Side by Side Refrigerator Is Hot Between Doors

April 22, 2022
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Is it Normal for Sides of Refrigerator to be Hot?

No, it isn't. You likely have a problem that needs to be addressed, and most likely by a professional appliance repair pro.

If you’re worried because your side-by-side refrigerator is hot between the doors or your refrigerator door seems abnormally warm, you might need to get a professional involved. This is true even if your refrigerator temperature and the temperature of your freezer seem to be within normal ranges.

A side by side refrigerator (also called a fridge freezer) has a freezer compartment on one side and a refrigerator compartment on the other side. Each runs vertically down the length of the unit, and each has a dedicated door.

Sometimes the door on your fridge and freezer can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside the refrigerator.

Photo of an open side by side refrigerator

A side by side refrigerator has a refrigerator on one side and a freezer on the other

But sometimes, the area between the fridge door and the freezer door on a side by side or French door refrigerator will get a little warm naturally.

It’s safe to say that it’s normal for the area between the doors on a side-by-side fridge to get a little warm sometimes. But if it’s hot, that’s when you should consider getting help.

Keep reading to learn why the area between the doors or around a door hinge might be hot, what you can do about it, and when to call in the experts.

By the time you finish this article, you should have a reasonably good idea of what might be causing your refrigerator problems and what you can do to fix them.

Possible Causes

Most kitchen appliances are warm to the touch at some point during their operating lifespan. New refrigerators, in particular, usually feel warm, or even hot, during the first few hours of use.

A new fridge or a room temperature refrigerator that was just turned on typically works harder than an old fridge with an ice maker to dispel the heat and get cold air flowing through the appliance. It takes a lot of energy to get the refrigerator compartment cool and the freezer compartment ice cold. So a new fridge will likely feel hot no matter what.

When the heat persists, even in a new refrigerator, the concern comes into play. If something is wrong with the internal organs of the refrigerator, it often displays itself through overheating on the outside.

If the area between the doors on a side-by-side fridge is hot, a few potential issues might explain the phenomenon. Checking them out will help get your fridge operating efficiently.

Normal Fridge Behavior

You might think the area feels a little warm, and that’s not always a cause for concern. It’s pretty standard for the site to feel warm to the touch most of the time.

A warm liquid circulates through the front of the refrigerator to prevent condensation and keep your food fresh for longer. As this happens, the outside of the fridge might feel a little warm.

Even though heat on your fridge could be a sign of something serious, there are also cases when it’s just a normal part of the machine’s function.

Causes for Concern

Sometimes, heat on the outside of a standard or counter depth refrigerator is a bad sign. When you feel like the area between the doors is hot, your fridge could be experiencing some problems.

Usually, heat occurs as a result of an air flow issue. The condenser coils in the fridge are responsible for moving hot air from the appliance, and when they clog, the get dirty. These dirty condenser coils result in heat being stored up in your fridge.

Even a durable stainless steel fridge may experience airflow issues. If you have any problems with the coils or with the condenser fan, the refrigerator will likely feel very hot to the touch.

Your fridge will overheat if the coils are clogged or the fan motor malfunctions. When this happens, the risk is that your fridge might be damaged permanently. Photo of a stainless steel side by side refrigerator

A side by side refrigerator with the refrigerator on the right and the freezer on the left

An overheating fridge could also result in a fire hazard. When the refrigerator compressor overheats, it could lead to an electrical short, leading to a fire in your home.

Paying attention to a warning sign like heat between the doors on a side-by-side refrigerator could spare you from expensive repairs and even property destruction.

Possible Fixes

When you notice that your fridge is overheating or that parts of it feel very hot, you might be able to solve the problem yourself as long as you’re willing to get your hands dirty and learn how to take parts of your refrigerator apart.

If you think your fridge might need some help, start paying closer attention. You probably don’t want to disassemble anything if you only notice it getting hot once.

But if you spend a couple of days observing it and the pattern seems persistent, it might be time to break out the tool belt and start taking things apart.

Check the Condenser Coil

If the problem has to do with the condenser coil, and this is likely the case, you can start by simply cleaning it out with a brush. You don’t necessarily have to replace the coil right away; a simple cleaning might do the trick.

Check the Condenser Fan

The other likely culprit is the condenser fan. If cleaning out the coil does not seem to fix the problem, you might be dealing with a damaged fan.

You should be able to feel the air going over the refrigerator coils when you inspect it. You probably need to get to the condenser fan if this is not happening.

Make sure you unplug the refrigerator before checking out the fan. On the off chance that it starts up, you don’t want to be digging around inside the fridge when that happens.

It could be that the fan is simply out of line. You can manually turn the blades and then plug the fridge back in to see what happens.

If the fan is not functioning after this, you will probably have to call in some expert help. It might be a simple fix, like something stuck or clogged. But it might be damaged or old and need replacing.

When to Call a Professional

Ben - from Ben's Appliances and Junk in Ohio Diagnoses a fridge that is hot between doors

Doing these things yourself often feels good and gives you more confidence as the owner of big appliances. But some fixes simply need professional help and it might be time to call the appliance repair pros. They deal with defective home appliances day in and day out and likely have you back up and running much more quickly than you can by trying to figure things out yourself.

Photo of a modern kitchen with side by side refrigerator and wall oven

Call an appliance repair pro if you can’t diagnose the problem and fix it yourself

If you’ve taken the plunge and tried to fix the refrigerator on your own and still experience the area between the doors getting hot, it’s probably time to call in an expert.

A professional will be able to diagnose the problem, get you a straightforward solution, and probably even take care of it on the spot.

If you’re concerned that your fridge needs to be replaced, having a professional’s opinion could be the difference between buying a new part and buying a completely new appliance.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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