Why is my Refrigerator Freezing Food? Troubleshooting Guide

Let’s look at six possible causes for why your refrigerator freezing food. These are some common issues that cause vegetables to freeze in the drawer, and some of the common solutions to the problems. We’ll also explore some brand-specific issues for your particular refrigerator.

If your food is getting frozen in the refrigerator, you might have one of six different causes. A defective damper control assembly, malfunctioning thermistor, or problematic thermostat control can cause the temperature to be off. Also, the main control board or temperature control panel may be defective.

Defective Damper Control Assembly

The air damper control open/close allowing the proper amount of cold air to circulate into your refrigerator.

If it is not functioning properly, this can lead to improper temperature settings, causing vegetables freezing in refrigerator drawers or another frosting to possibly result inside the refrigerator chambers.

If the damper door is stuck in the open position continually flowing cold air will freeze food in your refrigerator.

If it is opened, or if the damper control assembly is defective, you will have to replace this component in order to prevent the refrigerator from remaining too cold, causing your food to freeze in the lower chamber.

Fridge freezing food

Thermistor is Malfunctioning

In certain refrigerator models, a thermistor is a part that monitors the air temperature that flows into and out of the refrigerator.

This will send readings to the temperature control board in the refrigerator, in turn directing voltage to the refrigerant system components. These components include the

  • Start relay timer
  • Compressor
  • Condenser and evaporator motors

If the thermistor is malfunctioning or defective, it is not going to direct the proper voltage levels to the refrigerant system.

Conversely, the temperatures in your refrigerator will be too low or too high because of this.

If the thermistor is malfunctioning, it can result in the fan motors, the compressor, or all three parts operating continuously.

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When this occurs, the refrigerator compartment becomes too cold.

A multimeter can measure the thermistor’s resistance levels to see how it is functioning at varying temperature settings and to determine if the part has continuity.

If no resistance changes are noted in the multimeter testing or continuity, this is an indication that you’ll have to replace the thermistor in the refrigerator.

Malfunctioning Thermostat Control

The thermostat control is responsible for turning your refrigerator on and off. It also monitors the temperature of the air in the freezer and refrigerator. Check your thermostat here

The thermostat directs voltage to the compressor, condenser, and evaporator fan motors.

This is how the temperature control cools the air in your refrigerator if it gets too high.

If the thermostat is malfunctioning, this causes the compressor to run more than it has to, which in turn, causes refrigerator freezing food and waste.

Possible ways to check if the thermostat is malfunctioning

  • While the compressor is running, turn the temperature dial
  • Listen for a click sound
  • A clicking sound is an indication that the cooling system is shutting off
  • This also indicates the thermostat is operating as it should

Conversely, a multimeter can be used to test the thermostat.

If continuity is tested at all temperature settings, this is an indication that the component has shorted, meaning you’ll have to replace the part.

If the thermostat control isn’t operating, there is no way to service/repair it.

So, if it is defective, you will have to replace this part.

Cold temperature control not working

Problems with Specific Make/Model Refrigerators

Frigidaire, GE, and Samsung are some of the leading manufacturers of appliances.

If you own one of these refrigerators and experiencing problems with freezing, there are some common ways to resolve these issues.

Samsung Fridge Freezing Food

It might be caused by frozen ice on the back of the evaporator cover.

This can mean a defrost issue or a clogged drain tube.

You’ll first want to remove the shelving and unmount the water reservoir.

You’ll then remove the back panel. Removing the screws which are holding the back panel in place allows you to access the wiring harnesses.

If ice is built up in the evaporator you’ll first check the defrost fuse.

You will do a continuity check and connect each meter into the fuse.

If you hear an audible tone, this indicates the continuity (ohms reading) is at the correct level.

If the defrost heater checks out okay, this means the issue is a clogged tube.

When the unit goes into self defrost, it isn’t draining, so the water remains behind the back panel and refreezes on the back panel.

Using a blowdryer or a small handheld heater, you’ll first melt the block of ice on the back panel off the evaporator.

You’ll remove the drain tube, pour water into the compartment to see if it drains.

If it does, this indicates the drain tube is clear, and water should flow normally to prevent freezing.

Once unclogged, replace the panels, the shelving, and other items you removed from the fridge, and this should eliminate the Samsung fridge freezing food problem you’re encountering.

Frigidaire Refrigerator Freezing Food

The problem might be with the temperature control thermostat. To replace it you will

  • Remove shelving if necessary and remove the screws to remove the conduit and damper covers
  • Take the thermostat sensor off the damper and remove the control panel
  • Remove the knobs and disconnect the wires from the control thermostat
  • Remove the temperature control thermostat from the bracket and replace it with a new one
  • You’ll fit the insulating sleeve from the old thermostat to the new one

Place the control panel back into the bracket, reconnect the wiring, knobs, and conduit and damper covers.

GE Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Freezing Food

If you’re experiencing this issue, you’ll need to check the dampers on your fridge.

First, check to see the controls are set to the right temperature. If they are, you’ll then

  • If the damper is broken, you’ll have to replace this piece
  • When the damper breaks off the motor, it allows cold air to circulate into the fresh food section and cause ice to build up
  • You’ll have to remove shelving and the air duct in the fridge
  • Look inside to see if the damper is broken; if so, you’ll have to replace the housing to block the cold air from circulating into the fresh food section

A second common issue is a damaged thermistor. As detailed above, you’ll use a multimeter to check resistance levels of the thermistor. If there’s no change in continuity during the multimeter testing, the ohm reading should be about 16.6 on GE fridges. If it isn’t at this level, you should replace the thermistor.

The Main Control Board has Malfunctioned

The main control board in your fridge regulates the power supplied to the entire appliance and control systems, if the main control board is malfunctioning, this can result in other parts and components not operating as they should.

It may also allow for continuous voltage to be sent to the refrigerant system components and parts.

The end result is that the refrigerator compartment is going to become too cold, which causes foods in the refrigerator to freeze over.

This main control board is difficult to test, but a visual inspection of all components, will help you determine if there are possible signs of burning, loose wires or pieces, or if a component has shorted out, which is causing the main control board to malfunction.

If any of these issues are noted when performing your inspection, you might have to replace or have the main control board repaired.

Depending on your refrigerator model and brand, it may be possible to complete repairs, and with some models, you’ll have to replace the part altogether.

Regardless of whether you want to replace or repair it, it is best to hire a repair technician to do the work for you, as it is a complex part, and one which requires a great deal of specialization to work with.

Defective Temperature Control Board

If the temperature control board is defective, this will cause it to send continuous voltage to the

  • Compressor
  • Fan motors

Because this isn’t a common problem with most refrigerator models, it’s important to check all other solutions first. It is also best to utilize the right testing equipment, to make sure nothing in the refrigerator is malfunctioning.

Check all wires as well, to ensure nothing is loose, which might be causing a defective reading in your control board.

Because the problem isn’t one that normally occurs, if you do run into this issue, you might want to hire a repair technician to do the work and replace the control board for you, rather than attempting a DIY repair yourself.

Quick Fixes

Sometimes, it’s not a part that needs replacement. A quick check of the temperature dial on your refrigerator, might indicate the problem to you immediately.

A second immediate fix is to check the coils of the refrigerator. If they’re overly dusty or dirty, your compressor has to work harder.

To clean them, simply pull your refrigerator away from the walls, and clean up behind the fridge.

This should automatically resolve the problem if it was due to the compressor being overworked because the coils were dirty.

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