A fridge not cooling is quite common, even in a Samsung refrigerator. But that problem can be confusing if it happens while ice builds up inside the compartment. So, why does this happen?
A Samsung fridge not cooling despite building up with ice likely has an evaporator fan that’s freezing or a worn-out door seal. At the same time, a failing defrost heater and a malfunctioning control board will cause the same outcome. These problems have one thing in common: they cause ice build-ups that block the fridge’s airways, causing the compartment to feel warm.
Whether you’re troubleshooting this problem yourself or with a technician’s help, read through this guide to learn why this problem happens. You’ll discover the root causes and learn what solutions work best.
Why Does My Samsung Fridge Have An Ice Buildup Despite Not Cooling?
When your fridge feels warm yet has an ice buildup inside, it means your fridge’s cooling system is still functioning correctly. However, the cold air is stuck somewhere instead of evenly distributed, hence the ice buildup.
Check out these likely causes, why they happen, and how you can fix them.
1. Frozen Evaporator Fan
You’ll first want to troubleshoot your fridge’s evaporator fan. Don’t confuse the evaporator with the condenser, as both are very different. The part we’re talking about, the evaporator, is where all heat is absorbed and removed. As such, the evaporator coils become frigid cold.
Those evaporator coils are accompanied by a fan that blows and distributes the chilled air. In doing so, it distributes that cold air evenly throughout the compartment to cool down all your stored food items.
What’s gone wrong: Excess moisture inside the cold refrigerator compartment can lead to a frost buildup. That buildup tends to concentrate around the evaporator coils and fan, gradually hardening to become ice.
The ice buildup will freeze the fan blades when the problem becomes severe enough, and that’s why they won’t work.
Your fridge will feel warm because the cold air isn’t being blown out of the evaporator. Meanwhile, the ice buildup will only continue getting worse.
What you can do: The solution to this problem is to defrost your Samsung fridge thoroughly. The slowest but most effective way to do that is by shutting the refrigerator off and letting the ice melt away naturally.
The ice buildup will gradually melt away, allowing the evaporator fan to function correctly.
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2. Worn-Out Door Seal
The second issue you’ll want to troubleshoot is a worn-out door seal. The door seal is a rubber part that goes around the inside perimeter of each compartment door.
When you shut the door, that rubber part makes the compartment airtight and prevents any inside or outside air from being exchanged.
Simultaneously, it prevents the warm surrounding air from leaking into the fridge compartment.
What’s gone wrong: Earlier, you read that excess moisture can cause an ice buildup inside your refrigerator compartment. There are several ways that excess moisture can enter the compartment, and one of them is a worn-out door seal.
When the door seal is too old or has some kind of damage (e.g. warped, torn, with holes), it can’t stop warm and moist air from entering the compartment.
That faulty door seal starts a chain reaction leading to your fridge warming while experiencing an ice buildup.
What you can do: Firstly, you’ll have to inspect your refrigerator’s door seal. You could salvage some of them with a thorough cleaning if excess dirt and debris prevent the seal from doing its job.
However, a seal with excessive wear and damage must be replaced. That’s easy to do as a DIY task without hiring a repair technician.
3. Failed Defrost Heater
Unlike older models, modern refrigerators do not need you to defrost them manually. That’s because they have built-in defrost heaters that run intermittently throughout the day to stop any ice from collecting inside. In doing so, the heater prevents any frost or ice from building up inside the compartment.
Defrost heaters are typically concealed inside the refrigerator compartment, towards the back.
Samsung fridge models typically run their defrost heaters in 25 to 45-minute cycles. During that time, the appliance will stop cooling temporarily to let the defrost process happen more efficiently.
Once the cycle is complete, the defrost heater will shut off, and cooling will resume as usual.
What’s gone wrong: Another likely reason your Samsung fridge has an ice buildup that prevents cooling is that the defrost heater has failed. Another way of putting it is that the defrost heater doesn’t turn on regularly and allows frost and ice to build up inside the compartment.
Based on the previous explanations above, you can imagine that ice buildup will become severe enough to block cold air from circulating inside the fridge. That will also explain why the fridge is warm.
What you can do: When a defrost heater fails, it can’t turn on and generate any heat to melt away the frost. That happens because the heating element has burnt out, which warrants a total replacement.
You’ll have to remove the back panel inside the refrigerator compartment to see the heating element and remove it. Once the old one is gone, you can put the new one in its place.
4. Malfunctioning Control Board
The final possibility is that the fridge’s control board could be malfunctioning.
You can think of that board as being the fridge’s brain. It controls everything the refrigerator does, and as such, its problems can cause malfunctions all over the appliance.
Still, the board is expensive to deal with. So, you must only consider this after you’ve ruled out all other possibilities first.
What’s gone wrong: Simply put, the board is preventing your fridge from defrosting regularly. Simultaneously, it can also cause the refrigerator to cool excessively. The combination of both will leave your fridge feeling warm (due to clogged airways) while suffering an ice buildup.
What you can do: Unfortunately, there is no way to service or fix the board. The only real solution is to get a new one, though that can be expensive, depending on your Samsung fridge model.
As you’ve read above, the combination of a warm fridge and an ice buildup can be pretty confusing at first. But it starts to make more sense when you realize the ice buildup prevents cold air from circulating correctly, which is why the fridge isn’t cooling correctly.
The problem can be caused by a frozen evaporator fan, a worn-out door seal, or a failing defrost heater. Once you rule those out, consider that the fridge’s control board is malfunctioning and causing the problems you’re experiencing.