Fridge Hero, Freezer Zero: What to Do When Your Fridge Works but Freezer Doesn’t
You’re ready to enjoy some hard-earned ice cream only to discover it’s transformed into a milkshake. Ice cream-less, you wonder, “Why is my freezer not working?”
If your refrigerator is still going strong, but your freezer is not freezing, we’re here to help. Read on to find out what causes freezers to stop working, how to troubleshoot, and what to do when all else fails.
6 Reasons Why the Freezer Is Not Cold, but the Fridge Is
We’ve covered what to do when your refrigerator isn’t working and your freezer still is, but what if the opposite is true? As one of the most important household appliances, you’ll likely want to get your freezer fixed as soon as possible, so here are six common culprits of a freezer that isn’t working properly:
1. Your Freezer is Stuffed to the Brim
Is your freezer not working, but the fridge is fine? It could be as simple as having too many items in your freezer!
For your freezer to cool properly, it needs to be able to circulate air freely. Overpacking a freezer can limit airflow and even block important components like the evaporator fan. If your freezer isn’t freezing, try clearing out space and re-organizing your frozen goods to improve airflow.
Overpacking can harm your freezer in the long run, since it causes the evaporator fan motor to compensate for poor airflow by working overtime. Overworked motors are likely to burn out, so if your freezer still isn’t working after making some room, the next step is to make sure your door gasket seal is functioning properly.
2. Your Door Gasket Has Gone Bad
If your freezer is cool but not cold, it’s possible that your door seal has gone bad. Over time, door seals can harden, crack, and fail to seal, which can lead to precious cold air escaping from your freezer.
Before replacing your seal, however, check to ensure that a long forgotten item isn’t preventing the door from shutting all the way. If the door is able to close securely, check the health of your door gasket by putting something thin, like a receipt or piece of printer paper between the freezer and the door.
If you can slip the paper out with the door shut, your door gasket may not be sealing properly and should be replaced. Door seals can fail in specific areas, so be sure to repeat the paper test on multiple areas of your freezer door.
Rent-A-Center Tip: Warmer freezer temperatures can result in condensation and may melt ice buildup, leading to water flowing out of your freezer and into your refrigerator. So if you’ve ever found water in your refrigerator, a faulty freezer door seal could be the culprit!
3. The Evaporator Fan Isn’t Spinning
Your freezer’s evaporator fan is meant to pull air from the freezer through the evaporator, which removes heat from the air so that it can be recirculated. If the evaporator fan isn’t spinning due to a bent blade, ice buildup, or a bad motor, your freezer won’t be able to cool itself.
The first step in troubleshooting your evaporator fan is to unplug the refrigerator from its power source. Then, find the fan on the back of the unit and check to make sure that it is undamaged, free of ice, and is able to spin freely. If you notice a high-pitched whining or buzzing sound and the fan won’t run when the unit is plugged in, your motor could be on its way out.
4. The Condenser Coils Are Clogged
Your condenser coil’s job is to cool circulating refrigerant and expel heat from the freezer until it’s at your set temperature. Since condenser coils consist of many thin metal fins that air passes through, frost, dust, and various other grime can accumulate and block necessary airflow.
Generally, you can find your condenser coil on the back of your refrigerator, near the bottom of the unit. If you find that your condenser coils are dirty, you can clean them by using a small vacuum attachment or specially designed condenser brush. Ideally, condenser coils should be cleaned once or twice a year to keep your refrigerator and freezer in top shape.
5. Your Start Relay Has Failed
Also called a controller, your freezer’s start relay turns your compressor on and off to maintain the perfect temperature. If your start relay has failed, the compressor may not turn on at all, and if it does, it may turn off erratically.
To check the health of your start relay, begin by unplugging your refrigerator and removing the panel on the back of your freezer. Now that the panel is removed, look for the compressor — it’ll likely look like a large black cylinder.
On the side of the compressor, locate the start relay box and unplug it from the compressor. Shake the start relay and listen for any rattling sounds. After performing the shake test, examine the relay for any burn marks that could signal that it has shorted out. If you find that the relay rattles or has burn marks, it may need to be replaced.
6. The Thermostat Isn’t Working
Much like your home, refrigerators and freezers have a thermostat that enables a set temperature to be maintained. When your freezer’s thermostat is faulty, it may not cool at all. To check your thermostat, set your freezer’s temperature to the coldest setting.
After the compressor has kicked on, set the temperature to the warmest setting and listen for a “click” sound. If you hear a click, your thermostat is working and successfully shut off the cooling system. If there wasn’t a click, your thermostat might need replacing.
Rent-A-Center Tip: It’s worth noting that faulty thermostats don’t always result in warm freezers — sometimes they make your freezer extra cold, which can lead to water freezing before it has the chance to reach your freezer’s ice-cube mold. So if your ice maker isn’t working in the future, but your freezer is frigid, it’s possible that a bad thermostat could be the culprit.
Upgrade Your Freezer at Rent-A-Center
It’s a spine-chilling experience when your food spoils due to a faulty freezer! If your freezer still isn’t working after troubleshooting, it may be time for a new refrigerator/freezer combo. Upgrade to a fully functional, name-brand refrigerator with freezer from your local Rent-A-Center. Get started today!