If your freezer isn’t freezing your food, it can spoil. Furthermore, you might be spending more money on electricity than you should. There are numerous components in a freezer, all of which can affect its ability to keep it cold.
Your freezer isn’t freezing because the condenser coil is dirty, the thermostat is broken, or the compressor isn’t working properly. Additional causes include leaky gaskets, blocked fans, a lack of refrigerant, or a malfunctioning control board.
Throughout this article, I’ll show you why your freezer isn’t freezing anything and how you can repair it. I’ll also provide you with a couple of preventative suggestions.
1. Clogged Condenser Coil
Freezers use condenser coils to distribute refrigerant. If the condenser coils are blocked, broken, or clogged, they won’t be able to provide enough cold air to keep the freezer frozen. Without functioning condenser coils, your freezer’s air will feel warm, especially around the fan vents. The good news is that it’s very easy to clean the coils.
How To Fix?
Follow these instructions to clean your freezer’s condenser coils:
- Unplug your freezer and move it away from the wall to prevent electrical shocks.
- Remove the bottom rear panel or vent on your freezer to reveal the condenser coil.
- Use a handheld vacuum with a brush or a sponge to remove as much debris from the coil as possible.
- Place the bottom rear panel over the coil, then seal it with the retaining screws.
- Push your freezer into its space, then plug it in and test your work.
Review this helpful video tutorial for more information about cleaning your freezer’s condenser coils:
2. Broken Thermostat
A freezer’s thermostat controls the temperature setting. If it malfunctions, it’ll think the freezer is colder than it is or warmer in some cases. This means the sensor thinks it doesn’t have to reduce the temperature even though your freezer can’t keep anything cold. Set your thermostat to the lowest setting, then put your hand over the vent to know if this is the issue.
How To Fix?
So, how can you replace the thermostat? Try this method:
- Unplug the freezer or turn off the connected circuit breaker.
- Remove the temperature knob in your fridge or freezer. One knob typically controls both sides.
- Pull the thermostat out of its socket and remove all the wires. Take a picture beforehand if you don’t have a wiring diagram.
- Slide the new thermostat sensor into the socket, then attach the old wires to their corresponding terminals on the thermostat.
- Mount the thermostat knob over the sensor, then plug in your freezer.
When you’re done, turn your freezer to its lowest temperature and wait for half an hour. If it doesn’t get cold, proceed to the next suggestion.
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3. Faulty Compressor
The compressor is responsible for turning liquid refrigerant into a gas state. This allows the freezer to move the gas through the fan and coils, keeping the freezer as cold as possible. Once the compressor stops working, the refrigerant can’t go through the coils, fans, and other parts of the freezer. Sometimes, blocking the compressor can prevent it from working properly.
How To Fix?
Unfortunately, most compressors cost half or more of the price of a new freezer. While they usually last well over a decade, they eventually need to be replaced. I recommend sapping your freezer with a new one instead of changing the compressor.
If you want to replace the compressor, simply unplug the freezer, remove the back panel, and take the wires out of the old compressor. You might also need to take out the mounting bolts. Get a like-for-like compressor and reverse the process to install it.
4. Leaky Seals and Gaskets
According to AHS, one of the most common reasons freezers can’t freeze is that they have loose seals. Every freezer has seals to prevent cold air from escaping around the edges, especially around the doors. If these seals are broken, loose, or warped, cold air will leave the freezer. Your freezer’s air will feel cold coming through the vents, but it won’t do its job.
How To Fix?
Here’s how you can replace the seals:
- Contact the manufacturer for the correct seals for your freezer.
- Use a putty knife to remove the seals, then use rubbing alcohol to get rid of the leftover adhesive.
- Once the freezer dries, peel and stick the new seals. Some companies recommend using silicone sealants, so it’s best to check with their specific instructions.
5. Worn or Damaged Fans
Maytag explains that damaged, worn, or blocked freezer fans stop your freezer from distributing cold air. Once the fans stop working, all the cold air settles around the compressor and condenser coils. This process can freeze or overheat both components, causing much more expensive repairs down the road.
How To Fix?
If your freezer’s evaporator fans are blocked, simply shift the food away from the fan. If this doesn’t work, follow this process:
- Unplug the freezer from the wall.
- Remove the retaining screws and bracket from the fan.
- Remove the wires from the fan (neutral, hot, and grounding wires).
- Place the new fan where the old one was, then connect the old wires to their terminals.
- Mount the fan, turn on the freezer, and check if it keeps the freezer cold.
6. Malfunctioning Control Board
The control board communicates with every electrical component in your freezer. If the control board doesn’t have enough power or it’s broken, none of the aforementioned parts will do their job properly. Furthermore, a faulty control board will also cause the freezer’s lights and digital displays to stop working.
How To Fix?
Here is the best way to replace a worn control board in a freezer:
- Unplug your freezer and remove the front panel behind the display to reveal the control board.
- Disconnect each of the wires from the control board.
- Get a new control board from the manufacturer, then connect each of the wires to their corresponding terminals per the picture you took from the first step.
- Plug your freezer into the wall, turn it on, and test each of the features to ensure the control board is communicating with every component.
7. Not Enough Refrigerant
Your freezer won’t cool anything if there’s not enough refrigerant. One of the best ways to know if there’s a refrigerant issue is if your fridge is leaking a thick, clear liquid while making loud noises. These sounds come from the compressor as it attempts to work with the small remaining amounts of refrigerant.
How To Fix?
Here’s how you can replace the refrigerant or freon in your compressor:
- Disconnect your fridge from its power source and remove the rear panel to reveal the compressor, coils, and freon lines.
- Locate the freon or refrigerant cap. It sits in the middle of the copper compressor line.
- Twist your freezer’s chosen refrigerant canister line into the refrigerant line where the cap was.
- Open the valve to add the manufacturer’s recommended amount of refrigerant or coolant into the system.
- Replace the refrigerant cap on the copper compressor line, mount the rear panel on the back of the freezer, and plug it back into the wall.
A freezer that won’t freeze seems close to pointless. However, it might not be the freezer that’s causing the issues. You might have to reset the ice maker to prevent it from leaking. Air leaks and water leaks make a fridge or freezer work overtime, causing utility bills to skyrocket.