How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold? (All Types)

Image of a clock in a refrigerator

Refrigerators provide an optimal low temperature to preserve food. Maintaining this low temperature slows down the growth of bacteria and germs that cause food spoilage, thus extending the life of perishables. So, how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold?

A refrigerator can take between three hours to twenty-four hours to get cold. However, the actual cooling period of any refrigerator depends on many factors such as its make, model, capacity, the total number of items inside the refrigerator, the number of times the door is opened and closed, etc.

Let’s talk about this in more detail now.

How To Find Out The Time Your Refrigerator Needs To Cool Down?

For a refrigerator to preserve food properly, it should cool down properly and maintain a low temperature consistently.

Storing food in a refrigerator before it has cooled down to 40 degrees can compromise food safety.

Since different brands have different cooling abilities, consult the refrigerator manual to decide how long it will take for a refrigerator to cool to optimal temperature.

When a refrigerator has properly cooled, it would consistently maintain a temperature of 40 degrees.

The freezer temperature will be 5 degrees.

You can safely store food when the refrigerator is at this temperature.

If your refrigerator has a digital display, you can read the display to determine the temperature and whether it’s safe for food storage.

When you plug a refrigerator into the power supply, it begins cooling down from room temperature.

The refrigerator may take several hours to reach the optimal temperature of 40 degrees for food storage.

Small refrigerators generally cool faster than large refrigerators.

Unless there is a power outage, you unplug the refrigerator, or the refrigerator is faulty, it will consistently maintain this temperature during operation.

Now, the compressor cycle will run properly only if the refrigerator remains plugged in for at least 80 percent of the time.

Wait for at least 24 hours after plugging it in to start storing items in a new refrigerator.

This will give the compressor enough time to kick in and run properly.

Can You Make Your Refrigerator Cool Down Faster?

The cooling capacity of a refrigerator will depend on the brand, model, capacity, and conditions where it is placed.

Nevertheless, you can speed up the cooling cycle of a refrigerator by:

  • Keeping it in a cool space,
  • Placing ice in the freezer compartment since cold food speeds up the cooling process,
  • Moving it away from the wall to allow better air circulation behind it, and
  • Keeping the refrigerator door closed.

Recommended Further Reading:

How Long Does It Take A Refrigerator To Get Cold After You Plug It In?

When you plug in a refrigerator, its internal temperature begins to reduce.

It can take just a few hours to an entire day to reach the optimum temperature for food storage after you plug it in.

The exact time will depend on various factors like the brand and model, how empty or full the refrigerator is, and ambient heat.

For instance, refrigerators with freezers at the bottom usually take longer to cool down than other types of refrigerators.

It will also take longer to cool if the surroundings are hot or humid.

The best way to find out is to check the instruction manual of the device.

The brand manufacturer will usually specify the expected cooling time, and it will be accurate for a functioning refrigerator.

Some refrigerators will cool down in two to three hours. Others can take up to twenty-four hours to cool to optimum temperature.

How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold After A Power Outage?

During power outages, the power supply to a refrigerator is cut, and it stops cooling.

The refrigerator will start cooling again when power returns.

However, the time it needs to reach 40 degrees will depend on how long the power was out and how efficiently it cools down.

If the power outage was for a short duration and you kept the door closed during this time, the refrigerator will cool down quickly once power returns.

However, if there was no power for several hours or even overnight, it’s a different story.

You will have to wait for a few hours after it powers up for it to cool down.

A long power outage will affect the quality of the food stored in the refrigerator.

The food will likely spoil sooner, especially if you opened the door several times when there was no power.

How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold In A Camper?

Refrigerators in RVs can take up to 24 hours to cool down.

These refrigerators operate in absorption style, and the exchange of heat takes longer.

So it’s a good idea to plug in the refrigerator at least a day before you take the camper out.

It will cool faster when empty since the air flows faster.

Related Further Reading:

How Long Does It Take To Chill A Refrigerator After A Compressor Replacement?

If you replace the compressor on your refrigerator, it’s like starting a new refrigerator.

A new compressor needs time to run and establish constant airflow.

Therefore, you should wait till it reaches a steady temperature to store food.

It can take anywhere between 2 and 24 hours for the compressor to kick in, based on the make and model of the refrigerator.

How Long Does It Take For A Refridgerator To Get Cold After Being Left Open?

It’s not wise to leave the refrigerator door open as doing so compromises the safety and quality of the contents.

It can also prove to be an expensive mistake.

When you leave the refrigerator door open, the refrigerator has to work extra hard to maintain a steady temperature.

As a result, the compressor will draw more power, and your electricity bill will be higher.

Now, if you leave the door open for too long, the refrigerator will be unable to maintain the temperature at 40 degrees.

The higher temperature will cause the food to spoil and make it unsafe to consume.

If you accidentally leave the refrigerator door open, it can take some time for the refrigerator to cool down.

The following factors will affect how long it will need to cool down:

  • The age of the refrigerator,
  • How full it is,
  • How long the door was left open,
  • Make and model of the refrigerator, and
  • Ambient temperature.

An energy-efficient refrigerator needs less time to settle down once the door is closed.

However, it can take several hours for large and full refrigerators to reach the desired temperature.

Interesting Further Reading:

How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold After Defrosting?

It’s normal to defrost a refrigerator a few times every year.

By defrosting a refrigerator, you get rid of any ice build-up, which helps it run smoothly.

Modern refrigerators have automatic defrost controls to prevent ice build-up.

Nonetheless, appliance manufacturers still recommend manual defrosting to ensure the refrigerator operates efficiently and doesn’t consume much electricity.

To defrost a refrigerator without a defrost button, cut off the power supply.

Then, wait until all the ice melts and the water drains out to restore power.

How long a refrigerator takes to cool down again will depend on how much time defrosting takes.

Depending on the brand and model, it can take three to twelve hours for the refrigerator to reach forty degrees.


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