Why Freezer Not Cold Enough? What’s the Cause of the Problem? 7 tips

You load your freezer with ice cream or meat from a recent hunting trip, only to discover everything is soft and the freezer not cold enough.

If your freezer isn’t working properly, you risk seeing your valuable store of perishable food going to waste. Moreover, your freezer’s lifespan could be shortened if a problem with its cooling system isn’t resolved quickly.

When the freezer is not cold enough, the cause may be a faulty door seal that lets out cool air. An overloaded freezer may also struggle to get as cold as you want it to be. Another common cause of the freezer not freezing is malfunctioning components such as fan motors or the defrost heater.

In this article, I’ll discuss the common causes of the freezer not freezing and explain how to fix those problems. Knowing how to troubleshoot your kitchen’s cooling appliance can save you money and spare you stress. Let’s get into it.

1. Faulty Freezer Door Seal

The function of the door on your freezer goes beyond covering the items in that cooling box. It also aids the appliance’s cooling system.

The door has a seal that prevents the cool air in the freezer from leaking out. It also prevents warm air from the freezer’s surrounding from getting into the appliance. The appliance stays cold due to a concentration of cool air inside it.

If the freezer’s door seal is defective, the cool air inside will leak out, and the warm air from outside will get in. The air exchange between the freezer and its surroundings will undermine its ability to remain cold.

How To Fix?

  • You’ll need to perform a simple experiment to determine whether the door is the cause of the freezer not freezing.
  • Place a piece of paper between the freezer and the door. Close the door on that paper. Try to pull out the paper. If you can pull out the paper easily, it shows the door seal isn’t working properly, which may be the cause of the freezer not getting cold enough. 
  • Accumulation of dirt on the door seal can hinder its ability to lock air. Try to clean the seal and repeat the experiment to see if the paper is tight to pull out this time. If the door is still loose, you may need to repair or replace the seal.
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2. Freezer Overloaded

freezer not cold enough

The freezer works efficiently if it’s properly loaded. As a result, an overstuffed freezer may fail to perform as expected.

If you fill up every space in the appliance, you may block the evaporator fan that circulates the cool air that keeps the box cold. The congestion around the fan can result in some areas of the freezer not freezing as desired.

How To Fix

  • The remedy is clearing the shelves of excess items.
  • You should also try reorganizing the items’ arrangement to reduce congestion in the space around the evaporator fan.
  • If you constantly run into the problem of an overloaded freezer, it may be a sign that you need a larger appliance.

Here’s a video to give you an idea of how to properly organize a freezer to avoid overstuffing problems.

Read: 3 Reasons Why Chest Freezer Is Not Working After Power Outage

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3. Dirty Condenser Coils

Condenser coils perform the role of dispersing heat as part of the freezer’s cooling process. The coils can collect dust over time and become dirty,  hampering their ability to work properly.

Depending on your freezer’s model, the condenser coils may be at the appliance’s rear.

How To Fix?

  • If you can access the dirty condenser coils, clean them. You can vacuum the coils or clean them with a wet rag. Make a point of cleaning the coils at least once a year to prevent excess accumulation of dirt that can affect their normal operation. Unplug the freezer before you begin the cleaning.
  • The coils are hidden within the appliance’s walls for some freezer models. If the coils are inaccessible, it means they don’t require cleaning. As a result, they may not be the cause of the freezer not getting cold enough. 

Read: 3 Possible Reasons Why Chest Freezer Not Freezing At Top – Troubleshooting Guide

4. Faulty Evaporator Fan Motor

The evaporator fan motor circulates cold air in the freezer. The evaporator fan runs when the freezer’s door is shut and stops when the door is opened.

As a result, you may not see the fun running if the appliance functions normally. A malfunctioning evaporator fan motor will prevent the freezer from cooling. Therefore, you’ll need to determine if the motor has a problem.

How To Fix?

  • The first step is to trick the freezer so that you can get the evaporator fan spinning when the door is open.
  • With the freezer’s door open, manually activate the door switch. If you can see the motor running, you’ll know that component isn’t the problem.
  • However, if the motor isn’t running, you’ll know it’s defective and should be replaced.

5. Malfunctioning Compressor Start Relay System

The start relay delivers power to the compressor, which performs a critical role in the freezer’s cooling system. The compressor is the component that produces the humming sound coming from your freezer.

If the start relay is faulty, the compressor may struggle to run normally or fail to run at all. Therefore, you should check to see the state of this starting component if your freezer isn’t freezing.

How To Fix?

  • Open the compartment at the back of the freezer near the floor to access the compressor. Detach the start relay from the compressor. Make sure the freezer is unplugged before you do this.
  • Test the start relay’s terminals for continuity of electrical current using a multimeter. If you see no continuity between the terminals, the starting component may be the problem and should be replaced.  
  • If you don’t have a multimeter to check continuity, you’ll know your freezer’s start relay needs to be replaced if it smells burnt.
  • Moreover, if shaking the start relay produces a sound as if there’s a loose item inside, it may be a sign you need a new component. 

6. Defective Defrost Heater

Excess buildup of ice in your freezer can prevent it from working efficiently. The ice or frost often accumulates on the evaporator coils, causing congestion that can prevent these coils from performing their function properly.

Besides preventing your freezer from becoming cold enough, excess frost accumulation can damage the compressor if you ignore the problem.

How To Fix?

  • Most modern freezers have an auto-defrost heater that turns on occasionally to melt away the excess ice. If you’re experiencing a frost buildup in a modern appliance, it may be a sign that the defrost heater is defective and needs to be replaced.
  • Before you replace the defrost heater, you may try to manually remove the excess ice buildup. If you have an older freezer, routine manual defrosting may be necessary to keep your appliance working efficiently.

Here’s a video that demonstrates how to manually defrost a freezer.

7. Faulty Thermostat Control

The thermostat plays a major role in regulating your freezer’s temperature. To perform this function, the thermostat controls many freezer components, from the compressor to the evaporator and condenser fans.

As a result, a defective thermostat control can cause the freezer’s cooling system to fail.

How To Fix?

  • Check the thermostat to see if the settings are correct. You or someone in the home may have accidentally adjusted the thermostat settings to the wrong place.
  • The component may be faulty if the thermostat settings look correct but the freezer isn’t getting cold enough.
  • To determine if the thermostat is broken, adjust its settings. Push the settings from the lowest to the highest levels and listen to what happens. If you can hear a clicking sound after adjusting the settings, the thermostat isn’t the problem.
  • If no clicking sound comes out, your freezer’s temperature control system may be faulty. That will require replacing the thermostat.

Freezer Not Cold Enough Causes – Summary

The freezer is an indispensable kitchen appliance in many households. As a result, you may lose your cool when the freezer doesn’t get cold enough.

When your freezer isn’t behaving normally, find out what might be the issue and fix it as soon as possible. Ignoring some freezer problems can lead to an even greater and more expensive problem later.

If you encounter a freezer problem you can’t fix on your own, reach out to an experienced technician to help.

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