While your fridge's job is to keep things cold, this doesn't mean that the appliance itself will always feel cool to the touch. There are times when the outside of a fridge can feel warm or even hot. This is often just a temporary issue. However, sometimes it is a sign that your fridge has a problem.
Why does your fridge feel hot on the outside and do you need to do anything about it?
Your Fridge Is Working Overtime
During normal operation, a fridge works quietly in the background. All it has to do is to keep cold food and drinks cool. It doesn't need to put an enormous amount of effort into this under standard conditions.
However, sometimes, a fridge has to boost itself up to make sure it stays cool inside. For example, this can happen in the following situations:
- You've opened and closed the fridge door a lot recently and it needs to regulate its internal temperature.
- You've just filled the fridge after a shopping trip and the fridge has to work hard to get all its contents to the right temperature.
In these situations, the fridge's compressor has to do more work to regulate the internal temperature quickly. As the compressor kicks in, it can heat up. This heat can transfer to the sides of the fridge so that you can feel it from the outside of the appliance.
This heat usually sorts itself out on its own. After a few hours, the fridge should get things under control again and the sides should cool down.
Your Fridge Doesn't Have Enough Space
Fridges give off heat as they work. This heat usually dissipates into the environment around the fridge so effectively that you don't notice it.
However, this only works if there is enough space around the fridge for air to circulate. If your fridge is too close to a wall or cabinet, then hot air can get trapped. This can make the fridge feel hot.
If you move the fridge to give it more space, then this heat problem should get better. Manufacturers recommend clearance space for their products so it's best to stick to these measurements if you can.
Your Fridge Needs a Repair
Sometimes, a fridge heats up on the outside because of a fault or broken part. For example, this can happen if there is a problem with the condenser system. Dirty tubes or coils will heat up more than they should; condenser fans that aren't running right can't cool as they should. Or, if your compressor has a problem that makes it overwork, then your fridge will heat up and stay hot.
If you can't see an obvious reason why your fridge feels hot to the touch, then contact a fridge repair service. They can work out where the problem lies.