Samsung Refrigerator Not Cooling – 17 Causes and How to Fix

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As a refrigerator owner, you rely on it to keep food cool enough to stay fresh for longer. So when you’ve got a Samsung refrigerator that’s not cooling properly, it’s a constant worry. 

There are different reasons that the fridge might not consistently be cold enough, even if the temperature setting is set correctly. In this article, we look at all the potential causes for why your Samsung refrigerator is not cooling and how to fix them. 

First, Defrost Your Samsung Refrigerator

Many of the fixes below require Force Defrost mode to be activated to free up the internal components within your refrigerator. 

Defrosting removes ice from covering fans, coils, and other areas that may interfere with the refrigerator’s cooling ability. 

However, it may also indirectly serve to confirm whether the defrost heaters are still functional, too. 

To activate Force Defrost mode:

  1. Press the Energy Saver and Fridge buttons on the display for 8-10 seconds until the screen goes blank. This activates the Test mode to prepare to initiate the Force Defrost program. If this combination of buttons doesn’t work, you can try the same with Freezer and Cool Select. 
  2. Press the Freeze button until the “Fd” command is shown on the display. If this doesn’t work, try pressing the Fridge button instead until “Fd” appears.
  3. Once the Force Defrost mode is running, it will run defrost heaters inside the refrigerator, the freezer, the ice maker, and the evaporator system. This will take around an hour but could take longer if you’ve got a large ice build-up.
  4. Disable the Force Defrost mode once the ice maker has been defrosted. Do this by pressing the Energy Saver and Fridge buttons for 8 seconds a second time. Then press the Fridge button, which toggles off the defrost mode and returns the ridge to normal operation. This requires approximately 15 seconds, and then the beeping ceases. 
  5. You may also need to turn off your refrigerator at the mains for 10-20 seconds before turning it back on. This will ensure the defrost mode is fully turned off.
17 Reasons Why Your Samsung Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

17 Reasons Why Your Samsung Refrigerator Isn’t Cooling

There are some obvious reasons why your Samsung fridge isn’t cooling that owners sometimes overlook due to their simplicity. 

  1. The door was left open
  2. Doors opened too frequently (or for too long)
  3. Not securely plugged in
  4. The refrigerator is positioned too near to a heat source
  5. The room temperature outside the refrigerator is too cold
  6. Insufficient clearance space between the refrigerator and walls
  7. Keeping your fridge too empty
  8. An overstuffed refrigerator
  9. Covering the interior vents
  10. Storing hot food in the refrigerator
  11. Failing to use temperature modes and controls properly
  12. Demo mode is ON
  13. Ignoring an error shown on display
  14. Evaporator coils are frosted up
  15. Inferior door seals
  16. A failing defrost heater
  17. Defrost thermostat has failed

1. Door Left Open

It’s easy enough to accidentally fail to close the refrigerator door completely, especially if you were in a rush and just swung it in the right direction. 

How to Fix

Make it a point to close the door more firmly, and get in the habit of checking that it’s closed before leaving the kitchen. 

That way, you know it, and if the fridge remains too warm, you can rule this problem out.

2. Doors Opened Too Frequently

Some of us get into the habit of checking the contents of our refrigerators every time we walk into the kitchen. 

The trouble is that it artificially increases the internal temperature, with the fridge working overtime to keep the interior cool. 

How to Fix

For Samsung Family Hub refrigerators, there is a smartphone feature that lets you see an internal camera view of your fridge’s contents. 

The SmartThings feature must be turned on to see the camera view, but no door opening is required!

For non-Family Hub fridges, you’ll need to be more intentional about how often you open the fridge’s doors and for how long. 

Also, positioning the most consumed items at the front will reduce door opening times.  

3. Not Securely Plugged in

When the fridge isn’t fully plugged into the outlet, it may not receive a consistent supply of electricity to power the unit. 

Alternatively, if you’re using an extension cord and it’s overloaded with demanding appliances or failing to function correctly, the fridge may either be underpowered or only powered some of the time. 

How to Fix

Confirm if the plug is plugged in fully and flush with the outlet. Also, check if the plug is intact and in good order.

If using an extension, is it overloaded with other plugs? 

Try plugging it into a smaller extension or directly into a nearby wall’s power outlet to receive dedicated power. 

This should resolve any intermittent power issues. 

Lastly, verify that the breaker box isn’t having issues either. The breaker wouldn’t have tripped out. Otherwise, the fridge would have no power. 

But maybe there’s been a surge or a spike, and you need a surge protector between the power outlet and the refrigerator’s plug. 

4. Refrigerator is Positioned Too Near to a Heat Source

Position refrigerators away from obvious heat sources. Situating one near a heater or a window that receives sunlight each day means the refrigerator gets overworked trying to keep cool, and it could be a losing battle.

How to Fix

If you’ve realized that this is the issue, then you either need to relocate the refrigerator or add some blinds or other window coverings to deflect the sunlight to keep the kitchen cooler. 

When the window coverings aren’t enough, or you cannot relocate the fridge, you’ll need to reduce the fridge and freezer temperature settings below recommended levels. This will compensate for it. 

As a result, the final internal temperatures in each compartment will not match the settings because the appliance is struggling. 

5. The Room Temperature Outside the Refrigerator is Too Cold

Unheated kitchens or garages during the winter may become unseasonably cold.

A room with an ambient temperature below 13°C / 55°F makes a refrigerator work harder

This ages the refrigerator faster and will make it more difficult to maintain a consistent temperature. 

How to Fix

Avoid locating the fridge in the coldest part of the kitchen or garage if it’s too cold during the winter. 

Instead, move the fridge to a slightly warmer spot or consider adjusting the thermostat in your home.

6. Insufficient Clearance Space Between the Refrigerator & the Walls

Fridges all require clearance space from other obstructions. 

Otherwise, the cooling mechanism that relies on expelling warm air out and away from the appliance will struggle. 

As a result, the fridge will be warmer than it should be. 

How to Fix

Most refrigerators require a good couple of inches of clearance on either side, the back, and on top of the fridge. 

However, a few Samsung fridges can manage with just one inch of space – if you can only provide that much, check your manual to verify if that’s enough. 

If there is less space on one side and more on the other, then even out the space by moving the fridge across to the center.

Also, ensure the appliance isn’t too close to the wall behind it. Otherwise, its condenser coils may struggle to ventilate successfully. 

Read also: How Much Space Do Fridges Need for Ventilation?

Almost empty Samsung refrigerator

7. Keeping Your Fridge Too Empty

If you’re a bit of a frugal shopper, you may only partially fill up your fridge. 

The trouble here is when the refrigerator is consistently less than two-thirds full, there is too much free space. 

Each time the door is opened, these areas fill up with warmer air from the kitchen, with the fridge needing to go into overdrive to cool the interior space down again.

However, when the refrigerator is mostly filled up, there’s little space for warmer air to occupy. 

How to Fix

Avoid allowing your fridge to run nearly empty. Store perishable food items furthest from the door because warm air affects them the most. 

A useful trick if you cannot get to the store frequently, or don’t need all the space you have, is adding filled water bottles to the empty shelves and compartments. 

8. An Overstuffed Refrigerator

Overstocked refrigerators sometimes result from an imminent seasonal holiday, birthday, or special event. 

However, refrigerators – even the latest models – get cooler when food isn’t packed like sardines in a can. This is because cool airflow inside the fridge requires space to move around. 

Otherwise, warm pockets of air develop inside the fridge due to a food and drink blockade in that area and subsequently cause condensation.

How to Fix

Space everything out to allow good airflow, keeping everything cool enough to stay fresher for longer. 

9. Covering the Interior Vents

There are interior vents situated near the back of Samsung fridges. Up until now, you may not even have noticed them. 

Typically, they’re higher up to avoid being covered over. However, if you have boxed wine or something similarly tall, you could have inadvertently covered the vents. 

The air inside the fridge needs room to circulate as well. The vents in the back need the same 2 inches of space to allow the heat to escape to allow cool air to circulate. 

If this isn’t maintained, it’ll become progressively more difficult for the fridge to keep cool enough.

How to Fix

Check the location of the interior air vents. If you cannot see them, check your product manual to confirm their location and try again. 

If you still cannot see them, they’re certainly covered over, and you’ve discovered the problem. 

Rearrange the items in your fridge to remove them from the internal air vents. This will allow more air to circulate and cool as needed. 

10. Storing Hot Food in the Refrigerator

Putting a plate of hot food inside the refrigerator generates extra internal heat – unnecessarily increasing the fridge’s internal temperature. 

Also, from a food safety standpoint, you should allow food to cool to room temperature on the counter before storing it in the fridge. 

Otherwise, you may inadvertently create unwanted food bacteria. 

How to Fix

Keep hot food outside of the fridge. Only place it in the refrigerator once it’s sufficiently cooled. 

11. Failing to Use Temperature Modes and Controls Properly

Samsung refrigerators have precise temperature controls and several modes for speeding up cooling or freezing. 

When setting incorrect temperatures or not using a Power mode to accelerate cooling rates, it’s more challenging for the fridge to do its job. 

Furthermore, some Samsung fridges include a convenient Flex Zone mode for granular temperature controls. Learning about this feature is beneficial if your fridge has this mode included.  

How to Fix

The refrigerator’s internal temperature should be 2°C / 36°F in the fridge and -18°C / 0°F in the freezer compartment. 

This can vary by model, so check your owner’s manual if you have issues at these temperatures.

Power Cool mode improves the cooling. For the freezer, the Power Freeze mode will freeze food faster than it otherwise would. 

However, you shouldn’t leave these settings on for longer than needed.

Also, the Flex Zone mode – included in some Samsung models – allows you to control the temperature in different areas of the fridge. 

These are divided into zones, allowing you to keep some foods cooler than others. 

12. Demo Mode is ON

Demo mode is used in showrooms to engage the interior LED lights of the fridge but disables the cooling functionality. This saves energy and avoids unnecessary wear and tear on the showroom models. 

Demo mode on a Samsung refrigerator is indicated either with OF or OF-OF, or Off (spelled out on the display)

How to Fix

If you’ve discovered that your fridge has slipped somehow into demo mode (playful kids, anyone?!), then you’ll need to disengage it.

The way to disengage it varies between different models. You may need to consult your product manual on this one.

For some models, pressing the Energy Saver and Freezer or Power Freezer buttons simultaneously for 3 seconds will turn off. An audible confirmation should be heard too. 

Another method is to hold down the Alarm and Freezer buttons until a chime sound is heard

Or holding the Freezer, Fridge, and Alarm buttons down for a few seconds is preferred by other Samsung fridge models. 

Additionally, for Family Hub users, engaging the Cooling Mode might fix it if that’s not turned on already. 

Also, the food may have already spoiled depending on how warm the fridge/freezer has become and how long it lasted. 

Refreezing previously frozen food that became partially defrosted can cause food poisoning, so use caution if the fridge hasn’t been cooling or freezing food properly for a long time. 

13. Ignoring an Error Shown on the Display

If you’re busy and have not been in the kitchen often recently, you may have completely missed an error code shown on the display and the audible chiming linked to it. 

Such a code may indicate an issue that’s caused the fridge to cool less efficiently than before. 

Self-testing is performed by Samsung fridges to detect cooling issues when the refrigerator isn’t getting cool enough. This can trigger an error code when the appliance determines the cause. 

How to Fix

Look to see if there’s an error code or other indication of a performance problem. Then, see what you can do to resolve it. 

Allow a day for the temperature issues to resolve themselves after any change that you’ve made; error codes can require a day or two before they disappear too. 

14. Evaporator Coils Are Frosted-up

The evaporator coils are a vital part of the cooling process for Samsung fridges. The fridge cannot cool itself properly if they get frosted up.

Sometimes, this is due to extreme cold during winter. Other times, it may be because of a faulty defrost temperature sensor. 

How to Fix

The best way to fix a frosted-up evaporator coil is to defrost your freezer. Instructions for how to turn on Forced Defrost mode are provided at the top of the article. 

Don’t be tempted by any quick fixes like hair dryers, as these can warp and damage the plastics and metals within the refrigerator.

15. Inferior Door Seals

The door seals, including the rubber gasket often fitted inside each door, should provide a strong air-tight seal. 

These seals are designed to flex and adjust to prevent warm room-temperature air entering the chilled environment. 

Unclean door seals may no longer work as well. Alternatively, if the gasket is bone dry, warped, cut, cracked, or otherwise damaged, it won’t perform its purpose and needs to be replaced. 

How to Fix

Use a piece of paper or a banknote to test how well the seals hold the paper or note in place. Open the door, place the paper across the seal, and close the door. 

When pulling one of these out, you should find some resistance; this is the seal holding reasonably firm. While it won’t stop you from retrieving the item, it should slow it down. 

If it does, the gasket seal is probably fine. However, if it comes out easily, you should look first to clean the seal (and later replace it if it’s still a problem).

Wipe the seals down using a cloth and some mild detergent. This removes bacteria from the surface and improves its ability to secure the door. 

If, when cleaning the gasket, you discover one or more of the gaskets are damaged, replace them. 

16. Failing Defrost Heater

The defrost heater assembly is required to eliminate any frost when it begins to develop. Frost on the evaporator coils, evaporator fan, or elsewhere is removed this way automatically.  

The heater failing or not performing adequately leads to excess frost build-up. As a result, the appliance won’t cool as it should when there’s too much frost. 

How to Fix

You need a professional technician to identify and confirm if this is the cause. If so, a new assembly will need to be sourced and properly installed. 

17. Defrost Thermostat Has Failed

The defrost thermostat is another critical component. If this should fail or show incorrect readings, the thermostat will fail to trigger the defrost heater to fire up and melt the ice. 

Ice can then build up in various places, including the evaporator fan, the coils, etc. 

How to Fix

If a technician confirms this is the cause, a replacement part will be needed to resolve it. 

How to Prevent or Reduce the Frequency of Samsung Fridge Cooling Problems

Here are a few things you can do to have less frequent issues with your Samsung refrigerator not cooling.

Keep it clean – Cleaning the inside of the refrigerator and the compressor coils improves the overall running and efficiency of the fridge. The coils are hidden at the back, so don’t forget them. 

In order for your refrigerator to work at its best, you should clean the condenser coils on your Samsung refrigerator once or twice a year. 

Keep it well stocked, but not overstocked – Fridges become overworked when not filled with food and drinks. 

Storage compartments must be repeatedly cooled each time the door is opened and closed, particularly when they’re mostly empty. 

The same problem occurs if the fridge is stuffed to the brim, reducing airflow and creating warm pockets of moisture.

Avoid overly hot or cold home environments – Positioning the fridge either too near to a heat source or in an environment that’s too cold interferes with a fridge’s cooling ability.

Defrost every quarter – Defrosting the refrigerator regularly removes any ice build-up and can improve its airflow and cooling ability. 

Reset the appliance annually – When a few teething issues crop up periodically, resetting the appliance can work wonders. Check your manual for the correct procedure for your refrigerator model. 

Samsung Refrigerator Not Cooling but Freezer is Fine

There are three major causes of a Samsung fridge that has an operational freezer but isn’t staying cool in the chilled compartments:

Damper Control Assembly Stuck in Closed Position – This assembly is responsible for permitting cold air inside the refrigerator. 

Usually found near the back of the fridge, a stuck damper control will likely require replacement by a professional technician. 

Evaporator Fan Motor Malfunctioning – If this motor is breaking down or about to fail, it won’t keep the evaporator fan spinning quickly enough to keep the fridge cool. 

This will probably need a review by an appliance technician. If found faulty, a replacement will be provided and fitted. 

Frosted Evaporator Coils – When the defrost heater isn’t working correctly, the evaporator coils get frosted. The freezer may still operate fine for a while, but the chilled areas may not. 

Samsung Fridge Not Cooling but Light is on

In some situations, the fridge’s interior LED lights might illuminate, but yet the cooling isn’t working. This can be very frustrating. 

Sometimes, the reason for this is that your freezer is iced up. This leads to issues with the cooling in your chilled food areas too. 

It could also be because the fridge is in DEMO mode – instructions on fixing this are provided earlier in the article.


Can a compressor-related issue cause a Samsung refrigerator to not cool anymore?

The compressor’s pump may not move coolant around successfully enough. As a result, the fridge doesn’t stay cool enough to keep the contents fresh. 

Also, the compressor’s inverter board may have failed. In this case, it’s not operating when it should. Either or both may need replacing by an appliance technician.

Can a power outage confuse a Samsung refrigerator?

A power surge caused by a major storm sometimes affects a refrigerator’s circuit board. Look at your product manual to determine how to reset your refrigerator. 

Is low refrigerant related to refrigerator cooling issues?

It can be. A refrigerant leak does cause subsequent cooling issues. Barring a leak, though, refrigerant isn’t normally consumed through use, and levels should remain constant. 

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Niels Joensen is the founder and chief editor at Niels is a professional painter who runs his own painting company. When not painting he likes to write about home renovation and appliances.