Why Freezer Is Too Warm? What’s the Cause and How To Fix?

Freezers are one of the most used appliances in most homes, as they’re designed to keep food cold. However, if your freezer is too warm, it can cause food spoilage and damage your unit, so it’s essential to determine the cause and take appropriate action.

Your freezer may be too warm because of a defective defrost thermostat, a leak in the sealed system, a damaged compressor, or clogged freezer coils. To fix the issue, you could turn off the power supply, wait for the unit to cool down, defrost the freezer, or change any damaged parts. 

In this article, I will discuss the most common causes of why your freezer is too warm and possible solutions to fix these issues. So, let’s get started!

1. The Freezer’s Defrost Thermostat Might Be Defective

A freezer’s defrost system comprises three components: 

  • Thermostat
  • Heater
  • Timer 

When the coils in the freezer become too cold, the timer cues the heater to turn on and melt the excess ice buildup. In the same way, if the freezer becomes too warm, the thermostat prompts the heater to turn off so that the coils maintain a normal temperature. 

The defrost thermostat is a system component that regulates the temperature in the freezer. If the sensors in the thermostat are defective, it can cause your heater to run continuously and make the freezer warm.

How To Fix?

You cannot tell if your thermostat has failed simply by looking at it. You will need to perform a continuity test to see if a continuous electrical path is present in the thermostat. 

To perform a continuity test, follow these steps:  

  1. Identify your thermostat’s power source and ground terminals.
  2. Perform a continuity test using a multimeter by placing the red lead on one terminal and the black lead on the other terminal.  

If you get continuity, your thermostat is working fine. However, if you don’t, the thermostat has failed, and you need to get a new one.

Here’s a video explaining how you can replace a defrost thermostat in your freezer:

2. There Might Be a Puncture in the Freezer’s Sealed System

A freezer’s sealed system comprises the following:

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  • Condenser
  • Compressor
  • Capillary tubes
  • Suction lines
  • Evaporator 

A fluid called refrigerant (Freon) circulates continuously in the system, keeping the temperature cool. When everything works well, the refrigerant travels through all parts of the sealed system with the correct pressure and rate. 

You have a cold freezer as long as the sealed system is working properly, but if one of its components gets punctured, it will cause the refrigerant to leak out and the freezer temperature to drop.

There are many common signs to help you determine that there is a leak in the sealed system, including the following:

  • The freezer starts to smell like ammonia.
  • The compressor’s fan turns on and off.
  • The temperature in the freezer fluctuates or goes down.
  • The freezer’s door becomes warm when you close it.
  • Food starts to thaw prematurely.

Read: Chest And Upright Freezer Maintenance Checklist

How To Fix?

Be careful if you plan to fix the issue on your own. However, it is best to consult a skilled professional, especially if you’re unfamiliar with fixing compressors and refrigerant leaks

To repair a system leak, you must first detect it. You can purchase a detector from an appliance shop, but if you want to save money, you can use soap and water. 

Spray the soapy water on the piping, and if there’s a leak, you’ll notice bubbles forming. As a temporary solution, you can use a cold-weather epoxy seal to patch the leak. 

After fixing the leak, you will have to recharge the refrigerant. You’ll need a licensed refrigerant and compressor repair technician for this procedure.

Read: Is A Deep Freezer Good For Home Use?

3. The Freezer’s Compressor Might Be Damaged

The freezer’s compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant into the system, and if it fails, it makes your freezer warm. 

It is one of the most important parts of a freezer, and some of the most common culprits of a failing compressor include:

  • Broken belts
  • Leaking seals
  • Warped coils
  • High voltage surges 

Not only will a bad compressor make your freezer warm, but a faulty one might also cause the freezer to overheat and potentially burn.

How To Fix?

If the compressor is not cooling the freezer properly, here are the steps you should follow to fix it:

  1. Remove the compartment cover and check the condenser fan. If it’s working, your compressor should be getting power because it shares a circuit with the condenser fan motor. 
  2. Unplug your freezer and unhook the retainer clip. Plug out the PTC start relay, which is a small device that starts the compressor inside the fridge to make cold air. Shake the relay to see if it rattles. If it does, your start relay has burnt, and you should replace it.
  3. Perform a continuity test using a multimeter if the relay doesn’t rattle. Put the leads of the terminal in the meter, and if the meter reads one, then there is an open circuit between the terminals. This means the relay has failed, and you’ll have to get it replaced. 

If the start relay is working fine, then your compressor is broken. You will have to call a technician to replace the compressor. Here is a video discussing how you can troubleshoot compressor problems in your freezer:

4. The Freezer Coils Might Be Clogged

One of the most common culprits of a warm freezer is the frost buildup of the condenser coils. Clogged coils can prevent air from circulating and will cause your compressor to work harder and produce more heat than necessary.

Aside from ice, clogged coils are also often the result of a buildup of dust and/or other particles in the refrigerant lines. To prevent the coils from getting clogged and keep your freezers working properly, ensure that you clean them bi-weekly.

Read: How To Reduce And Prevent Moisture In The Freezer?

How To Fix?

Clogged coils mean less freezer time and more wear and tear on your compressor, so cleaning them as often as possible is essential. Here are the steps to follow in cleaning them: 

  1. Turn off your freezer and unplug it. Remove the back of the freezer unit by unscrewing the screws on each side of the back panel.
  2. Check behind the unit to see how much frost has accumulated in front of your condenser coils. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all excess frost from around them and other areas, such as hoses. Use a squeegee or rag if you can’t remove them with a vacuum.
  3. Screw back the back panel and plug in the freezer. Turn the unit back on, and leave it alone for an hour to allow any moisture left behind by the vacuum cleaner or squeegee to evaporate before you put in any food. 

Read: Is A Noisy Freezer Dangerous? 

Summary

When your freezer is too warm, it might be because of something as simple as clogged coils or because of a more complex issue like a puncture in the sealed system. You must first identify the warning signs before you can fix the problem. 

And while you can resolve the issue on your own by following the steps mentioned in this article, it would be best to get professional help, especially if you have zero experience or knowledge about compressors and leaks.

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