Why Does My Freezer Thaw And Refreeze?

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We all want our food to stay frozen, so what do we do when it doesn't? You are probably wondering why your freezer thaws and refreezes the contents inside. We have researched why this happens and have the answers you are looking for.

Your freezer is thawing and refreezing because something is malfunctioning inside. This is typically the condenser, evaporator, or compressor. Other causes for this could be the evaporator coils being frosted over, a leak of refrigerant, or the thermostat not being set at the necessary temperature, so the list goes on.

Keep reading to learn how to check your freezer compressor, know how often one should defrost, and even whether it's safe to eat food that has thawed and been refrozen. Additionally, we'll discuss important information on resetting a freezer, plus much more. Let's dive in!

Many Ice frozen in the fridge - Why Does My Freezer Thaw And Refreeze

How Do I Know If My Freezer Compressor Is Working?

View of fridge backside with compressor condense

Generally, you can tell your freezer compressor is not working if you don't hear any sound coming from inside of your freezer. This will usually be a soft humming.

Additionally, if the food inside your freezer isn't staying frozen, that is another sign that your compressor has stopped working or another underlying problem.

If your freezer compressor is not working, it might be in your best interest to call an appliance professional. Depending on how old your freezer is and whether or not it is still under warranty, you might be better off buying a new unit altogether.

Furthermore, this decision also depends on the cost of the parts and labor versus a new freezer.

A simple fix such as replacing the defrost timer might be the reason your freezer is thawing and refreezing. This is not an expensive thing to repair, so there is some good news here.

Another reason for constant thawing and freezing is that your freezer's evaporator coil is frosted/clogged. If this is the case, you want to make sure and clean it out.

Again, you might need to completely defrost your appliance to fix this, so everyone is different. Giving your freezer a few days to reset and thoroughly defrost will allow the evaporator coil and other mechanics to thaw, which should improve its functionality.

However, if the condenser coil(s) on your freezer isn't frozen, something more serious could be wrong. In that case, we recommend calling in a professional to inspect your appliance.

How Often Does A Freezer Self Defrost?

Auto-defrost freezers tend to defrost every eight to twelve hours. This averages out to two or three times a day. There are defrost cycles to prevent ice from building up around the evaporator coils.

Freezers that don't automatically defrost will have a manual function instead.

If you notice ice has built up inside your freezer around the edges anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick, you need to defrost your appliance manually.

This will take a couple of days, so make sure to plan accordingly. Again, the thicker the ice/frost, the longer the thawing will take.

Many Ice frozen in the fridge

How Do I Defrost My Freezer?

For those with an older freezer, manually defrosting it shouldn't be too hard. First, you need to unplug your appliance. We recommend leaving the door open, which will allow excess ice to melt.

Doing this can also help speed up the thawing process, so it's worth trying.

That said, either eat as much as you can from inside your freezer before defrosting it or store your food in a chest freezer while you defrost. You can also put a pan of boiling water inside your empty freezer then close the door to speed up the process.

How To Get Rid Of Ice In Freezer Without Defrosting

You can get rid of the ice in your freezer without defrosting it by using hot water and a washcloth. To do this, dip the cloth into hot water and then wipe the inside of your freezer.

Furthermore, you can add soap to help dissolve the ice, but you do not have to.

A stainless steel scraper or sturdy spatula will do the job as well. If you do not want to remove everything from your freezer to defrost it, this is an alternative.

As we mentioned earlier, you can use hot water and squeeze it onto the bottom of the freezer, then use a scraper or spatula while it has partially melted.

Be careful if you choose this method as you could accidentally damage the inside of your freezer, so if it is possible to let it defrost on its own, you should choose that route.

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-80 degree frige in the lab

Is It Safe To Eat Food That Has Thawed And Refrozen?

Generally, frozen food that has thawed and refrozen is perfectly fine to eat as long as it has been kept at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

Moreover, thawed food or fresh food will stay good for about four days when kept in the refrigerator.

You might lose moisture by allowing your food to freeze and thaw, then refreeze and thaw again. This might matter to you if you are referring to fruit or meat as both tend to be preferred juicy. You should not consume food that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Even though it is safe to freeze and thaw just about any food, the texture does not always turn out the same as it was the first time around.

If you are freezing something that you cooked like noodles, they do not taste as good frozen and thawed, but you can still do it if you need to meal plan, cook in bulk, or have quick meals ready to heat up in a hurry.

Use an airtight container to store your food inside your fridge. It's not a great idea to place containers in the freezer unless the product description online or on the original packaging states otherwise.

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Additionally, it's always safest to heat your food to a high enough temperature that any bacteria will be killed while not overcooking or burning your food. You can use a lower power setting on a microwave or lower temperature when using an appliance like an air fryer or toaster oven.

How Do I Reset My Freezer?

The easiest way to reset your freezer is by unplugging it from its power source/outlet. Like anything else, wait a few minutes (about five) before plugging it back in unless you are also defrosting.

Remember, the thawing process for a freezer can take anywhere from 1-3 days, so that will require more time. Most of the time, defrosting your freezer will fix your problem with it if it is repeatedly thawing and refreezing.

How Do I Make My Freezer Last Longer?

Frozen food in the freezer. Frozen vegetables, soup, ready meals in the freezer

On average, freezers last between 12 and 20 years. This is for chest freezers as well as refrigerator-freezer combinations. Freezers usually last longer than any other appliance in the kitchen.

Don't overfill your freezer because it causes its components to work harder. This will lead to the internal parts burning out more quickly than otherwise.

You can tell your freezer is overloaded if what you have in it is packed together tightly. The items in your freezer should ideally have a little space around them for your freezer to work as efficiently as possible.

Another reason not over-packing your fridge will make it last longer is because the vents end up blocked when there is too much inside. This will cause the mechanisms to malfunction or break.

Try not to open your freezer more than necessary or leave it open for an extended period. Be wary of leaving your freezer door or lid open for a longer time than necessary. If you leave your freezer open for too long, the food will begin to thaw, and then your freezer will have to work harder to refreeze everything.

To Wrap Things Up

There are a few reasons your freezer will thaw and refreeze. One reason is if the evaporator coils are frozen over. Other causes include parts of the freezer no longer working, such as the evaporator or condenser.

If you can not tell what is wrong on your own and defrosting doesn't fix it, you will either need to call a professional or buy a new freezer.

Before you go, check out the following posts full of information on freezers:

At What Temperature Should A Samsung Freezer Be Set?

For How Long Can You Leave Freezer Door Open?

How To Repair A Cracked Freezer Drawer

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