Freezers, like any other appliance, can be tricky. 

We love the food storage capabilities and the ready supply of ice for our summer time drinks, but what a pain when the freezer does its job too well!

Frozen Freezer
If this sight looks familiar, you’re in the right place.

It’s not a situation you should be in friends, and with the help of Appliance Analysts, we’re going to sort this icy problem out once and for all!

Quick Fixes To Try

A malfunctioning freezer could be the result of a faulty part. These are complicated to fix, and often are better off in the hands of a professional.

The good news is that there may be some simple solutions you can try.

Here’s a quick list of easy fixes:

  • Make sure the appliance is level. The refrigerant process used by any fridge/freezer relies on moving liquids and gas around. If the appliance isn’t level, this process can’t work properly.
  • Is it simply too cold? If the appliance is already in a cold area, this can mean it’s overpowered for what you need. If so, make sure to have the cooling settings down to a minimum.
  • Are the settings the wrong way round? If you have an old-school analogue wheel inside the freezer, try running it at two extreme ends. On some freezers, ‘5’ may be maximum cooling, while on others, it could be 1. Or it may simply be reversed by accident.
  • Have you tried resetting it? Especially with modern fridge freezers, the ‘smart’ electronics can backfire. A good reset (simple unplug, wait 5 minutes, replug) can fix some component issues.
  • It may just need thawed out. A freezer being too cold can be like a snowball rolling down a hill. Once the interior freezing starts, more and more of it build up quicker and quicker. Allowing it to fully thaw out over 24 hours can be the cause. This will also fix any ice build-up in the fridge’s other components.

If you don’t think it’s any of the above – it’s time to roll our sleeves up.

Below we’ve gone through each of the most common causes for a freezer going overboard – with fixes for each.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Cause #1: Faulty Air Damper

The air damper (AKA freezer control) decides the amount of cold air that’s sent into the freezer.  If the air damper of your fridge/freezer isn’t working right, too much cold air may be staying in the freezer instead of circulating to other areas like your fridge. 

This is bad for your appliance because it means that the compressor has to work harder to get extra cold air into the fridge compartments.  Also, your freezer will then be too cold and iced up.

Fixing A Faulty Air Damper

Unplug the fridge and take off the damper cover first.  Check that the freezer/damper control is actually running the damper.  Also check for obstructions or binding on the air damper that shouldn’t be there. 

Fridge Damper Control being detached
An example of an air damper/freezer control. Check your fridge’s manual if you can’t spot yours.

If there is an automatic temperature sensing bulb attached, make sure that it’s positioned correctly to measure the temperature inside the fridge and do its job adjusting the control. 

Also, check that the damper door is not stuck in the ‘open’ position – if cold air is constantly flowing unrestricted from the damper then food will over – freeze.  If it is stuck open, remove any obstruction like built ice and close it back to its proper position.

Cause #2: Faulty Temperature Sensor/Thermistor

If your fridge/freezer has an electronic control board, its temperatures are being controlled by the temperature sensor or thermistor.  The thermistor is usually found by the air inlet, and is usually a capsule enclosed in plastic with two wires attached. 

The thermistor is crucial to running the fans, compressor and damper, so if it’s faulty it’s not signaling to the control board to shut the motors off, so the freezer will get too cold and over – freeze.  A picture of a thermistor is below for your reference, but check your appliance’s manual too in case your type of thermistor looks different.

Fixing A Faulty Thermistor

First of all check your manual or the manufacturer’s website to try to decode the fault code if one is being displayed. 

You can also check the thermistor by using a multi meter.  Check the thermistor’s resistance levels to see how it works at different temperature settings and to determine if the thermistor itself has continuity.  If testing it with the multi meter doesn’t give you resistance changes or continuity, this is an indication that the thermistor needs to be replaced.

Cause #3: Malfunctioning Thermostat Control

The thermostat control is responsible for turning the appliance on and off.  It also monitors the temperature of the air in the freezer and fridge.  If it’s not working properly, the compressor of your appliance will overrun, causing freezing to an unwanted level. 

Fridge Freezer Thermostat
A Standard Fridge Freezer Thermostat

Checking the Thermostat Control

To check the thermostat/temperature control using a multi – meter, you’ll need to check your appliance’s wiring diagram first.  This is usually found on the back of the refrigerator or in the compressor compartment.  Alternatively, look online for a wiring diagram appropriate for your model appliance.  Study the manufacturer’s wiring diagram so that you know where everything goes, how they connect and how to put them back in the right places afterwards!

Referring to the wiring diagram, find the wiring harness coming from the temperature control and disconnect it from the terminal board in the compressor compartment.  Set the function switch on your digital multi meter (DMM) to ‘R x 1’ scale and connect the test probes to the two wires from the thermostatic switch that supplies power to the compressor’s motor. 

With the temperature control in the ‘Off’ position, the DMM should display ‘O.L’ on its display screen.  As you slowly turn the temperature control knob from its ‘Off’ position to its maximum cold position, the DMM should display a ‘0.000’ on its display. 

If the meter shows a ‘0.000’ in the ‘Off’ position or continues to display an ‘O.L’ even in the maximum cold position, the control is faulty and needs to be replaced.

  • Faulty Temperature Sensing Bulb.  If the thermostat passed the electrical function test but the fridge/freezer is still running continuously, freezing everything, the problem could be a faulty temperature sensing bulb on the temperature control.  The bulb is a vital part of the temperature control switch, so the whole control will need to be replaced if it is not functioning correctly.
  • Temperature Control Knob incorrectly set.  It seems obvious, but it could be that you’ve inadvertently set or adjusted your temperature control knob for your fridge/freezer to ‘high’.  Check in your appliance’s manual because ‘high’ usually means higher power (colder temperature) as opposed to a higher temperature

In other words, a ‘high’ setting on the temperature control knob will mean that your appliance is at its coldest – this could be causing your freezer to be too cold.

  • Very cold outside/ambient temperature.  If you are in an area where it is frequently very cold, this will make your fridge and freezer colder, so always check the optimal running temperature for your appliance in your appliance manual, and adjust the temperature control knob accordingly.

What Temperature is TOO Cold for a Fridge/Freezer?

Most freezers need to be kept at a constant temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or – 18 degrees Celsius.  Any temperature lower than 0 degrees Fahrenheit is TOO COLD and can lead to over – freezing and over – icing in the freezer compartments. 

As always, also consider your ambient temperature and refer to your appliance manual or appliance manufacturer for specialist advice as needed.

How Do I Know if my Fridge or Freezer is Still Under Warranty?

Repairs are expensive, not to mention the cost the cost in peace of mind. If you’re lucky enough that your fridge/freezer is still under warranty, an issue like one of the above should be covered entirely.

Here’s a handy checklist for you!

  1.  Think about typical warranty periods.  If it’s giving you problems within 30 days, you can take it back to the store usually without any hassle – and most retailers offer a standard 1 year warranty on appliances.
  2.  Phone the store and check their exchange/refund/returns policy first, get confirmation that you’re all good.  THEN make the trip out to the store.  No point in a wasted trip or wasted haulage fees!
  3.  Check your receipt and user’s manual for the appliance – often all the information regarding your warranty (including the fine print) is on there.  Check if you took any type of insurance with the warranty, it’ll be mentioned on the receipt or user’s manual.
  4. Visit the manufacturer’s website if you’ve had no luck locating your documentation.  A good manufacturer’s website will give you all the information that you need about warranty periods and terms, insurance and extended coverage options.
  5. Remember your customer rewards memberships!  If you’re part of a customer rewards program with the retailer, you may be entitled to an extended warranty or better terms when returning items, so check with your retailer to make sure that you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
  6. Check with your credit card company!  Bought your appliance on your credit card?  Often credit card users get access to extended warranty coverage PAST the traditional 1 year retailer’s warranty, as part of consumer protection.  Check with your credit card homies, they may be able to save you hassle and money, even if your retailer’s warranty has since expired.

Earlier We Mentioned Ice Cream – Here’s How to Thaw Ice Cream Like a Pro

At Appliance Analysts we don’t just introduce delectable topics like ICE CREAM and then leave you hanging.  We wouldn’t do you a dirty like that, so here’s our top tip to get your frozen treat thawed to scoopable perfection!

DON’T leave ice cream on the kitchen counter to thaw – you’ll be left with too soft edges and a rock hard middle. 

DO take your ice cream out of the freezer and leave it in the fridge to thaw for 20 minutes, this will give a more even and smooth thaw throughout the ice cream.

Enjoy your frozen treats everybody, and thanks again for joining us at Appliance Analysts as we busted over – cold freezers!