Bottom freezer open to show contents

Troubleshooting a freezer that’s getting too cold

When it comes to storing food, your freezer is essential, allowing you to reach for a quick dinner and put meals together for your family. If your freezer is too cold, it may not always spoil food items but this extra chill can be an indication of a potential issue. This guide offers insight into what might be going on with your freezer and can help you troubleshoot the issue. 

If you’re a Whirlpool® Freezer owner, you can also refer to the troubleshooting page for possible causes and fixes for your freezer, or contact Service & Support.

Person removing an item from a freezer Person removing an item from a freezer

3 signs your freezer is too cold

While it may seem counterintuitive that a freezer is too cold, be sure to look for signs to avoid any potential problems. Knowing the parts of a freezer and how a freezer works may also help you uncover the issue and find a solution. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual for detailed information on your specific model. 

Temperature reading on a freezer

1. Incorrect temperature setting

The first thing to check is the temperature setting on your freezer. The recommended freezer temperature to keep frozen food safe is usually around 0°F (-18°C). If your freezer is located in a garage or basement, or there are other environmental factors, you may need to set the temperature higher or lower.

Bottom freezer open to show contents

2. Freezer burn on items

Frozen food is typically safe to eat indefinitely if your freezer stays at or below 0°F (-18°C). However, if your freezer is running too cold or there’s a fluctuation in temperature, this may cause freezer burn. Check for ice crystals on the outside of food. While food with freezer burn is usually safe to eat, the food’s flavor and texture may be compromised. A few ways to help reduce freezer burn include allowing your hot food to cool before freezing it and keeping your freezer at the proper temperature setting.

Freezer drawers

3. Frost buildup inside freezer

Frost or ice buildup on the interior of your freezer may indicate that the temperature is too cold. This buildup may be covering freezer air vents and temperature sensors, which can interfere with climate control. If your freezer doesn’t have an auto-defrost feature, you can remove excessive frost buildup manually by allowing the ice to melt. You may need to call a service professional if the problem persists, as it may involve a bigger issue, such as a compressor malfunction

Why is my freezer too cold?

There may be various reasons why your freezer is too cold. Fixing it might be as simple as setting the temperature to around 0°F (-18°C) or resetting your freezer. Allow 24 hours for the temperature to adjust. Defrost your freezer if you have excessive frost buildup, as this can lower the temperature. 

Make sure the air vents inside your freezer are clean and not blocked by food items or you may end up with ice and frost buildup. If you have an ice maker that’s on but not hooked up to a water supply, this may be the reason your freezer is too cold.

How to fix a freezer that’s too cold

The following steps offer ways to address a freezer that’s too cold. Consider using your owner’s manual to troubleshoot the issue as well. This freezer guide also has tips that can assist you in diagnosing the problem. If you're unable to resolve the issue, you may want to contact a service professional. 

  • Soft cleaning cloth

  • Clean rags or towels

  • Baking soda 

Thermometer icon

Step 1: Check temperature settings

If your freezer is too cold, you may need to adjust the temperature control to a warmer setting. The recommended freezer factory setting on Whirlpool® Refrigerators is 0°F (-18°C). Once you’ve adjusted the temperature, double-check it after 24 hours. 

Keep in mind that if the freezer is in a garage or basement, humidity or outside temperatures may affect the setting. When changing your freezer’s temperature, make minor adjustments and allow your freezer to adapt for 24 hours before changing it again. 

Freezer icon

Step 2: Reset freezer

Use the following steps to reset your freezer:

  • Unplug your freezer from the outlet.

  • Turn the freezer's control panel off by adjusting the controls to zero or using a shut-off switch (consult your manual for instructions).

  • Wait a few minutes.

  • Plug the freezer back in.

  • Set the freezer's temperature settings to 0°F (-18°C).

After completing these steps, it can take up to 24 hours for the freezer's temperature to adjust upon resetting.

Air vent icon

Step 3: Clear blocked air vents

Blocked freezer vents can lead to issues like frost, inconsistent temperatures and moisture buildup. Clear away food items and organize your freezer to ensure proper airflow around the vents. Air vents are usually located inside the freezer compartment, but if in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual. 

Clean icon

Step 4: Clean air vents

Another way to help maintain proper temperature efficiency in your freezer is to clear frost and residue off the air vents and fans. Locate the vent inside your freezer, and wipe it with a soft cleaning cloth to gently remove frost or ice buildup.

You can use a mixture of warm water and baking soda to clean your freezer’s interior walls, if necessary. Avoid using abrasive, harsh cleaners or scouring pads when cleaning the interior.

Ice icon

Step 5: Check ice maker

If the ice maker is on but not connected to a water supply, it can lower the freezer’s temperature, causing the appliance to be too cold. You may hear a buzzing noise as the ice maker continues to try to make ice. Make sure to turn the ice maker off if it’s not connected to a water supply.

Freeze icon

Step 6: Defrost freezer

If your freezer doesn't have an auto-defrost option and you notice ice and frost buildup, it may help to defrost your freezer.

  • Unplug or turn your freezer off and remove all the food items and safely pack them away in a cooler.

  • Prepare the area by placing towels or plastic liners in front of the freezer. You can use rags or towels to dry the shelves. 

  • Keep the freezer door open to allow any frost or ice to melt. Using a fan may speed up the process. 

  • Clean the bottom of the freezer and wipe the shelves. For extra cleaning power, mix one tablespoon of baking soda and four cups of hot water and use it to clean the interior. Dry the interior thoroughly. 

  • Turn your freezer back on and wait for it to reach the proper temperature before replacing your food. 

Explore Whirlpool® Freezers 

Whirlpool® Deep Freezers make it easy to bulk buy and shop sales for your family’s favorite items. Select models have features such as Frost-Free Defrost that automatically prevents frost buildup, so you’ll likely never have to empty the freezer for a manual defrost again. Explore the full line of innovative freezers from Whirlpool brand to find the right fit for you.

Explore refrigerator and freezer troubleshooting tips from Whirlpool brand

Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background

home heartbeat

Ready for more tips, home hacks and appliance guides?