fridge cooling time

How Long Does It Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold?

2 to 24 hours. It takes about 2 to 24 hours for a refrigerator to get cold after it’s plugged in. However, there are many factors that can influence the cooling process.

Refrigerators are among the most popular life-saving appliances at home and in various food industries. They are an effective and reliable food preservation means.

These magical appliances work by slowing down or halting bacteria action to ensure that food can last longer. While nearly every home has a refrigerator, very few users understand the appliance well based on its cooling aspect.

If you have just acquired a new fridge or have recovered from a power outage, you might be wondering how long your refrigerator will take to get cold.

The truth is, refrigerators can take a significant amount of time to get cold and ready for use. Continue reading to discover how long it takes for a refrigerator to get cold and understand more about your fridge’s cooling aspects.

Double side by side or French door refrigerators

The modern style double door and French door fridges are larger capacity fridges which usually have fridge and freezer sides of the same size.

Naturally, these types of fridges have bigger compressors to help meet the greater demand. Even with the bigger compressors, there will still be a great deal of time needed for the refrigerator to get cold enough to get food into it.

For these types, you need to allow between 4 to 6 hours for it to reach the optimum cold temperatures. As stated for all other fridge designs, you need to allow up to 48 hours for the temperature to get to ideal levels.

There could be a few things that are in play that may end up affecting the rate at which your refrigerator gets cold.

Factors That Affect Your Refrigerators Cooling Time

1.  Room temperature

The room temperature where your fridge is located will have a significant impact on the time required for the refrigerator to cool.

If the room is hot, your refrigerator will take longer to cool down, and sometimes it can burn out. If you keep your fridge in hot rooms like an outdoor kitchen or the garage, you will want to buy fans, insulation, or vents to keep it cool and prevent burnouts.

2. Refrigerator Size

While this may not be a universal rule, the size of your refrigerator will have an impact on its cooling time. Most small fridges get cold faster in about two to four hours, while the bigger ones usually take up to 24 hours.

3.  Stocked or Unstocked

An empty fridge will take a long time to cool down since there is more room for warm air, while a stocked fridge will cool faster. Unfortunately, it’s not recommended to put anything in the fridge until it cools down well for the first time.

4. Opening the Door

The number of times you open the door of your refrigerator will also impact how long it will take for your fridge to get cold. Experts recommend keeping the door closed during the entire cooling process.

Keeping the door closed helps prevent cool air from coming out and warm air from going in, which would otherwise slow down the cooling process.

5. Age and Condition

Old refrigerators tend to be less effective than new ones, so they may take longer to cool down. Moreover, dusty or clogged parts of the fridge will slow down the cooling process.

If all the parts of your fridge are working correctly, it will cool down within the required time.

How Long Does It Take for a New Fridge to Get Cold?

A new refrigerator will take about 2 to 24 hours to get cold and ready to preserve different foods. In most cases, small and powerful refrigerators cool faster than the big ones.

Other factors like brand weight, current room temperature can also determine how long it will take for a fridge to get cold.

Your refrigerator may take a long time to cool when the surrounding temperature is high or if you keep opening the fridge door. There are some specific brands that make fast cooling refrigerators.

For instance, Most Samsung and LG refrigerators will cool within two to four hours. However, some brands like Whirlpool and GE will take more than 20 hours to get cold.

How a Refrigerator Gets Cold

When you plug in your refrigerator, you will realize that it takes a while to start getting cold. This is usually because of the mechanism it uses to get cold.

To get cold, refrigerators absorb heat from the chiller cabinets with the cooling fluid, then it pumps out the fluid through the cabinets, and the heat is released.

The whole process will take some time since the refrigerator has to remove heat from various parts like insulation, plastic part, and metal inside the fridge.

Generally, the freezer box gets cold first since its where all the cooling happens. The refrigerator box then follows it. The total amount of time a refrigerator takes to get cold depends on various factors, including the size, brand, and weight.

How Do You Know Your Refrigerators Cooling Time?

The best way to know the exact time your refrigerator requires to get cold is to read the user manual or the installation guide. If you don’t have the manual, you can Google the brand and model to obtain a guide from the manufacturer’s website.

How to Speed Up the Refrigerator Cooling Process

If you want to speed up the cooling process of your refrigerator, here are some tips:

 Keep the Door Closed:

When you keep the door closed, warm air will not get inside the fridge. Cold air will also not escape from the fridge, which will speed up the cooling process.

Ensure Good Airflow:

You can keep your refrigerator a few inches away from the wall to ensure that air can flow in and out easily through the coils.

Clean the Coils:

If the coils are clogged, it will slow down the cooling process. Hence, it's essential to keep them clean by washing them every six months.

Turn on The Air Condition:

If your fridge is in a hot room, you will need to turn on the air conditioning as the room temperature significantly impacts the cooling process.

Ice the Refrigerator:

You can take a bag of ice or an ice block and put it in the fridge while it’s cooling down. But you will need to check after some time as the ice will melt.

How to Know If the Refrigerator is Cold Enough

FDA indicates that inside the refrigerators should be at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your food fresh. The freezer should be at zero degrees Fahrenheit for safe food storage.

Some refrigerators come with an in-built thermometer that allows you to know the temperature without using another thermometer.

If your fridge doesn’t have an in-built thermometer, you will have to buy it separately. Most fridge thermometers are made to be very accurate and reliable.

Once the temperature reads 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can now load your refrigerator with food items for safe storage.


Refrigerators can take a while to get cold when new or after a power outage. The cooling time will depend on various factors, including room temperature, size, age and condition, and more.

On average, it takes around 12 hours for refrigerators to get cold, but the cooling time ranges from 2 to 24 hours. You can use the above tips to speed up the cooling process.

However, you should wait until the refrigerator reaches 40 degrees F or below before putting any food in it.

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