Why Does My Mini Refrigerator Not Cool Down?

A compact refrigerator, or mini-refrigerator, is designed for small spaces, especially apartments or dorm rooms, or for specific purposes such as a beverage refrigerator. These refrigerators still operate like normal refrigerators and help keep your food items cool. If your compact refrigerator is not cooling down, troubleshoot and repair this common issue to avoid costly service fees.

Common Issues

Repair compact refrigerator cooling issues yourself and save money.

If your compact refrigerator isn’t cooling down, lower the temperature setting on the thermostat. See if the doors are completely closed. If not, move any objects preventing the doors from closing. Do not place large items near the rear of the refrigerator, as this hinders airflow. Verify that you have at least 1 inch of clearance on all sides of the refrigerator. If you just added a lot of food to the refrigerator, let the refrigerator cool down for at least four hours. Allow up to 24 hours for it to cool down after you first install the refrigerator.

No Power at All

Check your home power if your mini-refrigerator isn’t cooling down. Check that the power cord fits snugly into the outlet. Test the outlet with another appliance to see if the outlet's working properly. Check your home fuses, and replace any blown fuses. If you have circuit breakers instead of fuses, reset any tripped circuit breaker. See if the temperature control button is actually turned on.


If your compact refrigerator is cooling, but not enough, check the condenser, condenser coils and evaporator coils. Frost or debris can build up on these components, causing them to work inefficiently. Use a soft brush or cloth to clean off the components. If the evaporator coils have a lot of frost buildup, you could have a problem with your self-defrosting system. Check the defrost timer, defrost thermostat and defrost heater with a multimeter to see if they have continuity. If not, replace these components since you usually can’t repair them.


If your refrigerator is running but not getting cold, see if the door gaskets are properly attached. If they are falling off, reattach them. If the gaskets are worn or broken, get new ones from a refrigerator parts dealer. See if the hinges are properly installed, and tighten the screws if the hinges are loose. The compressor is located behind the refrigerator. If the compressor is making a lot of noise or not working at all, it’s defective. This is a major repair. If you cannot change out the compressor yourself, take your refrigerator to a repair person.

About the Author

Misty Faucheux became a freelance writer in 1998 and has been an editor since 2004. She has written for a variety of websites and blogs, specializing in topics ranging from digital photography to computer systems to digital media. Faucheux received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Loyola University New Orleans.