2021 Q3 Toolbox Essentials
Freezer Not Freezing: How to Fix It

Freezer Not Freezing: How to Fix It

If your freezer isn’t freezing, it can be extremely frustrating. Not only does it pose a possible food safety concern, but it’s also eating up more energy than normal. This is because your unit is working twice as hard to be efficient, even though it’s only going to end up costing you more money. It’s going to keep on consuming its maximum load of electricity until it basically taps out. It’s inconvenient—yes, but don’t call a professional repairman yet. There are several ways you can go about trying to fix your freezer.

The Causes

You’re probably asking yourself right now about the whys and hows your freezer stopped working. And there are actually a variety of factors that could lead to your freezer not freezing; whether it’s completely thawed over, or simply not cold enough.

Dirty Condenser Coils

When a freezer stops working, one of the first things you should check is the coils. If they’re dirty, this could be the reason why your unit isn’t functioning properly.

When your condenser coils are covered in a layer of dust, it reduces your freezer’s capacity to cool. Make sure you take extra care to unplug your fridge or freezer before you touch the coils. You don’t want to accidentally get electrocuted in case something goes wrong.

Malfunctioning Evaporator Fan

This part of your freezer is responsible for circulating all of the cold air. So, if it isn’t working, your freezer isn’t getting an equal amount of air throughout. What you’re essentially left with are “warm spots.”

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to deal with this yourself. You’re going to need to call a professional repairman to do the job as soon as possible.

The Start Relay

Another thing you should look into is the start relay. If it isn’t working, then your compressor isn’t turning on. And when your compressor is out of commission, your unit simply won’t function. Like the evaporator fan, there’s not much you can do here; just get it repaired asap.

Consult a Professional

Now that you have a better idea of why your unit might not be functioning as it should be, it’s time to consider your choices. If you’re not too savvy with repair work or simply don’t have time to waste, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a repairman.

After all, if the damage is extensive you’ll have to do this eventually. So, if you have money to spare, just call someone for help. They’ll likely take a look at your entire unit, perform a cleaning, and maybe even fix other areas that might prove to be an issue in the future.

Getting Your Freezer to Start Working Again

If you want to do everything you can before consulting a professional, see the steps you can take below to fix your freezer problem.

Clear the Shelves

If you’re one of those people who tend to overbuy at the grocery store and grab as many freezer items as possible without thinking too much about the amount of space available in your freezer, then the problem is probably that your freezer is packed to the brim. It might not be letting enough air circulate. And as mentioned before, this can lead to your freezer warming up.

Start by clearing everything out. Remove all the contents of your freezer and check if that improves the airflow. Sometimes contents block the vents that let air through the unit. If this doesn’t work, then you need to look into another issue.

Defrost or Remove the Ice

empty freezer with thick ice on the walls]

When clearing your shelves or a fully-stocked freezer isn’t the issue, you might need to examine the depth of the ice that has formed on your freezer walls. It sounds a bit counterproductive since ice should make things colder, but it’s actually doing the opposite.

The way it affects your freezer is that it might be blocking vents or overworking your coils. If you’re seeing ice crystals or if you haven’t defrosted your unit in a long time, you should do it ASAP.

Some freezers have a manual defrost mechanism, so you’ll have to turn it off and leave it to thaw for a few hours. Make sure you keep your perishables somewhere cold in the meantime.

If you have meat, and it’s sat at room temperature for a while, consider using them all on the same day or just tossing them. It’s not worth the potential food poisoning.

On the other hand, if your unit is marketed with an auto-defrost feature, but you’re still seeing ice crystals, now would be a good time to contact a professional. It usually indicates that you need to have a few parts replaced. The cause of which can only be determined by the professional repairman you hire.

Check Your Seals

Over time, the rubber seals on your freezer door can get damaged or degrade. Make sure you check thoroughly. Look for signs that it may not be holding well, holes, or other tell-tale visual cues that signal it’s not as reliable as it used to be.

Usually, you’ll have to buy parts for this. But calling in someone to do it for you would be less of a hassle. And it would also mean the job is done right the first time.

Clean Your Coils

Dust and other residues can naturally accumulate over time on your condenser coils. That’s why you should take the time to check them at least once every month. They’re usually easy to clean by yourself. You just need to make sure you’re careful and thorough.

We like to use a damp rag and follow up with a dry one. Of course, you also need to make sure the unit is turned off so you don’t accidentally harm yourself.

Besides, if your freezer isn’t freezing, it could be a clear indicator that something is really wrong with your unit so it’s best not to take any chances.

Maintaining Your Freezer

Hopefully, by now you’ve resolved all the issues concerning your freezer not freezing. So it only makes sense you take the necessary precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. After all, it’s pretty inconvenient to have to run through all of these methods frequently.

Maintaining your freezer is quite easy, it just requires a bit of determination from you and consistency. Once you start falling behind, you’ll find yourself in the same predicament in a year.

Besides, keeping your freezer unit healthy is one of the best ways to save on energy consumption. Otherwise, it will just inefficiently eat through your electrical bill.

Limit the Contents

Make sure you check the capacity of your freezer. Just because it still fits, doesn’t mean you won’t run into problems. It’s a common misconception that your freezer can handle any number of items as long as you can still shut the door.

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Make sure you’re placing a reasonable amount of food in your freezer to prevent it from being overly full. Most refrigerators and freezers come with an owners manual that you can reference to see if it’s over capacity.

Check Your Vents Frequently

If you stock your fridge every week, make sure you check the freezer vents just as frequently. You don’t want to put anything that might block air circulation.

Moreover, make sure there’s nothing blocking your vents and that there’s enough space for air to freely pass through.

Schedule Regular Defrost Sessions

A good rule of thumb is to defrost your unit at least once a year. If your freezer tends to form ice frequently, you should schedule it more often depending on how often it happens. When the ice is a quarter-inch thick, it’s a good sign to defrost.

Check Your Coils Regularly

At least once a week, check to make sure your condenser coils are clean. Try to run a dry cloth over them during this time to make sure they don’t accumulate debris over time. Better yet, you can run a vacuum cleaner through your coils to get rid of gunk more efficiently.

Set the Right Temperature

The FDA recommends keeping your freezer at the optimal temperature of 0° F. This allows ice to freeze and meat to remain at the optimal temperature to prevent contamination.

Final Thoughts

A freezer that isn’t freezing can be due to a number of problems. Some of them are obvious, and easily remedied. While some are more difficult to deal with. Whatever the reason, make sure you take the time to check its components every once in a while. And when all else fails, call for help.