People buy freezers for one reason: to keep their food cold, particularly in freezing temperatures. But, unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Freezers can become too cold, far colder than what you’ve chosen as your set temperature.
When you find that your freezer is too cold, check that you haven’t set the temperature too low. You can raise the temperature slightly if the ambient air is cold, like in winter. Besides that, the cause could be a stuck air damper or an empty ice cube bin. Next, troubleshoot the thermistor and main control board as they need replacements.
When your household freezer is too cold, don’t worry. Instead, follow the troubleshooting steps below to get to the bottom of it, so you can resolve the issue quickly.
Why Is My Freezer Colder Than Normal?
There are many reasons why your freezer is cooling down more than you expect it to. Let’s dive deeper into five of the most likely ones.
#1 Temperature Set Too Low
The first step in your troubleshooting process should check if the freezer’s set temperature is too low, to begin with.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that you should set your temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit to store food safely in a freezer. That’s a good number to use as a benchmark. Still, you should adjust the temperature according to how many items you have inside.
For example, your freezer will be too cold if you only have one or two items inside. In that case, it’s safe to raise the temperature a little bit.
On the other hand, if you’re loading many items into the freezer at once, you’ll have to lower the temperature. That way, the freezer won’t feel too warm.
In both cases, you must remember two things when finding your ideal freezer temperature:
- Finding the ideal freezer temperature is a process of trial and error. Change the setting one degree at a time and give it at least a day to see if it’s still too cold or if you have to change it further.
- Whenever you change the settings, your freezer needs at least 24 hours to stabilize the temperature in its compartment. So, expect the freezer to still be too cold for a while, even after you’ve changed the temperature.
#2 Stuck Air Damper
Suppose you’ve got an appliance with both a freezer and refrigerator compartment in the same unit. Unfortunately, the air damper is likely stuck open when you find that the freezer is too cold.
Refrigerators have air dampers that directly divert cold air to the freezer and fridge compartments. However, the air damper could become stuck in one direction, causing most cold air to lead only into the freezer compartment.
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As a result, the freezer becomes much colder than it should be.
You can troubleshoot this further by removing the vent that houses the air damper or freezer control. The damper flap is meant to move freely, so you can test it with your hands.
However, if it’s stuck or not moving correctly, you’ll have to replace it or get a qualified technician to take a closer look at it for you.
#3 Faulty Temperature Sensor Or Thermistor
As you continue troubleshooting this issue and ruling out possibilities, you’ll also have to consider the temperature sensor or thermistor. This component measures the temperature in the freezer compartment and communicates that data back to the main control board.
When the freezer is too warm, the thermistor tells the appliance to cool the compartment down. However, it’s supposed to stop the cooling process once the freezer reaches your set temperature.
The problem here is that the thermistor becomes faulty and doesn’t do that. So, the appliance cools the freezer below the set temperature even though it shouldn’t.
To be sure, you or a qualified technician will have to test the thermistor for electrical continuity using a multimeter. If the root cause is the thermistor, you’ll have to put a new one in to ensure the freezer works correctly.
#4 Ice Maker With An Empty Ice Cube Bin
Believe it or not, an empty ice cube bin could also cause your freezer to become too cold. But, of course, that’ll depend on your freezer brand, model, and whether or not it has an ice-making feature.
Some freezers with ice makers can sense when the ice cube bin is empty. So the freezer will automatically cool itself down beyond your set temperature when that happens. It does that to speed up the process of freezing ice cubes.
Other freezers can’t detect an empty ice cube. However, without any ice cubes, there’s extra cooling power that ends up making your freezer colder than it should be.
If you find that to be the case with your freezer, you have two options:
- First, ensure that the ice maker has an incoming water supply. Then, the unit will return to your set temperature and stop being too cold as it continues making ice cubes.
- Shut off the ice maker. The freezer will stick to your set temperature when the ice maker is off instead of automatically cooling down further.
#5 Problematic Main Control Board
Last but not least, another likely cause is the main control board that’s become problematic. You should only consider this board the root cause after ruling out all of the above. That’s because you cannot repair the main control board, and a replacement is relatively expensive.
The main control board is like the brain of your freezer. That’s because it’s a small printed circuit board (PCB) that controls every component and feature of your appliance.
So, when the temperature control components on the board suffer damage, it can cause the freezer to become too cold.
Some of the common types of damage that a control board can suffer include:
- Power surges (like those during thunderstorms).
- Exposure to excess heat or moisture.
When anything like that happens to your freezer’s primary control board, you’ll have to remove it and replace it with a new one. That process involves disconnecting all the wire connectors to the damaged board and freeing it.
Then, you’ll fit the new board into place and reattach all the wires the exact same way as with the old board.
Doing so will allow your freezer to work correctly once more. Then, the appliance can reach your set temperature without becoming too cold.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few frequently asked questions about freezers that are too cold:
How Do I Know If My Fridge Damper Is Bad?
The only way to know if your fridge damper is bad is by inspecting it manually. You can refer to the user manual and technical sheets to locate and identify the damper. Then, test it by moving the damper with your hand. It should move freely without much effort.
How Do You Fix A Freezer That Is Too Cold?
The solution for a freezer that’s too cold will depend on its root cause. Start by checking that you’ve set the temperature correctly. Then, check that its air damper is not stuck. You should troubleshoot the thermistor and main control board only after you rule those two causes out.
What Happens When Your Freezer Is Too Cold?
Several things can happen when your freezer is too cold. However, two things stand out the most. Firstly, your electricity bill will be higher because your freezer uses more energy than it should. Secondly, your food items can suffer freezer burn and become inedible.
What Should My Freezer Temperature Be In Winter?
Under normal conditions, the ideal temperature for your freezer is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when the ambient air is colder in winter, you can raise the temperature by a few degrees, depending on how many items you’re storing inside.
How Can I Make My Freezer Warmer?
To make your freezer warmer, raise the set temperature by one or two degrees a day. Remember: your freezer needs at least 24 hours to stabilize the temperature inside according to the changes you’ve made.