Why Your Fridge Is Cold But Not Your Freezer

It may be comprehensible if the entire fridge was malfunctioning, but it is perplexing why the refrigerator is chilly while the freezer is not. Multiple factors are responsible for this issue.

One of the primary reasons for a fridge being cold but not the freezer is the accumulation of dirt and ice on the operational parts and motor of the freezer, including condenser coils, evaporator coils, and the evaporator fan motor. Clearing away this dirt and ice can help cool down the freezer. Overfilling, damage to these parts, and neglecting to defrost are other frequent causes.

However, how does this lead to the situation where your freezer is not cold but your refrigerator is? Moreover, what measures can you take to resolve this strange enigma? Keep reading to gain a better understanding of this peculiar phenomenon.

Blocked or Clogged Vents

One reason why your freezer may not be as cold as your fridge is due to blocked vents caused by excessive items or ice accumulation, which can lead to overheating and overworking of the freezer.

Although it may not cause your fridge to become overheated or warm, the issue of blocked air vents in the freezer can often result in the appearance of condensation and puddles on the walls of your fridge, which is a clear indication that your freezer is not cooling properly.

Dirty or Broken Evaporator Coils or Fan

If your freezer is warm and your fridge is cool, it could indicate a damaged or disrupted evaporator unit depending on the model of your appliance. If your appliance has only one evaporator unit, both the fridge and freezer will be affected by its malfunction.

However, certain units feature distinct evaporator units for both the freezer and fridge, which may suggest that the coils in your freezer are either unclean or damaged while those in your fridge are functioning properly, or that the motor fan is either unclean or broken.

Checking the evaporator unit is crucial if you observe that the freezer is not cold but the fridge is, as it is one of the most frequent reasons for this unusual situation.

Issues with Your Freezer’s Thermostat

Just like the evaporator coils, certain models of refrigerators have distinct thermostats for both the fridge and freezer. In case you observe that your freezer is not cold enough, it is advisable to verify if the thermostat is functioning correctly.

To confirm the proper functioning of your thermostat, you can lower the temperature and listen for a clicking sound that indicates the thermostat is regulating the motor. If no such sound is heard, it could indicate a malfunctioning thermostat.

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Broken Door Gaskets

Although it may appear insignificant, the matter is important. Are you certain that your freezer is sealing correctly each time you shut it? Alternatively, does the pressure from closing your refrigerator door cause your freezer to open slightly?

If your freezer is not as cold as it should be while your fridge is, it may indicate that the gaskets in your freezer are damaged, torn, or contaminated with mold or dirt, which can hinder the suction process.

What To Do If Your Freezer Isn’t Getting Cold (But Your Fridge Is)

Having identified some of the primary reasons for your problem, the next step is to determine what actions you can take to address it.

Fortunately, it may not be necessary to seek professional assistance as a preliminary step would be to verify whether your freezer is executing its defrost cycles.

Nowadays, many freezers come with an auto-defrost feature, which was not available in the past. Previously, individuals had to manually turn off their freezer, remove its contents, wait for the ice to thaw, and then switch it back on. However, if you own an older freezer model, it may not have this automatic function.

However, in the case of a new model, the freezer should activate this mode automatically at the appropriate time, but if you observe the accumulation of frost and significant ice chunks inside your appliance, it is likely due to a malfunction in this mechanism.

If you have eliminated the possibility of this being the reason for your problems, then it could be any of the aforementioned options. In case you have examined your thermostat and discovered that it is defective, you might require assistance to replace it.

Replacing the internal thermostat is crucial for the optimal operation of the entire unit and should be done promptly.

However, if you are experiencing any of these problems, there are some remedies that you can attempt.

Fixing Broken Gaskets or Other Door Issues

Another possible reason for your freezer not being cold enough could be the condition of the freezer door, which may have dirty or damaged gaskets.

To clean your gasket, use the following steps:

  • Inspect the gasket’s edges for any areas with obstructions or dampness.
  • In case you observe accumulation, take out the seals (refer to your manual)
  • Put your refrigerator door seal in the sink
  • Submerge the sink in hot, soapy water and allow it to soak for half an hour.
  • At the same time, make certain that the door remains closed by using duct tape or a similar adhesive tape.
  • Take out the gasket after half an hour and wipe it dry using a cloth.
  • Ensure that you thoroughly clean the crevices of the gasket.
  • Adhere to the instructions provided in the manual to reinstall it into the freezer.
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If you happen to observe any tears along the gasket line while cleaning it, it is advisable to replace it as these tears can interfere with the sealing process and lead to a rise in temperature of your freezer.

Clean the Vents

If you observe that the freezer’s vents are coated with ice or dust, it can lead to an increase in temperature of the freezer. This is due to the fact that these vents play a crucial role in filtering and circulating air within the unit, which helps maintain its coolness.

Freezers typically have a vent located at the back of their interior that can accumulate ice and dust. To remove this buildup, begin by saturating a cloth in hot, soapy water and use it to wipe down the vent as thoroughly as possible.

Using warm water can help melt the ice and remove any dirt that may have built up, which should improve the functioning of your freezer. However, if this method does not work, you may have to take off the cover.

To take off the cover, utilize a tiny screwdriver to eliminate the screws that hold the vent cover in place. It might be helpful to use a hose from a vacuum cleaner to extract some of the debris and filth from within. For additional instructions, refer to the manual for your freezer.

If problems related to the vent persist, it may be advisable to seek assistance from a professional. A skilled worker can easily swap out any malfunctioning or defective components.

Check the Evaporator Coils and Fan

The freezer-cooling mechanism involves the circulation of air by the Evaporator coil and fan, which are typically situated outside at the back of your refrigerator unit.

Usually, there is a cover over the coils that can be removed with a screwdriver, revealing the coils that can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner; however, it is important to consult your manual before attempting to wipe down the coils directly.

It is possible that certain coils may not have enough strength to withstand direct wiping, as excessive pressure can cause them to break and necessitate replacement by a mechanic.

Check out: What Can I Do to Cool Down My Freezer?

How Long Can You Keep Food In the Freezer When It’s Not Working?

According to the Food and Safety website, the freezer can stay frozen for up to two days. This is contingent on how full your freezer was when it lost power or broke down. A full freezer will remain cold for 48 hours while a half-filled one will last 24 hours.

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Generally, it is recommended to discard food after 48 hours of power loss or thawing in the freezer. In case you are unsure about the duration of warmness in your freezer, it is advisable to inspect the food to decide whether it is safe for consumption or not.

When deciding whether your fridge or freezer is not working properly, it is important to consider the type of food you have and be suspicious of any food that is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius).

While the Food and Safety website provides a helpful chart to assist in determining which items should be kept or discarded, it is advisable to adhere to these general principles:

  • Throw away any meat that has been kept at 40 degrees or higher for two hours or longer.
  • Vegetables and fruits should be kept unless they have mold or a musty smell.
  • Bread and pastries should be retained unless they have mold on them.

Meat dishes pose the highest risk when it comes to storage, along with dairy products and cheeses, as they are prone to bacterial growth in response to sudden changes in temperature.

Check out: Is It Advisable to Unplug a Refrigerator When Not In Use?

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Freezer?

According to Forbes, the typical cost for freezer repairs in the USA is $350.00. This figure varies depending on where you live. This is a national average based on the combined expenses of repairs. The least expensive repairs are estimated at $60.00 while the priciest can reach up to $600-700.00. 

When assessing the cost of repairing your freezer, start by examining your warranty to see if you are still covered, as it may include repairs for both the freezer and fridge.

If the time frame has passed, determining which component requires repair is necessary. If the evaporator coil or motor is suspected, the cost can range from $100 to $500 depending on the extent of the damage and which parts require replacement.

Typically, the replacement of a faulty gasket is an inexpensive fix that ranges from $45-65.00 dollars; however, if the door has more severe issues such as broken hinges or other damages, the cost may increase.

You can also check this video about “Why Your Fridge Is Cold But Not Your Freezer”

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