How Long Does it Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold | Expert Guide


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Buying a new refrigerator is a good idea to store the groceries for a specific time. Mostly, people prefer to buy grocery items in large quantities to save their precious time. However, if you are unaware of the proper temperature for their storage or don’t know “how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold?” there is a risk of spoilage.  On average, full-size refrigerators take 12 hours to cool down. However, cooling time varies drastically by refrigerator type and brand, with some taking as long as 24 hours. Consumers need to understand the different types of fridges on offer before purchasing to ensure that their fridges will meet all needs without consuming too much energy. It requires them constantly check up on it to keep food safe temperatures within recommended ranges.

To prevent any damage to your eatables, it is necessary to know the cooling time of a refrigerator. A proper low temperature that prevents bacterial growth is needed to make the groceries safe. Here is all about the effective cooling process of a refrigerator; let us dive deep!

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

how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold

Refrigerator Temperature Stabilization Period

Usually, it takes about 3 to 24 hours for the refrigerator to get cold. However, certain factors may change this temperature. A full-size refrigerator takes about 12 hours to get cold, but let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours for proper functioning. The mini-fridge gets cold quickly, and usually, 4 hours are enough for their effective cooling. After that, the temperature should be stabilized to the default temperature (37 degrees). 

Optimum Temperature is Necessary

Optimum temperature is necessary for the safe storage of eatables. According to the FDA, the recommended food-safe temperature is 40F. At this temperature, your food would not deteriorate. 

Factors that Impact on How Long Refrigerators Take to Cool

how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold

Certain factors affect the refrigerator’s cooling time. It is crucial to learn about all these factors for safe food storage and the proper functioning of the refrigerator. 

Refrigerator Size 

Mostly, the large refrigerators take more time to get cold as compared to the mini-size refrigerators. As mentioned above, large refrigerators take almost 12 hours to gain the ideal temperature, while the mini size does the same in almost 4 hours. So, the size affects the cooling time.

Temperature of Your Home

The cooling time for the refrigerator depends on the external temperature. You may check for the ideal room temperature from the user manual of the fridge. It would take more time to get cold in the open area as compared to the congested area. 

Sun Exposure

If you store the refrigerator in such a place exposed to the sunshine, it will not cool properly. Avoid sun exposure to the refrigerator for an effective cooling process.


The transportation of the refrigerator from the shop to home also affects the cooling process. If you transport it in a roofless truck, it would be hot and will take time to get cold properly. However, if you do the same in a closed truck, the cooling time would be less. 


The product brand also has an impact on the cooling time. This time may vary from brand to brand. It is important to read the user manual guide for proper instruction about the cooling time.

Model and Condition

Another contributing factor in the cooling time is the model of the refrigerator. Different models of the same brand may take different times to get cold properly. Moreover, the physical condition, i.e., old or new, would also affect the cooling time.

Food Stuffed

The empty refrigerator will get cold quickly as compared to the stuffed one. So, keep in mind to run it empty before stuffing it with food. In this way, you would see better results.

Frequency of the Door Opening

The fridge may take more time to get cold if you keep on opening and closing its door frequently. Keep the door closed until the refrigerator gets cold properly. 

How to Improve Refrigerator’s Cooling Efficiency

Here are some of the important tips to speed up the cooling process.

Keep the Door Closed

The foremost thing to make the cooling process quick and seamless is to keep the door shut for maximum time. Whenever you open the door, you let the warm air in and cold air out. This affects the cooling time. So, try to keep the refrigerator gate shut for less cooling time. 

Keep the Clogged Coils Clean 

The dirty, clogged coils affect the cooling time, so try to keep them neat and clean for effective cooling. Clean the dust and dirt after certain intervals to keep them clean. 

Sufficient Airflow

Efficient airflow is crucial for an effective cooling process to keep the refrigerator slightly away from the wall for adequate airflow. This thing would not let the compressor overheat, and it would work efficiently.

Sufficient Electricity

Sometimes, you do not plug the refrigerator properly, which affects its cooling time. You may commit another mistake of plugging in the refrigerator with other appliances in the same switch. Avoid committing this mistake and always plug the refrigerator in a separate strip for maximum results.

Room Temperature 

Try to store the refrigerator in such a room that it is not too hot. A high-temp room will trouble the fridge to attain the optimum cooling temperature. So, consider its storage in an airy and low-temperature room. 

Consider Brand, Make, and the Model of Refrigerator 

As mentioned above, the refrigerator’s brand, model, and physical condition affect the cooling process. So, select a reliable, well-known, and old brand that supplies the best products forever. Choosing a perfect brand will also help you claim any fault as their products are reliable and guaranteed. 

Put an Ice-Block

If you want your refrigerator to get cold quickly, put an ice bag or ice block in it. It would help it in attaining the optimal temperature quickly and easily. 

How Long Does it Take for a Refrigerator to Get Cold: FAQs 

How Long Should a Refrigerator Run When First Plugged In?

The refrigerator compressor needs to run enough before you put food in it. Read the user manual for proper guidance as the plugging in time varies from brand to brand and models to models. However, it usually takes 3 to 12 hours for a fridge to get cold enough. Moreover, it needs about 24 hours to achieve the optimal temperature for effective food storage. 

How long do you have to wait before putting food in a new refrigerator?

Usually, a large-size refrigerator takes 3 to 12 hours to get cold properly, while a mini-size refrigerator would do the same within a maximum of 4 hours. So, you have to wait for 12 and 4 hours respectively. 

How long does it take for a refrigerator to make ice?

After you have plugged in the refrigerator, it would take almost 3 to 12 hours. The ice maker would make the ice after this time effectively.

How long does a 3-way fridge take to get cold?

A three-way refrigerator or fridge would cool down properly within 4 to 8 hours. Unlike a single compressor that takes a little time to cool, it takes more time to get cool.

Can we use the new fridge immediately?

No, you cannot use a new refrigerator immediately after transportation. During the transportation, the fridges are shaken and need some rest before plugging in. If you transport the appliance upright, let it rest for at least one hour. On the contrary, if it is transported on its side, turn it upright and then rest for a min 4 hrs. 

Can I plug in my new fridge?

Don’t plug in the new fridge immediately; let it rest for 1 hour if transported upright and 4 hours if transported on its side.

How can I make my fridge ice faster?

Follow these tips to boost up the ice-making process.

  • Avoid opening the door again and again.
  • Keep the clogged coils clean.
  • Store the fridge in an airy room.
  • Avoid sun exposure.
  • Consider putting an ice block if you want quick results.

How long before the new ice-maker fills with water?

For your safety, wait for at least 24 hours, after turning the ice maker on, it will take 1 ½ hours to make the ice. 

How long does it take to make ice in a Whirlpool refrigerator?

It takes 6-12 hours for a Whirlpool refrigerator to make ice after the installation.

Does an RV refrigerator work better on gas or electricity?

It is best to use the RV refrigerator for the gas power as it keeps all your drinks cold in the best way. 

Why is my gas fridge not getting cold?

If your freezer fan is running, but the fridge compartment is not getting cold, your compressor needs to reset. Go for its resetting in this case. 

How can I make my 3-way fridge more efficient?

You can make your 3-way fridge more efficient by considering installing a 12V fan and avoiding sun exposure.


It is obvious from the discussion that certain things are compulsory to learn before you stuff your refrigerator with groceries. Proper knowledge about the cooling process, cooling time, and effective measures in this regard is crucial for the maximum performance of your fridge. So, try to select the one reliable and trusted brand and read out their user manual for the best results. Moreover, try to follow the tips mentioned above to reduce the cooling time. 

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