How To Make A Mini Fridge Colder (Here's What You Can Do)
The mini fridge is a useful invention, whether you simply don’t have space for an actual refrigerator or need to transport cold products.
For the mini-fridge to operate at maximum efficiency, it has to be level and upright out of direct sunlight, plugged directly into an outlet, have a secure door seal, and not be sitting on a carpeted surface. Check to see if your model’s condenser coils need cleaned and do so with a soft brush after removing the base panel. To add refrigerant, attach a piercing valve with an adapter and a conversion valve to inject small amounts of refrigerant at a time. If nothing else, it might be time to replace the fridge.
If these 8 steps are followed, your mini-fridge should function at the lowest possible temperature.
What You Might Need
- Multi-tip screwdriver
- Replacement gasket
- Vacuum cleaner with a soft brush, or a maintenance brush
- Piercing valve
- Conversion valve
- Allen wrench or hex key
- Refrigerant, most commonly Freon
Make Sure Your Mini Fridge Is Upright and Level
This may seem obvious, but if your mini fridge is on its side for any length of time it can allow oil from the compressor into the cooling lines.
If it has been laying sideways, just set your mini fridge upright for 24 hours before plugging it in. While this will let the oil drain, it may still take a few days to get as cold as possible.
The Importance of Being Level
If your mini fridge is not set on a level surface, the door may not seal correctly. The contents within could concentrate in one area as well, reducing air flow.
If it can’t be level due to an issue with the legs, simply use a screwdriver and adjust the length until the mini fridge sits evenly.
Keep it Out of Direct Sunlight and Away from Heat Sources
Placing your mini fridge in the path of sunlight or near a source of heat, such as an oven or a heat lamp, can affect the internal temperature.
The ideal temperature setting for your mini fridge is an area between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use an Outlet, Not an Extension Cord
This may seem unimportant, but an extension cord might not carry enough of an electrical current to your mini fridge.
To avoid this issue, make sure that you plug your mini fridge into a functioning outlet.
Avoid a Carpeted Surface
Because the compressor and condenser, which control the internal temperature, are on the bottom of the mini fridge, carpet can greatly affect the coldness.
On top of that, though, carpet underneath a mini fridge could be burned. A piece of vinyl or linoleum is recommended between the layers if there is no other option.
Is the Seal Secure?
If your mini fridge isn’t getting cold enough, the seal, also known as the gasket, of your mini fridge might be loose or bad. This is an easy fix.
Underneath the gasket are a series of screws holding it in place. If these are loose, simply lift up the gasket and use the screwdriver to tighten them.
If your gasket is dry or brittle, you have two options. The first is to just replace it by unscrewing the old one and screwing in a new one.
This will fix the issue, but there is a cheaper alternative.
Clean The Seal
If your seal is dry or won’t hold the door closed, there is a more economical solution that might work in just a few steps.
- Wipe your gasket with warm, soapy water.
- Dry it off. A paper towel or microfiber cloth will work for both of these steps.
- Coat the gasket in Vaseline. Use enough to rub into the seal, but be careful not to use too much.
If done properly, the seal should hold the door closed!
Clean the Condenser Coils
A possible cause for the mini fridge not being cold enough could be that the internal coils are dirty. In order to clean the coils, follow these steps:
- Disconnect the mini fridge from any power source.
- Remove the grill at the base of the fridge. Push in on the top of the grill while pulling up on the bottom.
- Using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush or a coil brush, such as a Whirlpool Maintenance Brush, clean behind the grill and the grill itself.
- Line up the support tabs and push firmly to snap the grill back into place.
If done properly, the coils should be cleaned and the fridge should be cold once more.
How Often Should I Clean My Fridge?
An important note is that some mini fridges don’t need to be cleaned. Check the manual to see if yours does.
If needed, the condenser coils should be cleaned every 2 to 3 months.
Check the Level of Refrigerant
This step is saved for last, because it can be cheaper to replace the whole mini fridge than to add refrigerant. Before doing anything, consult the manual and find out if your brand even uses refrigerant, as some modern models don’t.
- Locate the panel, usually on the backside, and remove it. As with the coils, it could simply pop off or you might need a screwdriver.
- You should see the compressor and a refrigerant tube. The refrigerant gauge will only work with the fridge plugged in, so make sure it’s low before continuing.
- Use a piercing valve to access the tube. This may require an adapter, but once you’ve found the right fit just tighten it on with an allen wrench.
- With the piercing valve in place, you have to attach a conversion valve to add refrigerant. The most common one if Freon. This is where to get Freon, if your model needs it.
- With both valves in place, begin adding the refrigerant. It’s best to add small amounts at a time to avoid excess refrigerant that would have to be removed.
- With the refrigerant refilled, close the piercing valves and remove the gauge, adapter, and hose.
- Place the cap on the piercing valve, so that it can be used in the future, and replace the panel on your fridge.
Your Mini Fridge Might Be Old
If none of the other steps have worked, it might be time to get a new one. You could have it repaired, but the cost might not be worth it.
Depending on the quality of your mini fridge, it should last between 6 and 14 years. It’s best to replace it after 10 years either way, though.
After 10 years, even the best mini fridge will begin to encounter more problems, like faster condensation and lower maximum temperatures.
Why is my mini fridge making popping sounds?
This can be caused by a number of issues, including the compressor, but the most likely cause is thermal expansion as the temperature adjusts.
What’s the best mini fridge on the market?
The Black and Decker BCRK25B was voted the best choice, with the RCA RFR322-B mini fridge not far behind.
We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.
More by Upgraded Home Team