if the temperature drops below 40 degrees, you might consider getting a new one.

How can you check the temperature of the fridge?

assorted beverage bottles and cans in refrigerator

There are several ways to check the temperature in your refrigerator. If you're looking for something quick and easy, you can buy a cheap digital or analogue fridge thermometer. These models usually cost less than $10 and provide a simple way to keep track of the temperature inside your fridge.

If you want to invest in a more expensive model, you can purchase one that displays the temperature digitally. These units can be found online for around $30-$100. They offer a convenient way to monitor the temperature in your fridge without opening the door.

You can also use an appliance thermostat to check the temperature in the fridge. This device plugs into the electrical outlet and connects wirelessly to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Once installed, you can set up daily alarms and reminders to check the temperature.

Moreover, if your fridge temperature is correct, freezing water should take an average time. Please read our article about how long an average fridge takes to freeze water

How can you calculate your fridge cooling time?

You should always consult the manufacturer's instructions if you're wondering how long it takes for your refrigerator to cool down completely. Different manufacturers use different units of measurement, so you can't rely on one single time frame to know when the refrigerator has reached its full cooling capacity.

Many factors affect the refrigeration cooling process, including the outdoor temperature, indoor temperature, and climate classification.

If you buy your new refrigerator during the summer, it will probably take longer for it to reach its full cooling capacity compared to if you bought it in the dead of winter. Your climate also affects the refrigerator's cooling capacity.

Consequently, you should consider such factors when determining your refrigerator's cooling process time. If, however, you want to be on the safe side, stick to the general guideline of 24 hours.

You can use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator is at a good temperature, e.g., 40 °F.

What should you do if your fridge is not cold enough?

Fridge, freezer and mini-fridge efficiency is something that most people don't think about too much. However, keeping tabs on how often you run out of adjacent food because of inefficient operation is important. Here are some things you can do to improve the performance of your refrigerator:

1. Set up the proper temperature settings correctly. If the refrigerator doesn't heat up properly, the thermostats could be a problem. Check whether the thermostats are working properly and adjust accordingly.

2. Clean the coils. You can clean the coils yourself or hire a professional. Make sure that the coils are clean and free of dust.

3. Keep items away from the door. Do not place anything near the door while the refrigerator is running. Items placed close to the door can cause condensation.

4. Use the freezer compartment. When you use the freezer compartment, the compressor runs longer. This increases the amount of energy used. To avoid this, make sure that you use the freezer compartment sparingly.

5. Don't overload the refrigerator. Overloading can lead to problems such as ice block build-ups and malfunctioning doors.

6. Replace the filters regularly. Filters help prevent odours from entering the air. They should be replaced every six months.

What are the factors affecting the coldness of a fridge?

white refrigerator with assorted items

The proper temperature inside a refrigerator depends on several factors. These include the type of food items you store, how long it takes to cool down, and whether the door is open or closed. In addition, the amount of air conditioning the food cold matters too. The colder the room, the faster the fridge will heat up.

There are three main types of fridges:

1. Size of the refrigerator 

Although it seems common sense that larger refrigerators take longer to cool, several factors are involved in deciding how long a refrigerator takes to reach room cold temperature. These include the size of the unit itself, the type of insulation used, the number of shelves, the amount of items of food cold inside, and whether or not the door is open.

As far as brands go, most people assume that one brand is better than another, but this isn't always true. The brand doesn't matter much regarding the size of the fridge. This is because manufacturers use different sizes of fridges based on the needs of consumers. For example, a standard-depth refrigerator might be perfect for someone who wants to store large amounts of delicate food items while still being able to see everything inside. However, if you're looking for a counter-depth model, you'll want something with a little more storage capacity.

2. Brand of your refrigerator

A refrigerator's performance depends on several factors, including the brand name, how old it is, and whether it's been used frequently. A study conducted by Consumer Reports found that refrigerators from GE take longer to cool down than those from Samsung. Some GE models took up to 24 hours to drop to room cool temperature. The report attributes this to the design of the compressor unit, which stores energy in batteries rather than being powered by electricity. This allows GE refrigerators to use less power while keeping the same capacity.

This isn't the only reason why GE refrigerators might take longer to reach freezing safe temperatures. Another factor is the quality of the insulation inside the cabinet. While most modern refrigerators include polyurethane foam, GE uses fibreglass. Both materials help keep the freezer cold, but the former is better at insulating against heat loss, according to Consumer Reports.

3. How full the fridge is

A full fridge works more efficiently, reaching a colder ideal temperature faster. This is because there are fewer gaps between the contents of the fridge, allowing the air conditioning to circulate more freely. But how much room should you give your fridge? And what happens if it's too full or too empty?

The answer lies in the physics of thermal conduction. If the fridge is too full, the cold air doesn't flow easily through the food, causing it to take longer to reach a chilled state. On the other hand, if the fridge is too empty, the cold air cannot move around the cold food, making it harder to chill. So, how many cubic feet does a fridge need?

To find out, we looked into the science behind thermal conduction. To understand why a fridge needs a certain amount of space, let's start with some basic information. Food is composed mostly of water molecules, which are made up of hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms. These atoms vibrate when heated, giving off heat energy. When the food is placed inside a fridge, the vibrations slow, and the food safe stays cooler.

But the speed of vibration depends on the number of molecules per volume—the greater the number of molecules, the slower the vibration. More specifically, the more molecules a given volume contains, the less likely those molecules are to collide with one another. Therefore, the more molecules there are in a particular volume, the lower the chance they collide.

This is where we come in. We'll show you how to calculate exactly how big a fridge you need based on the number of molecules present in a given volume. First, let's look at the math behind thermal conductivity.

Thermal Conductivity Speed of Vibration x Number of Molecules Per Volume

As we mentioned earlier, the speed of vibration decreases with increasing numbers of molecules per volume. Let's say you want to know how fast a cup of coffee will cool when put in a fridge. You could weigh the cup and measure the volume. Then, you'd multiply the weight of the cup times the volume of the cup to determine how many molecules are contained in the cup. Once you've determined the number of molecules in the cup, you can use our formula above to figure out how long it takes for the coffee to cool.

Article Written & Fact Checked By


I have always had a profound love for reading, which naturally evolved into writing too! This passion for the art of crafting stories using words lead me to a path of web content managing. I have previously managed portfolios for my clients' writing requirements, with each website containing anywhere from 5 all the way to 5,000 pages; my day was easily filled with spreadsheets and databases of content. My current focus is where I am the Lead Editor and Content Stategist!
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