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Why Is the Freezer Not Cold Enough and How to Repair

Freezer Not Cold Enough
Dec 2020

In a sense, you could say the freezer – compared to the fridge/chiller side – is much more indispensable. There is a reason why you keep food and other items frozen. And so, to open the door and see everything thawed can indeed turn an otherwise ordinary day into a chaotic one. Should you try to salvage the food? Maybe you should call the local appliance repair center first? Relax, though, and take a step back. Hopefully, the reason why your freezer is not cold enough is something you can fix.

What to Do If the Freezer Is Not Cold Enough

Freezing your perishable food items is a way to save time and money. The last thing you want is to see them go to waste – not unless you can cook all of them. Before doing anything drastic, though, go through these steps to diagnose the cause. Who knows, you might just put an end to your freezer not freezing without the help of specialists – if you are handy enough.

1. Did you overfill the freezer?

overfill the freezer

Inside the freezer, cold air circulates to freeze all the food perishables you put in. If you fill it to the brim, some items may not receive enough cold air and remain unfrozen. In this case, you would need to re-organize and reduce the load.

2. Have you checked the door seal?

One of the first things you should check is the door gasket. A visual inspection should reveal if there are torn parts. Even if it looks to be in excellent condition, you still want to make sure that it is not too loose.

Try to insert a piece of paper money in between the gasket and the freezer. When you pull the note, there should be some resistance. That indicates that the gasket is sealing the door properly. If it is too loose, then it needs to be replaced.

checked the door seal

3. Is the condenser or evaporator coils dirty?

The condenser coils of most home refrigerators can be found at the rear side. Use a combination of evaporator brush, damp cloth, and vacuum to clean – and do it carefully.

When condenser coils are too dirty, they cannot disperse heat efficiently. That is why even if the compressor motor is running, your freezer is not able to maintain freezing cold temperatures to preserve your food.

To ensure proper operation, you should clean the condenser coils at least once every six months or yearly. The only exception is if your refrigerator houses the evaporator coils within the freezer. They are not exposed to the environment and, therefore, do not require regular cleaning.

4. Can a faulty start relay cause the freezer to be not cold enough?

If the compressor does not run, then the freezer cannot freeze your perishables. Fortunately, these motors are durable and can last years. Hence, the most probable cause is a faulty start relay.

How do you know the start relay is defective?

First of all, this is not something many homeowners can do. It would require knowledge and tools.

Essentially, to test the start relay, you would have to unplug the freezer and remove it from the compressor motor. Using a multimeter, test it for continuity. If there is none between the start and run terminals, that means the start relay is busted and can be swapped with a new one.

faulty start relay

5. Is the evaporator fan motor working?

The evaporator fan motor has one primary job – to move air over the condenser coils, dissipate it, which lowers the temperature. If this motor fails, your freezer cannot freeze food because the circulating air would not be cold enough.

The way a fridge technician would test if it is working is by opening the door. If the evaporator fan does not work even after repeated pressing and releasing of the door switch, a replacement is needed.

If you would like to do the test yourself, note that the evaporator fan motor in most freezers does not run if the door is open.

6. Is it time to defrost the freezer?

If you are using a manual defrost freezer, check the interior to see the frost build-up. If it is too thick, the cooling efficiency would not be at its best.

Related article: Seven Common Reasons Your Freezer Is Leaking

How to Prevent Your Freezer from Not Freezing

If you have yet to encounter a problem, regular maintenance actions can prevent (or delay) one from occurring.

1. Read the manual

The owner’s manual is your best friend. It contains crucial information, such as troubleshooting and maintenance. Unfortunately, most people are not even willing to read. At any rate, do keep them around. You never know when you might need it.

2. Clean the freezer

How often should you clean your freezer? Incredibly, some people don’t bother – not until when there is a problem. Ideally, though, you should – at least two times yearly. Wiping the interior is easy. Simply prepare a damp cloth or rag and dishwashing soap. Just make sure that you do not leave soap residues on the shelves and walls.

After cleaning the interior, give the freezer enough time to dry. Afterwhich, you can turn it on and put food back.

If you are particular about the smell, try putting a box of baking soda (opened) inside. You can also use other containers. Just make sure there are holes where odor particles can enter and be trapped.

Clean the freezer

3. Do not forget to clean the coils

As a preventive measure, clean the condenser coils once a year. In time, they will accumulate dust. You do not want that to affect heat dissipation, which inhibits the ability to produce cold air.

4. Keep the temperature optimal

Ideally, the interior temperature of a freezer should be 0°F (-17.78°C). You can take a measurement by doing this: prepare a cup of vegetable oil, dip the thermometer, and leave it in the freezer overnight. Make the necessary adjustments to reach the desired reading.

DIY or Hire Professionals

As you read the article, you see that there are possible reasons why your fridge cannot keep cold – which you can fix. A seemingly harmless mistake, such as overfilling the freezer, can be a problem. Door gaskets that are too loose, cracked, or torn, can easily be replaced. These are issues that you can easily take care of – without help.

For more complex problems, such as faulty motors, you would need the services of expert fridge technicians. In the Greater Toronto Area as well as Niagara and Hamilton, Prime Appliance Repairs can be at your door in the shortest time possible to take care of freezer not freezing issues. Be sure to ask them about their 6-month warranty.

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