How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold?

As one of the most common kitchen appliances, refrigerators play an essential role in keeping foodstuffs fresh and safe for human consumption.

You can keep perishables, such as vegetables, fruits and cooked food, fresher for longer by storing them in a cold environment.

Refrigerators are designed to help users create the right environment for storing perishables, by maintaining cold temperatures consistently.

If you have just bought a new refrigerator and would like to know how long it will take to get cold, you have come to the right place!

Read on below to find out more about how long it should take for your new fridge to cool to the right temperature.

Table of Contents

How Long Should A Fridge Run When First Plugged In?

Once you have received your refrigerator, it is recommended that you wait for a while before plugging it in. Refrigerators normally rely on the proper working of special fluids to create and maintain a cold internal environment.

During transportation, the fluids in your refrigerator are bound to have been shaken out of place. To ensure that the appliance works correctly when switched on, it is recommended that you leave it to stand for at least 4 to 6 hours before plugging it in.

After all the fluids are settled, it is time to plug in the unit.

After plugging in the unit, expect it to run for about 24 hours to get to the correct temperature. The main reason why refrigerators run for this amount of time is to ensure that it reaches a point where it can maintain the pre-set temperature consistently.

How Long Does It Take For A New Refrigerator To Get Cold?

In most cases, it usually takes up to 24 hours for a new fridge to cool down and maintain the pre-set temperature, suitable for the storage of perishables.

However, after plugging in a new unit for the first time, you can open the door and use your hand to feel whether it is getting cold after about 3 to 4 hours.

It is important to note that the time it takes a fridge to get cold is dependent on a few important factors. These include its brand, size and weight.

Be sure to check the information provided by your unit’s manufacturer for the exact amount of time it should take to get cold.

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Put Food In A New Refrigerator?

Your new refrigerator must be cold enough before you start loading it up with foodstuffs and/or other suitable perishables.

To slow down the growth of harmful bacteria in your foodstuffs, it is recommended that you store it at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

As such, you should give the refrigerator ample time to cool down to this temperature; achieved in about 3 to 4 hours in most cases. Similarly, before loading up the freezer, it is recommended that you allow it to cool down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit first.

Can You Use A New Fridge Immediately?

Before using a new refrigerator, it is important that you give it some time to cool down to the right temperature. After being plugged in, it normally takes up to 24 hours for a new refrigerator to maintain the optimum/pre-set temperature.

With that in mind, it is recommended that you leave a new refrigerator running for up to 24 hours before loading it up with perishables and/or other foodstuffs.

Why Would A Refrigerator Not Get Cold?

New refrigerators should be cold and ready for use in a matter of hours. If your unit is struggling to reach the pre-set temperature, something must be wrong.

In most cases, new fridges are delivered in perfect working condition; if your unit is not getting cold, it might be due to one of the following reasons:

Damaged Door Seal

A damaged door seal can cause your new appliance to cool much slower than normal; this means that it will struggle to reach the pre-set temperature. Keeping the fridge door open for extended periods can also cause it to not get cold within the normal amount of time.

Blocked Air Vent

A blocked air vent can also cause your refrigerator to overheat, making it harder for the unit to get cold. Avoid positioning your new fridge too close to walls to keep it from overheating.

Loading up your refrigerator with hot items may also make it hard for the unit to maintain consistently cold temperatures. Such items will raise the unit’s temperature, making the unit work harder, and longer, to maintain the optimum temperature. Before loading any food into your new fridge, make sure that the food is at room temperature first.


A refrigerator can help you reduce food wastage by extending the life of perishable foodstuffs. However, to get the best out of your new refrigerator, for as long as possible, it is important that you follow the right steps when it comes to preparing it for first-time use, plugging it in and loading it up with foodstuffs.

Maire Shield

Maire Shield worked for 15 years as an interior design consultant in Albuquerque and is now retired after selling her business. She now shares her experience and knowledge through blogging to help other people create a beautiful home for themselves.

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