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Freezer not Freezing: Common Reasons and a Quick Solution

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Freezer not Freezing: Common Reasons and a Quick Solution

Typically, the freezer section of our refrigerator is pretty reliable. With many models including an outside dispenser for ice and water, it’s usually not open as often as the refrigerator section, so it’s a surprise when you find the freezer is not freezing.

After the initial shock has worn off, panic may be setting in. You may be worrying that all your frozen food will thaw and need to be thrown out or that you’ll have to go out and buy a new appliance. Before you start checking prices for a new refrigerator, take a look at the common reasons why your freezer is cold but not freezing. We’ve got a quick solution for many of the issues that could be ailing your unit.

Why the Freezer Isn’t Getting Cold Enough

Before you start looking for possible broken components, check the basic issues first. Make sure the plug is securely in the electrical outlet. Sometimes the plug comes loose enough to intermittently interrupt the run cycle and not allow the freezer to cool sufficiently.

Next, you can check that the door was closed tightly. Make sure there are no obstructions, especially along the top seal, that would prevent the door from closing properly.

You should also check the freezer thermostat to make sure it hasn’t been bumped to a higher temperature. You’ll locate that in the refrigerator section.

If these things check out, it’s time to start troubleshooting other common issues that would explain why the freezer is not freezing:

Overstuffing

This is a pretty common occurrence. You may be getting ready for a party or just restocking after a big sale, but if you overpack the contents, the cold air coming from the evaporator fan won’t be able to circulate to properly freeze the compartment. Make sure you keep the at the rear of the freezer, under the evaporator fan, clear from obstruction.

Thermostat is Out of Order

As you have already checked the temperature setting to make sure it is where it is supposed to be, you should check to see if the thermostat is working. Turn the dial from the lowest setting to the highest setting. You will hear a clicking sound if it turns on. If not, your thermostat might be on the fritz. You can check it for continuity with a multimeter. If there is none, you’ll need to replace the thermostat.

Door Seals Don’t Close Properly

Again, you checked to be sure the door was closed, but now you need to see if the seal is tight. If it is faulty, it will let warm air in and cold air out. This will not allow the freezer to get cold enough to freeze food. To test the seal’s integrity, place a dollar bill across the door seal and close it. Pull the dollar bill out while the door is still closed. You should feel a lot of resistance if it is tight. If not, try cleaning the seal with soapy water to remove dirt and debris. If it is still a problem, replace the seal.

There is a Frost Buildup

If your freezer is a frost-free style (which most units are today,) then it is hard to determine if the evaporator coils are frosted over. A frost buildup inside the freezer area may indicate this issue and airflow will be restricted. Defrost the freezer manually, allowing all the frost to melt. Clean out any excess water and restart the refrigerator. This should resolve the problem.

Condenser Coil Issues

Dust and dirt builds up on the condenser coils and can stop your freezer from cooling properly. Unplug the refrigerator, access the coils behind the front, bottom grill. Take a vacuum or coil brush to clean off the coils. A few minutes every few months will keep your freezer operating at peak performance.

Malfunctioning Evaporator Fan Motor

This is a more serious problem. If the evaporator fan is not turning, unplug the fridge, remove and clean the blades. Any ice buildup will cause problems with air circulation. Any blent blades will need to be replaced. If the blades are free but still not working, you will likely need a new fan motor and thermostat control.

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Start Relay

If this is bad, your compressor is not getting power. You can do a physical test on it. Unplug the fridge, open the back compartment in your freezer, unplug the relay from the compressor. Shake it. If it rattles, replace it, and you can stop wondering “why is my freezer not freezing.”

Faulty Condenser Fan Motor

Condenser fan motor bearings often get gummed up which prohibits it from starting or running. If the shaft is hard to turn, you can try spraying penetrating oil on it to free it up. If this doesn’t correct the problem, you may have a faulty condenser fan motor that will require a professional repair technician to replace.

Compressor Problems

If you are still asking “why my freezer is not freezing,” a compressor issue could be the culprit. The compressor is typically found at the lower back of the refrigerator. When it is working, you will notice a humming sound. A clicking noise means that it is trying to start but that it is overheating or overloaded. A skilled repair service should be called to test and replace the compressor if needed.

Main Control Board is Out of Order

This unit controls the compressor and defrost cycle. It turns the power on when the compressor needs to cool the freezer down. Once the temperature sensor reaches a certain temperature, it will signal the control board that the defrost cycle needs to be turned on. A diagnostic test can be done by following the owner’s manual instructions. If this doesn’t yield results, contact a professional for possible replacement.

Old or Overused Freezer

We all lose track of time and you may be surprised when you look up your paperwork and discover that your refrigerator is 10 years old. The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 to 20 years, so when your freezer stops freezing, it might be time to start looking for a new one. If you have had numerous breakdowns over the last few months, your fridge is over ten years old, and the cost to repair will be more than half the price of a new appliance, it is time to invest in a new one

How Puls Freezer Repairing Services Can Help to Solve the Issue

At Puls, we understand how frustrating a broken freezer can be. We are committed to fast, convenient service on your timetable. Our fully vetted refrigerator technicians have the skills and experience needed to quickly troubleshoot your freezer problems and get it repaired as soon as the same day.

Book a Freezer Repair Today

 

Is it Cheaper to Repair or Replace a Freezer: Experts Opinion

It depends on a couple of things—how old it is and what’s wrong with it. The general rule of thumb is if the refrigerator freezer is over ten years old, it is probably better to replace it. New models are more energy-efficient, offer more convenient features, and have fairly affordable prices.

However, if your appliance only requires inexpensive repairs and you continue to keep up with regular maintenance, your old appliance can give you up to 20 years of use.

Is it Expensive to Fix a Freezer?

An experienced Puls technician will perform a full, diagnostic evaluation of your freezer for an $89 fee, which is waived when you proceed with the repair work. We always provide a concise breakdown of pricing including parts and labor. There are no hidden fees and if you decide not to proceed with the repair, you only pay $89. Become a Puls+ member and purchase an Appliance Protection Plan so you’re prepared for any issue.

Bonus: Quick Tips for Freezer Maintenance

Like any other piece of equipment, the better care you provide, the longer life you will enjoy. Your freezer is no different. Follow these tips for maintaining your freezer to ensure you have many years of uninterrupted service:

  • Don’t overpack the freezer. Maintain a good air flow between foods and in front of the evaporator fan.
  • Occasionally check the thermostat. The optimum temperature should be zero degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Clean up spills and remove dirt with a damp cloth and dish soap.
  • Wipe down the door seals with a damp cloth. Make sure all dirt and debris is removed and that the door closes tightly.

FAQ

How long can a freezer last?

On average, the life expectancy of a freezer is 16 years. Overall, freezers are often the longest-lasting kitchen appliance of between 12 and 20 years.

How can you identify if a freezer is broken?

There are usually a few telltale signs that your freezer is broken: food getting freezer burn more often (due to freezing and thawing more often), strange noises, difficulty regulating the temperature (especially during warmer months),  and a significantly higher energy bill (could mean the fridge is running more often).

How often should a freezer be checked by specialists?

There is no need for an annual inspection of your freezer. You can do the regular maintenance yourself and reserve professional visits for times when your freezer is acting up.

Will defrosting a freezer prolong its life?

Yes, in order to keep your freezer below a certain temperature, you’ll need to remove ice build-up. Even auto-defrost appliances can build up ice on walls, making it harder to maintain the correct temperature. Defrost it once a year.

Why is the freezer not freezing but the fridge is cold?

The most common cause is dirty condenser coils. They get rid of heat and must work harder when dirty. Clean the coils with a vacuum cleaner or coil cleaning brush to correct this problem.

Hiring a Puls Professional to inspect your freezer is quick and easy. With one click, you can schedule an appointment that is convenient for you. A fully vetted, skilled technician will be sent out to evaluate your needs and provide a comprehensive quote for repairing your freezer. 

Book a Freezer Diagnostic Inspection 

Debbie D.
Debbie Dey is a professional writer with over three decades of experience in residential construction. Her background gives her a wealth of knowledge about all kinds of home improvement projects, which she enjoys sharing through her writing. She has been a Puls staff writer since 2018. In her free time, you can find her relaxing by the water or cruising with her husband in their sports car.
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