Why Does My Refrigerator Keep Freezing Up?

Frosted refrigerator

If your refrigerator keeps freezing up, your thermostat is likely too high, or it could be a deeper issue.

When your fridge freezes up, it’s not just annoying to look at and clean. It also limits your fridge’s ability to circulate air throughout the fridge.

Usually, the refrigerator freezes up when there is a problem with the evaporation process. Here are a few common causes of this issue, so you know how to troubleshoot a frozen refrigerator and prevent it from happening.

Why Does My Refrigerator Keep Freezing Up?

If your fridge keeps freezing up, you have a problem with the evaporation of your refrigerant. Fridges work by continuously heating and cooling refrigerants, which pass through the tubes in your fridge and keep your food cool. 

If your fridge is freezing up, the system regulating this process isn’t working. Something is telling your fridge to cool the refrigerant more than it should, leading to freezing.

Reasons Your Refrigerator Keeps Freezing Up

Understanding why your refrigerator keeps freezing up, especially if this is an ongoing problem, is the key to preventing this problem from happening in the future. A few simple repairs can help prevent this problem.

The Freezer Door Is Not Sealing

If there is a problem with your door seal, particularly around your freezer, then that will cause your fridge to freeze up. Freezers work by using gaskets to seal in cold air when the freezer is not in use. The fridge knows that it has to cool the freezer more than the rest of the fridge. 

If there is a problem with the door seal or gasket around the freezer, warm air will continuously flow into the freezer. The fridge has to work harder to keep the temperature in the freezer low enough to keep the food frozen, which leads to the rest of the fridge freezing over.

Check the gasket around your freezer door for any gaps or loose parts. If you’re unsure, put a piece of paper in the freezer door, close the door, then try to pull the paper out. If the paper falls out, the culprit is your door seal. Luckily, door seals and gaskets are easily replaceable.

Temperature Set Too Low

As mentioned above, fridges develop too much frost when they have to put more effort into cooling refrigerant than usual. This can happen if the temperature is set too low. Check your thermostat for any issues. 

Sometimes, the temperature changes accidentally, and fixing the problem can be as easy as adjusting the temperature back to normal.

Other times, the thermostat isn’t working correctly. You can use a multimeter to check whether the thermostat is functioning.

The Refrigerator Coils Are Dirty

The refrigerator coils are the parts at the back of the fridge where refrigerant cycles through as it cools. The coils are sensitive to dust and debris, affecting their ability to cool the refrigerant. If they’re dirty, the compressor has to send more power to cool the refrigerant, which in turn causes the fridge to develop too much frost.

Dirty refrigerator coils are easy to clean yourself without calling a professional. Remove the back panel of the fridge and look at the coils. If they’re dusty, clean them with a paintbrush or hand vacuum.

Faulty Fridge Temperature Sensor

Your fridge has a sensor that detects the internal temperature of the appliance. The sensor sends signals to the appliance to make detailed adjustments to the temperature.

If your fridge is freezing up and you’ve already ruled out other problems, your sensor is probably broken and giving readings that are higher than they are.

Every fridge has a sensor in a different location, so read your user manual to find yours. Then, check for any visible damage and test it with a multimeter.

Conclusion

When the frost in your fridge builds up, it’s a pain to clean and affects the performance of your fridge. Luckily, the usual causes of fridges freezing over are easy to fix. 

Anything that sends the evaporation system into overdrive, such as issues with the thermostat, refrigerator coils, or even the freezer door seal, will lead to frost build-up.