I have a brand new Whirlpool Side By Side Fridge Freezer and it is working as designed, and the temps are within "limits". But there is only one compressor and one cooling function, so while the fridge stays at 40deg, the freezer (after a defrost cycle or after adding/removing contents) will be 20 or 30deg, for example.

My understanding is that in order to have the unit begin cooling, the fridge needs to get warmer. Or if something is blocking the air flow to the freezer, the freezer side won't get cold enough.

I have set the freezer to the coldest setting, but would still like the freezer to be colder. Is there something I can do, something I can block or open, something I can set, etc to get the freezer colder than it is?

My guess is that the only way to do this (since the fridge and freezer are cooled together) would make the fridge cooler than it should be. But maybe someone has a suggestion to get the freezer colder? When the freezer gets like this, ice cream is pretty much soft serve.

Thanks in advance.

  • How do you expect the unit to defrost itself if it never raises temperature? You probably should just get a small chest freezer for the items you want deep frozen.
    – isherwood
    Feb 22, 2019 at 14:17
  • 3
    It depends on the model my side by side has a separate control for the freezer section and the fridge. Could you provide the model number?
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 22, 2019 at 14:19
  • @isherwood A chest freezer can get colder, but a consumer-grade side-by-side should be able to get to 0 F. Feb 22, 2019 at 14:59
  • @manassehkatz, yes, I know this. The reported temps were stated as being after open door and/or defrost. This is common and expected. I've never owned a fridge/freezer that didn't fluctuate like that as part of the defrost cycle. It's good wisdom that nothing should be stored long-term in a fridge/freezer.
    – isherwood
    Feb 22, 2019 at 15:02
  • @isherwood Actually, in addition to a large non-frost-free freezer, and the typical side-by-side in the kitchen, I also have a hand-me-down (long story) top-freezer/bottom-refrigerator, frost-free but keeps things really cold. It is just hard to design a side-by-side to keep things really cold (and refrigerator cold but not frozen) and be energy efficient and not cost a fortune. You end up with these little fans and vents between the two sections that just can't do a "great" job, though if all is working OK (and gaskets good - I've replaced them once) then can do an "OK" job. Feb 22, 2019 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


Measure Properly

Measuring after the door has been open - even for a minute - isn't a fair test.

Put the thermometer in the middle of the freezer. Leave the doors closed for a while - I suggest at least an hour - to let the system recover. Then open and read the temperature. You should get close to 0 F (definitely under 10) in the freezer and between 32 and 40 in the refrigerator.

If the unit is installed correctly - indoors in a climate controlled space (60-75 F) and the temperature is out of spec, then:

Contact the Manufacturer

The unit might actually be defective. Let them do the troubleshooting and send a (no charge) on site technician to check it out. The key is "brand new" - a gasket, compressor, thermostat or other problem is the manufacturer's problem. If it breaks after warranty then DIY will try to help.


This is rather way too late for an answer but just in case if I may indulge. Since this is not discussed anywhere up there reading everything, I should bring it up.

How does a basic fridge/freezer mechanism work in terms of air flow?

The freezer is where everyting happens. The evaporator is in the freezer and condenser and compresser is outside the system in the back down below. This means the freezer is where cold air is produced or you can say where worm air is sucked from the environment (i.e. freezer which inevitabley transfer to fridge department as well) and transferred to the coolent and out and away it goes.

The freezer should at least be 0 degrees if not lower. If the freezer is not cold enough, basically you can tell, your senses and your feel of it all is quiet reliable. This is not your first fridge you have owned and you naturally know who a freezer suppose to feel.

When that icecream is hard and everyting is cold crunchy. I know.

By the way it is easier to keep the fridge cold because it doesn't need to fall to 0 degrees. At the lowest point you don't want it lower than 32, that is for sure.

Your fridge being new as you are mentioning, It is hard to blame defrost system problems, dirty condenser coils, fan failures, leaky door gaskets. After considering and examining these, then you are left what what you see below.

Control module problem. control problems can lead to your freezer not getting cold enough. Just because it is new, doesn't mean too much. It may easily be at fault.

Okay, you take care.


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