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How Warm Should a Refrigerator Get During Defrost Cycle?

Refrigerators are the best appliance to keep the quality of your food intact. It works on the mechanism of retrieving heat and introducing cold air in it. The process completes by some dedicated parts that need to be clean and functional to perform well.

Defrosting cycle keeps refrigerators functional for longer times.

What is defrost cycle in a refrigerator?

A refrigerator works by removing heat inside the freezer chamber. It makes the freezer colder to sustain the quality of the food kept inside it.

There is an evaporator in refrigerators. It gets cold while performing this task.

Now, in the process of opening and closing refrigerators, steams can enter the freezer. When this steam comes in contact with the evaporator coil, it becomes frosty.

If this frost stays there, it can eventually turn into ice and stop the function of the evaporator. It will cause the foods inside the freezer to decay due to the absence of enough cold temperature.

The defrost cycle is the cycle that melts the frost or build-up ice in the evaporator and keeps its functioning.

How warm should a refrigerator get during defrost cycle?

The temperature that is ideal for refrigerators to function ranges from 15 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. During defrost cycle, this temperature increases up to 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And the duration is around 18 minutes to 30 minutes maximum.

Different refrigerators have different time cycles and temperature modes for their defrosting process. The freezer and fridge work at two different temperatures. The freezer needs less temperature than the fridge compartment to function.

Refrigerator temperature during defrost cycle:

The defrost cycle for Samsung refrigerators takes around 20 minutes. And if you are performing forced defrosting, it will take around 30 minutes.

The temperature rises during this time. But you do not have to empty the fridge for the cycle to complete.

Foods stay good for this time inside the fridge. Samsung fridge works in an ideal way at the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the fridge can rise from 38 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during defrost cycle.

Freezer temperature during defrost cycle:

The freezer compartment of any refrigerator works at low temperatures. Preserve fast-decaying food items like fish, meat, dairy products, etc., in this part.

The ideal working temperature of Samsung freezers is -2 degrees Fahrenheit. During the defrosting cycle, the temperature rises a bit in the freezer as well. It can increase up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit maximum.

The defrost cycle of the freezer also takes around 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

Why does a refrigerator get warm during defrost cycle?

The mechanism of the evaporator in refrigerators is simple yet powerful.

The evaporator suctions the heat of the fridge and freezer and makes the environment inside the refrigerator cold. In turn, it keeps the materials fresh and frosty. That is, it prevents them from rotting or decaying.

The whole refrigerator works on the mechanism of the evaporator. When the outside heat and steam enter the refrigerator, it builds frost and ice on the evaporator. It causes the evaporator not to function in its way. Thus the heat retrieval from the refrigerator is stopped.

During defrost cycle, the evaporator works to melt the ice built in it. It takes some time. So, during this time, the refrigerator can get warm. But it stays warm for some time.

After the defrost cycle, the temperature rises to the ideal temperature where it can work in the previous manner of making the inside of refrigerators cold.

Why is my freezer too warm during defrost cycle? What to do?

The condenser and evaporator in refrigerators work simultaneously to keep the heat out and create a cold environment. The condenser provides a cold environment. The evaporator retrieves the heat.

Freezers can become warm due to various reasons. Some of them are:


Dirty condenser coils:

Dirt can prevent the condenser coil from functioning and keep the temperature cool inside.

Stuck defrost timer:

This timer helps the machine switch from cooling to defrosting mode. It can get stuck or shows error. In that case, the evaporator freezes, and the circulation of cold air in the unit stop.

Temperature sensor:

Faulty temperature sensors can cause refrigerators to warm up during defrost cycle.

Defrost thermostat:

It gives a signal to the defrost mode and shuts it down when temperature build-up. When this thermostat stops working, the heater does not receive any power.


Clean condenser coils:

You will find the condenser in the rear part of the refrigerator Access this condenser and clean it along with the adjacent areas.

Mark the defrost timer:

To check the movement of the defrost timer, mark the shaft and check after some time to see its movement. Replace the timer if it stays stationary the whole time.

Replacing sensor:

The temperature sensor needs to be replaced or repaired for the refrigerator to cool down and not become warm.

Repairing thermostat:

In case the defrost thermostat becomes dysfunctional, call an expert and repair it. You can also replace it for better results.

Why isn’t my refrigerator temperature not increasing during the defrost cycle?

Defrost cycle occurs in certain intervals in modern appliances. And during this cycle, the temperature of the refrigerator can rise for some time. Until the defrost cycle ends, the temperature rises and then goes back to normal after the completion.

No increase in the temperature content of the refrigerator indicates that your appliance is not defrosting properly.


The defrosting of the evaporator indicates that the heat is in use for melting frosts in it. As such, the temperature of the compartment where the foods are kept rises. The temperature can rise to 45 degrees Fahrenheit during defrost cycle.

 If the temperature is not rising during defrost cycle, it indicates a problem in the defrost mechanism.

The reason might lie in the defrost thermostat, timer, or sensor. The evaporator might not be working. The wrong information on these meters does not facilitate the defrost process.


To solve the issue of defrosting mechanism, check on the problem source.

You can reboot your refrigerator. That is, you can turn it off and again turn it on after some time. But it will give you a temporary solution.

To get permanent solutions, call for an expert or send your refrigerator to the repair store.

The sooner you solve this problem, the better the longevity of the appliance is restored. And the evaporator and condenser will work better to keep the foods inside refrigerators cold and fresh. 

How long and how often does the refrigerator defrost cycle run?

The duration and time interval of defrost cycles differ from model to model. Companies manufacture their refrigerators according to their working mechanism.

You have to read the manual before you start your refrigerator for its proper maintenance.

On average, the defrost cycle of refrigerators that are auto occurs every 8 – 10 hours. And the duration of this cycle ranges from 25 minutes to 30 minutes. During this time, the regular working mechanism of the refrigerator stops.

But this time may differ for different modes and models of refrigerators. But this process is necessary for the proper functionality of the refrigerator.

How do you know if your freezer is in defrost mode?

When a refrigerator goes in auto defrost mode, it shows some signs or makes some subtle noises. These indicators indicate that the machine is in defrost mode.

For example, you can see ice build-up in your freezer. When the ice appears to be melting and dripping water, then it is in the defrost mode.

Moreover, you can feel a chilly vibe when you open a refrigerator. During defrost mode, you will not feel this chilliness as the temperature inside the refrigerator rises.

The most visible cue for the defrost mode is the sound of water dripping in a dripping container or pan. The ice-melting water then evaporates from this pan.

How do you know if your fridge is stuck in defrost?

You will know when your fridge is stuck on defrost mode noticing some indicators.

The inside of the freezer will always have ice water in it. The foods will not freeze properly, and the temperature inside will be high as well.

When the temperature of the defrost thermostat stays constant, your fridge gets stuck in defrost mode.

Moreover, the defrost heater does not stop working if the defrost timer gets stuck. In that case, it drips a lot of water.

Final thoughts

The rise in temperature during the defrost cycle of refrigerators is regular. It can increase up to 25 to 30 units from the ideal value. That is, from 20 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And can last for a short time. This time and rise of temperature will not affect the foods inside the refrigerator.