After throwing a thermometer in my freezer, it is around 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Things that have been in there and frozen are staying frozen, but anything new that needs to freeze is not.

For example, 24 hours ago I put some of those "colored ice pops" in there and maybe 3 or 4 froze, the rest are just cold.

It is a Freezer/Refrigerator combo with the freezer on top.

What could be causing this and how would I go about fixing it?

It looks like the back panel of my freezer is popping off for some reason. I think that this what causes it to not stay cold. Is it possible to pop it back on?

EDIT TWO The fridge is still warm, even though it is dialed to the max. The freezer is running heavy and is around 15 degrees.

  • How tightly packed are the freeze pops? I've put a box of them in the deep freeze, and found that the pops in the middle have yet to freeze after more than a week. Seems they are quite good insulators. Try spreading them out.
    – Tester101
    Jun 30, 2014 at 20:37
  • I have had them spread out, I have tried flipping them and repositioning them. This is also worrying because I just threw a bunch of fish in there and it kind of HAS to freeze.
    – user23426
    Jun 30, 2014 at 20:58
  • Buy a cheap thermometer and throw it in there. Get a reading.
    – Handy Man
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:25
  • Around 16-18 Fahrenheit
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:28
  • That's the freezer, obviously, not the fridge, and that was before adjusting. The fridge was just at around 50 or 52 (too high). Moved the thermometer to the now-adjusted freezer, will check it in...half an hour, i guess?
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:41

4 Answers 4


Freezers aren't really designed to freeze things, they're designed to keep things frozen. To change one pound of 32°F ice to 31°F ice, requires the removal of .5 BTUs. To change one pound of 32°F water, to 32°F ice, requires 144 BTUs. Therefore, it requires far less energy to keep an item frozen, than it does to freeze the item in the first place.

Almost all sources (including the USDA) agree that a freezer should be kept at 0°F (-18°C), to store frozen foods. Though a temperature of -5 to -10, is recommended to freeze food.

If the back panel of the freezer is popping off, you might want to investigate what is causing it to pop off. If there is ice forming that is causing the panel to pop off, it could mean that the refrigerant in the system is low, and there may be a leak. This is probably a unlikely scenario, though it is possible.

The more likely cause, is poor air flow.

If there's not good air flow through the condenser, the heat removed from the refrigerated compartments will not be removed from the refrigerant. At the same time, if the air flow through the evaporator is poor, heat will not be removed from the refrigerated compartments effectively. Maintaining good air flow within the refrigerated compartments is also important. The cooled air needs to move throughout the compartment, so heat can be taken away.

  • Make sure the condenser fan is working, and there's not a lot of dust and debris obstructing the flow of air across the condenser.
  • Make sure there's good air flow across the evaporator, and that the evaporator is not icing over (this may require disassembly of part of the refrigerator).
  • Make sure there's good air flow within the freezer, and that items are not blocking the vents.
  • It's back at 0. Fridge seems a it lower too, everything is reasonable now
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 18:19

15-20 degrees isn't cold enough, believe it or not :) There needs to be a significant temperature difference to rapidly draw the heat out of the items you want to freeze.

For example, current Whirlpool refrigerator/freezer units come preset to 0-degrees (F, not C) for the freezer and 37-degrees (F) for the fridge. According to this document, the freezer range is from -5 to 5 (F), and the fridge can be set from 33 to 41 (F).

Make it colder, and save your fish :)

  • How though? I don't see an obvious knob to dial in. Fridge is at 50
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:17
  • @user23426 That depends on the make and model... Is it an upright fridge/freezer? I usually see them on the ceiling of the refrigerator unit close to the light bulb. There's likely two knobs; one for the fridge and the other for the freezer. What kind of freezer do you have? Often there is a label just inside the door, up in a corner, difficult to notice, with a part number on it...
    – bitsmack
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:21
  • I found a very tiny one hidden in the back of the freezer and dialed it to 5 (max), it was at 2 for some reason. Fridge is at 7 (max). I did not see a part number, but in the top right corner of the outside of the freezer door it says "Magic Chef"
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:23
  • Excellent! Glad you found it. Good luck :) If it turns out that the freezer gets colder than 0-degrees (F), you can dial it back a bit. Take care!
    – bitsmack
    Jul 1, 2014 at 2:40
  • I think it's jsut an old appliance combined with 85 degree weather that is doing it. Moved it away from the wall a little to see if that helps.
    – user23426
    Jul 1, 2014 at 2:56

If the meat is frozen but not the iceceam then the refrigerant is leaking out of your refrigerator/freezer. I paid $100.00 yesterday to find out mine is going bad and too expensive to bother fixing it.


I had a self defrosting refrigerator that the line to ice tray under refrigerator was plugged. Ice would melt off coils then puddle in freezer and eventually plug the flow of cool air to refrigerator and freezer didn't cool right either. Ccheck for ice behind the panel being pushed out; get out your hair dryer and pour water down drain line.


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