Tip & How-To about Refrigerators

Refrigerator Trouble The Outside of Refrigerator Hot

There are many reasons why the outside of a refrigerator can be hot. Some of these are for good reasons and some of these can be cause for concern because they are signals of trouble or impending trouble.

First let's look at the good reasons for why the refrigerator outside cabinet could be hot.

Because of the cold inside of the refrigerator the out side of the refrigerator will sweat or even get frosted if the metal surface is not heated. To keep the sides heated there are either parts of the condenser coil or electric heating elements in the sides of the unit. The center post of side by side refrigerators is heated by electric heating coils. These feature keep refrigeration units dry, especially in warm humid climates. Most of these features can be turned of and on by using the energy saver switch or the condensation switch, whatever the unit maker has chosen to call it.

Now, if your refrigerator is hotter then normal on the outside, it can be an indication that your are either having problems or about to have problems. These problems can be simple or they can be serious.

If you have left the door open and the refrigerator has had to run for a long time then the sides could get hotter then normal.

If you have just placed a large amount of hot food in the refrigerator then the extra run time to cool the food can cause it to heat up.

If the door seals are bad then the refrigerator will run more and cause excess heat.

If your condenser coils are plugged with dust bunnies so big you can name them, the heat is not being removed by the condenser coil and so the sides are getting too much heat and the refrigerator is running too long, causing a compounding of your problems.

Refrigerator Condenser Coil Cleaning Refrigerator Repair

These are the simple things... the effects are either temporary or can be fixed easily.

Now for the problems that can cause too much heat but are much more difficult to fix.

The condenser fan has gone bad and stopped causing the condenser coils not to do their job and the excess heat to be transferred to the sides of the refrigerator. If the condenser fan is not running but the refrigerator compressor is, then the fan motor will need to be replaced. This is not a real hard job, but it is tight quarters in there and it will take some time and a lot of patience for most refrigeration units.

The worst case is if the refrigeration system of your refrigerator has developed a leak and because of this the compressor is running longer then normal and also is not cooling the unit properly. Because of the higher temperatures inside the refrigerator and the continued heat from it cooling a little bit the sides or especially the electrically heated parts, like the center post, will heat up rapidly and get much hotter then normal. To fix this problem will require a licensed tech. Who can identify the leak and repair it. Then vacuum the refrigeration system and recharge it again.


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1 Answer

i have a side by side and the divider between the doors is hot to touch what would cause that?

Here is a tip that I wrote about the reasons why the sides and/or seals couldbe getting hot on your refrigerator.

RefrigeratorTrouble The Outside of Refrigerator Hot

Jul 24, 2011 | Kenmore Side by Side Refrigerator

1 Answer

What causes the metal strip that the door magnets use to get hot.


Here is a tip that I wrote about the reasons why the sides and/or seals could be getting hot on your refrigerator.

Refrigerator Trouble The Outside of Refrigerator Hot


Jan 28, 2011 | Amana Refrigerators

1 Answer

refrigerator gets hot on left outside

There are a couple of things that could cuase this and neither are anything to worry about.
One cause could be a heat strip to keep the outside of the refrigerator from sweating.
The other is the the condenser coils sometimes are run up the side of the unit to cool the freon and disipate heat.
As long as everything else is working properly I would not be concerned about the warmth. It is "normal".

Hopefully this will help you solve your question.

Thanks for using Fixya!!


Nov 23, 2009 | Refrigerators

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