3 Possible Reasons Why Chest Freezer Not Freezing at Top – Troubleshooting Guide

If you have a chest freezer, you know they are game changers when it comes to low-cost, long-term storage of foods, saving time and money. However, chest freezers can have issues that might make them less efficient, like inadequate or uneven freezing. What can you do if the top part of your chest freezer is not as cold as it should be?

Your chest freezer is not freezing at the top because the thermostat might be set at the wrong temperature or faulty. Additionally, there might be an issue with the evaporator coil, evaporator fan motor, or condenser coil. To fix these issues, replace or clean the damaged parts.

In the rest of this article, I will explain all possible reasons why your chest freezer is not freezing at the top and then provide solutions for every case.

1. The Thermostat Is Faulty or Set to the Wrong Temperature

Your freezer’s thermostat is an essential part of the device that controls the temperature inside the chest and keeps it constant. You should set the thermostat to an adequate temperature to make sure that all the food inside is completely frozen and doesn’t go bad.

However, sometimes, you may accidentally set the freezer to the wrong temperature. If the temperature is higher than it should be, you’ll see that some of the food will start to thaw partially. The food at the top may thaw more quickly, but the rest of the freezer will soon follow.

Other times, the thermostat can be damaged or faulty. When the thermostat is defective, it can’t control or keep a constant temperature, leading to the freezer freezing too much or not at all.

Read: How To Reset Frigidaire Freezer Alarm?

How To Fix?

The first thing you need to do when you notice that it’s not freezing at the top is to check the thermostat in case it’s accidentally set at the wrong temperature. The thermostat can be located at the top or the bottom of the chest, depending on the model you’re using.

Find the thermostat and adjust the temperature if it’s set too high. Afterward, wait a few minutes and check the freezer again, trying to see if there’s a difference. If you feel that it’s freezing at the top, then the problem is fixed.

However, if the thermostat is set to the right temperature and it’s still not freezing enough at the top, it’s probably faulty. You can test the thermostat using a multimeter to know if current passes through it. If there’s no current or there is, but it still doesn’t work properly, you need to replace the thermostat. You can replace it yourself or call a professional.

2. The Evaporator Coil Is Frozen

The evaporator coil is responsible for absorbing heat in the freezer and passing it on to the refrigerant gas. Once in a while, the evaporator coil gathers frost, which can cause it not to work properly. 

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Typically, a heater solves these issues by heating the coil and melting the frost gathered in the evaporator coil. If the heater is broken or not working correctly, the evaporator coil may become frozen. As a result, it will not be able to absorb the heat inside the freezer, increasing the temperature inside.

How To Fix?

To check if the problem is the evaporator coil, you should remove the panel covering it using screwdrivers. It’s relatively easy, following these steps:

  1. Disconnect your freezer from the power outlet.
  2. Check the freezer manual or search online for guides that can help you locate the evaporator panel that covers the coil. 
  3. Open the panel using screwdrivers.
  4. Observe the coil to determine if it’s frozen.

If the coil is frozen, you must defrost the chest freezer thoroughly. This process requires some time, but it’s pretty simple:

  1. Remove everything inside the freezer, including removable containers.
  2. Unplug the freezer from power.
  3. Unplug the drain and attach the drain hose to the hose adapter.
  4. Put the end of the hose in a drain or a container nearby.
  5. Remove the frost inside the freezer and allow it to melt.
  6. Drain the water inside the freezer and allow the inside to dry.
  7. Put everything back and plug the freezer back in.

Read: Frigidaire Freezer Beeping Alarm Codes: How To Troubleshoot?

3. The Evaporator Fan Motor Is Damaged or Faulty

The primary purpose of the evaporator fan is to circulate the air that it draws from the evaporator coil inside the freezer. When the evaporator motor works properly, the fan ensures that the temperature stays low and the air circulates inside.

If the fan’s motor is damaged or faulty, it can’t draw air from the top and can’t make it circulate inside the freezer. As a result, the temperature increases at the top, and the food starts to thaw.

How To Fix?

Before attempting to fix anything, check if the fan motor is the problem. To do so, you can open the chest freezer and wait for the fan to start working. You will know if it works if you can hear the fan motor running. The noise should be loud enough for you to easily hear it if you concentrate; anything louder or more distracting than that can indicate a separate issue.

Typically, the fan motor doesn’t work when the chest freezer is open, so you should find the door switch that triggers the fan to start working and keep it pressed. After a minute or so, you should be able to hear the fan motor. If you don’t, it might be broken or faulty.

A broken fan motor can render your freezer useless eventually, so you need to take care of this issue as soon as possible. The fan motor should be replaced with a new one. This could be done following some instructions, but leave it to an expert if you’re unsure and want to be safe.

Read: How To Fix Chest Freezer Door Seal?

4. Dirt or Debris Is Gathered in the Condenser Coil

As mentioned above, the condenser coil is responsible for expelling the heat absorbed by the evaporator coil. By removing the heat, the coil is instrumental in maintaining a constant temperature inside the chest freezer.

The condenser coil sometimes gathers particles, like dust or dirt. These particles can drastically reduce their effectiveness, causing the coil to struggle to expel heat from the freezer. Consequently, the temperature rises inside.

How To Fix?

First, you need to ensure that the condenser coil is causing the chest freezer not to freeze at the top. You can check the condenser coil and determine if it’s covered by dirt or dust; if it is, you can clean the coil using a vacuum cleaner:

  1. Unplug the chest freezer from power.
  2. Find the location of the coil; in older freezers, it’s wrapped around the back and the sides, while in new chest freezers, it’s located at the bottom. Consult with the manual and remove the panels that may cover it if needed.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust from the coil; make sure to get every angle.
  4. Use a brush to remove any dust that remains after vacuuming.
  5. Plug the freezer back in and see if the problem is solved.


Chest freezers are excellent appliances that allow you to store food for a long time in low temperatures, saving time and money. Like every other device, they can have issues like having trouble freezing the top.

This issue may be caused by a faulty or incorrectly set thermostat, a frozen evaporator coil, or a damaged fan motor. Additionally, it may be caused by dirt gathered in the condenser coil. To fix it, you can check and set the thermostat correctly, clean the condenser coil, or replace the damaged or faulty parts if needed.

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