Is there something wrong with my Sub-Zero Refrigerator?

You set the temp in your fridge at 38°F, but every time you go into the fridge, you see the temperature off, sometimes +/- 5°F. What gives?
First, you can relax; this is normal, your Sub-Zero fridge is not broken.

Knowing the basics of your refrigerator is essential to maintaining this type of high-end appliance. Familiarizing yourself with the basic functioning of your Sub-Zero refrigerator will give you a better understanding what’s normal behavior, and help you identify when your Sub-Zero needs to be serviced. So let’s cover some of ins-and-outs of your Sub-Zero refrigerator.

What temperature should my refrigerator be set to?

Set your fridge temp to 38°F. While you can set the temperature higher or lower, be advised, a temperature above 45°F is not safe. According to the FDA, food stored at temperatures above 45°F for more than two hours will spoil. Warm food allows for bacteria &/or mold to develop, leading to foul odors and potential foodborne illness.

Why is the temperature of my refrigerator fluctuating?

The temperature in your fridge will fluctuate, anywhere between +/- 5°F from where you have set it. The refrigerator’s temperature will fluctuate a bit as it reaches the inputted temperature setting, and can take up to 24 hours to stabilize. Other factors that can cause the refrigerator temperature to fluctuate could be the level of humidity in the fridge and the temperature of the kitchen itself, excessively hot or particularly cold. Everyday actions as simple as opening and closing the door will cause fluctuations. An empty fridge or a recently stocked fridge might result in these fluctuations. All of this is a normal part of your fridge’s operation.

What’s not normal are fluctuations over +/- 5°F. If your fridge gets too cold, you’ll freeze the contents; if your fridge gets too warm, you’re courting spoilage and possible foodborne illness. If you notice your fridge fluctuating outside the norms, or not maintaining an average temperature, either consistently being too cold (lower than 33°F) or too warm (higher than 43°F) then you have a problem on your hands.

Could be as simply as checking to see that the refrigerator door both closes properly and maintains a tight seal; if it’s not, you’ll want to get that serviced. Another thing to check: the condenser coils. Are they dusty and dirty and filthy? The condenser is what removes heat from your refrigerator allowing it to stay cool. If the condenser coils are caked with dust and dirt, heat can’t escape properly causing your temperature problem. Clean the coils as best you can and see if that solves your problem.

If neither of these tips solves the problem of extreme temperatures in your fridge, it’s time to get a professional in to service it. Sorting out minor problems as they happen saves you money before a minor inconvenience turns into a major repair job.


How’s your fridge functioning? If you’re having issues, Appliance Doctor can repair your high end appliance.

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