Troubleshooting a Freezer That Won't Freeze

Learn about the common causes of a freezer not freezing and how to troubleshoot and fix the issue. Keep your food frozen and save money on repairs with these expert tips.

Troubleshooting a Freezer That Won't Freeze

As an expert in appliance repair, I have encountered numerous cases of freezers not functioning properly. One of the most common issues is when a freezer stops freezing. This can be a frustrating problem, especially when you have a freezer full of food that is at risk of spoiling. In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience on what causes a freezer to stop working and how to troubleshoot and fix the issue.

Environmental Factors

The first thing to consider when your freezer is not freezing is the environment it is in.

If the temperature is too cold, the freezer may not have enough operating time to maintain its temperature. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the appliance will struggle to reach the desired temperature. This can be due to factors such as a malfunctioning thermostat or a faulty temperature control. Another environmental factor that can affect the performance of your freezer is dirty condenser coils. These coils are responsible for releasing heat from the freezer, and if they are covered in dust and debris, they cannot function properly.

This can lead to underfreezing and cause your freezer to stop working.

Internal Malfunctions

If environmental factors are not the cause of your freezer's malfunction, then it could be due to internal malfunctions. The most serious reasons for a freezer not freezing are issues with its internal components.

Evaporator Fan

The evaporator fan is responsible for circulating cold air throughout the freezer. If it is not working properly, it can lead to ice buildup on the fan blades, which prevents proper air circulation. This can be easily fixed by unplugging the refrigerator and cleaning the fan blades.

If the blades are bent or damaged, they will need to be replaced.

Back Panel

If you notice that the back panel of your freezer is coming off, it could be a sign of a more serious issue. Ice buildup behind the panel can cause it to peel off, which could indicate a coolant leak. This is a rare occurrence, but it is important to investigate and address it as soon as possible.

Dirty Coils

Dirty coils can also be the culprit behind a freezer that won't freeze. If you have cleaned and defrosted your freezer and everything seems to be in working order, try vacuuming the coils with a crevice tool or brush.

Dirty coils can restrict airflow and cause your freezer to underperform. It is important to regularly clean the coils to save energy and prevent overload.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are experiencing issues with your freezer not freezing, here are some troubleshooting tips that can help:
  • Make sure there is enough space under the evaporator fan for cold air to circulate properly.
  • Check if any items are blocking the freezer door from closing completely.
  • Test the freezer door seal by placing a dollar bill between the seal and the door. If you can easily pull out the bill, it may be time to replace the seal.

Proper Temperature Settings

According to the USDA, a freezer should be kept at 0°F (-18°C) to store frozen food. Make sure that your freezer's thermostat is set to this temperature for optimal performance.

The refrigerator temperature should also be set within the recommended range of 33-41°F (0-5°C).

Noises and Other Indicators

If you notice any unusual noises coming from your freezer, it could be a sign of a malfunctioning evaporator fan. In this case, it is best to repair or replace the fan as soon as possible to prevent further damage.


A freezer that won't freeze can be a frustrating and costly problem. However, with proper troubleshooting and maintenance, many issues can be easily resolved. By keeping your freezer clean, checking for environmental factors, and addressing any internal malfunctions, you can ensure that your freezer is functioning at its best and your food stays frozen.

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