Is Your Freezer Not Cold Enough? Here’s Why

Register Appliance
June 3, 2024
Refrigerator Repair

Have you been noticing that your freezer isn’t as cold as it should be? Is your food spoiling when it should be frozen solid, or is your ice still watery? Whatever the issue, it’s frustrating, stressful, and a food safety issue! However, don’t go researching replacement freezers just yet! There are a few different causes of freezers that aren’t cold enough, and many of them are relatively easy to fix! Read on to find out what to do!

What Temperature Should Your Freezer Be?

Let’s start with the basics—how cold should your freezer be? The FDA recommends that your freezer be kept at 0° F (-18° C) to ensure your food stays fresh and is safe to eat. At this temperature, bacteria growth is completely stopped, and your food can effectively stay safe indefinitely—although it may become dry and unappetizing after a while! Your freezer will have a thermostat that allows you to set the temperature, but if you’re unsure about the thermostat’s accuracy you can purchase a freezer thermometer and use it to check the actual temperature. 

Signs Your Freezer is Too Warm

Do you have suspicions that your freezer is too warm, but you’re not certain? There are a few telltale signs your freezer is not operating at the correct temperature—here are some of the most common:

Alarm sounding / error message

This only applies to certain models, but some freezers will sound an alarm when the freezer temperature is above what it should be. Your fridge might also show an error code on its electronic display that indicates an unsafe temperature. 

Food spoiling

Food kept in your freezer should not spoil at all—the temperature should be low enough to totally halt bacteria growth. If it’s spoiling, that’s a sign the temperature is higher than the recommended 0° F (-18° C).

Food not frozen solid

Ice cream is a particularly good indicator of whether your freezer is working correctly. If it is too easily scoopable, it’s likely your freezer temperature is too high. 

Frost buildup

This is a clear sign that your freezer is struggling to maintain its temperature. Frost is caused by humid, warm air entering the freezer and condensing on the walls. A properly operating freezer should be cold and dry enough that frost buildup doesn’t occur. 

Constant running

You may not have noticed this, but a freezer shouldn’t constantly be running. A properly functioning freezer cycles on and off, with periods when it makes less noise. A noisy, constantly running freezer means your freezer is struggling to keep the correct internal temperature. 

Common Causes of s Warm Freezer


An overloaded freezer will struggle to maintain temperature due to restricted airflow. Too many items packed into your freezer will block the vents and mean that your freezer is unable to circulate cold air. This may mean that there is uneven cooling within the freezer compartment, with some items frozen solid and others partly thawed. 

Check if your freezer is totally packed with items. Ideally, it should be kept around ¾ full to allow airflow between items. If you notice that the food at the back of the freezer is frozen while the food at the front is not, this is also indicative of an overloading issue. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove some excess items from your freezer. This is a good time to do a clearout—think about if you’re really going to eat that leftover casserole from two months ago!
  • Once you’ve got rid of the nonessential items, rearrange the remaining items so that there are spaces between them.
  • Monitor the situation to ensure the freezer temperature issue has been resolved. If not, there might be an underlying issue. 

Malfunctioning Evaporator Fan

The freezer fan is responsible for circulating cold air in the interior of the freezer. If it’s blocked or malfunctioning, it can lead to the internal temperature in the freezer rising, and can even cause food spoilage. If the fan is making a much louder noise than usual, or no noise at all, there could be a problem. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove the food inside your freezer to gain access to the back panel. This is where the fan is located. 
  • Unplug the freezer and follow the instructions in your manual to remove the back interior panel. 
  • Check to see if the fan is obstructed. The most common obstruction is ice, and thankfully this is an easy fix—just use a hairdryer on low until the fan can spin freely. 
  • If the fan is broken or damaged, it will need replacing. Order a replacement part that fits your freezer make and model, remove the old one, and install the new one in its place. Refer to your manual for help if necessary. 

Thermostat Problems

A faulty thermostat means your freezer won’t be able to maintain the correct temperature. Your thermostat sends signals to begin a cooling cycle, and if it’s malfunctioning the cooling cycle won’t run as often as it should. To find out if this is your issue, check the thermostat temperature with a freezer thermometer. If there is a significant difference, your thermostat is likely faulty. 

To fix:

  • Unplug your freezer.
  • Check your manual to find the location of the thermostat.
  • Use a multimeter to test the thermostat for continuity. The continuity should change when you adjust the temperature. 
  • If faulty, source a replacement part and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Door Seal Issues

Freezer door seals or gaskets are designed to keep cold air in and warm air out. However, when they malfunction, the cold air can escape while warm air can get in, causing your freezer to work harder to maintain its temperature. This can cause frost buildup and lead to higher energy costs. 

To fix:

  • Inspect the seals for cracks, warping, or loose parts. 
  • Clean the seals thoroughly—sometimes grime and debris can prevent a tight seal. 
  • Test the tightness of the seals by shutting a piece of paper in the door. It should provide resistance when you try to pull it out. 
  • If you determine the seals are faulty, you can purchase new seals. Remove the old ones and install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Spread the love

Leave a Reply