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Samsung Refrigerator Not Freezing? Top 15 Causes (+ Fixes)

A Samsung refrigerator not freezing isn’t an unusual problem, even if you have a relatively new model. However, the probable causes perplex numerous users, especially when an error code isn’t evident. So, what are the top causes and fixes for a Samsung refrigerator that’s not freezing?

Here are the top 15 causes for a Samsung refrigerator not freezing:

  1. The onboard controller is unresponsive.
  2. The fridge has low, high, or erratic power.
  3. The refrigerator is close to a heat source.
  4. The unit doesn’t have sufficient clearance.
  5. The temperature settings are inaccurate.
  6. The refrigerator is set to an incorrect mode.
  7. The freezer is overloaded or understocked.
  8. The freezer parts are frozen or clogged.
  9. The door gaskets or seals aren’t airtight.
  10. The freezer fan is broken or failing.
  11. The freezer thermistor isn’t working.
  12. The defrost sensor or heater is faulty.
  13. The condenser coil is dusty and inefficient.
  14. The condenser fan is failing or not working.
  15. The refrigerator has insufficient coolant.

I have not listed these issues according to their statistical prevalence, so you must prioritize the probable cause that is more relevant to your Samsung refrigerator. In this article, I explain all the potential problems and their fixes for when and if your Samsung refrigerator is not freezing. 

1. The Onboard Controller Is Unresponsive

All modern fridges have an onboard controller. Some Samsung refrigerators have two or more control boards. These electronic controllers and the various features of your refrigerator connect and process all the functions in the same way as computers. 

Hence, the onboard controllers or computers can freeze (no pun intended), like your desktop, laptop, tablet, etc. A Samsung refrigerator not freezing can be due to an unresponsive computer. You can fix this unresponsiveness if nothing else is wrong, and the freezer will function normally. 

How To Fix

Many users try the power freeze feature of Samsung refrigerators to resolve freezer issues. You may even unplug the unit and turn it on again to fix the problem. However, these troubleshooting steps are incomplete. 

Here’s how you can reset or reboot the onboard computer of a Samsung refrigerator:

  1. Turn off the power supply and unplug the unit.
  2. Wait for at least thirty seconds, if not a minute. 
  3. Plug the unit back in and turn on the power.
  4. Select the power freeze function of the fridge or
  5. Press the freezer button for three seconds.
  6. Check the display to confirm power freeze is on.
  7. Wait for one to two hours for the set temperature.
  8. Don’t open the freezer during this waiting period.

The waiting time depends on the current temperature inside the freezer and the specific degree you select through the control panel. 

Suppose your freezer has reached 40 °F (4.4°C), and you select -2°F (-18.9°C) as the target temperature. In this case, the wait time will be a lot longer than a freezer’s temperature dropping from 20 °F (-6.7°C).

Remember to turn off power freeze when you have the desired temperature on display. This troubleshooting technique can fix an unresponsive freezer function. Also, you will know whether anything else is wrong with your Samsung refrigerator’s freezer if this remedy doesn’t work. 

2. The Fridge Has Low, High, or Erratic Power

Like all refrigerators, Samsung freezers won’t cool effectively during voltage fluctuations and erratic power supply. So, your Samsung refrigerator not freezing could be due to high or low voltage and abnormal current.

Over the years, Samsung has rolled out different display and control panels. However, many of the standard error codes are the same. You may have a Family Hub or an old model from the RF265, RS267, or RS265TD series, among others. Nonetheless, the following codes apply:

  • 83E: abnormal current
  • 85E: low voltage
  • 86E: high voltage

How To Fix

Here are the ways you can fix voltage, current, or power issues:

  • Unplug the refrigerator, turn off the breaker, reset the circuit, and reboot the unit.
  • Try another power outlet if the current one has a wiring issue or tripped circuit.
  • Reboot the refrigerator or freezer using the onboard reset button, if available.
  • Get the wall sockets and wirings checked for voltage and current issues, shorts, etc. 

3. The Refrigerator Is Close to a Heat Source

No refrigerator should be placed in a location that has direct sunlight, irrespective of its brand or model. Also, your Samsung refrigerator shouldn’t be close to the stove, oven, and other sources of heat in the kitchen. Nearby heat sources can impair the cooling and freezing of a refrigerator.

All refrigerators have insulation, but the appliance doesn’t exist or operate in a vacuum. External or ambient temperatures will affect the effective cooling and, more importantly, freezing. Also, a freezer will consume much more energy for optimum freezing near a heat source.  

How To Fix

Keep your refrigerator away from direct sunlight, stove, and oven. Also, a Samsung refrigerator generates substantial heat in the condenser coil. Thus, exposure to direct sunlight and other external heat sources can worsen the accumulated heat around the condenser.  

4. The Unit Doesn’t Have Sufficient Clearance

Your Samsung refrigerator needs some clearance on all sides. Otherwise, the condenser coil and its fan won’t have sufficient space and airflow to dissipate the heat away from the fridge. Additionally, the refrigerant in the system won’t cool and circulate properly, thus freezing ineffectively. 

How To Fix

Whether you have a refrigerator cabinet or a freestanding fridge, you should have at least 2 inches (~50 mm) of space on both sides and behind the unit. The space above the refrigerator should have at least 4 inches (~100 mm) clearance. 

A greater clearance or space all around doesn’t hurt. But jamming a Samsung refrigerator in a closeted space with little to no room for airflow around the unit will affect cooling and freezing. Also, the clearance atop the fridge and its sides is as important as the free space behind it.

The condenser coil dissipates heat and warms the air around. This hot air should escape from the space around the fridge. Hot air rises, so you cannot block the headroom of a refrigerator, even if the freezer is at the bottom. Flush installations look great but are unsuitable for a refrigerator.   

5. The Temperature Settings Are Inaccurate

Samsung recommends 38°F (3.3°C) as the refrigerator temperature in the cooling mode. The recommended freezer temperature is -2°F (-18.9°C). Check the display panel if the selected temperature is accurate. If the temperature is higher, your Samsung refrigerator won’t freeze.

How To Fix

Like all heating and cooling appliances, a Samsung refrigerator may not freeze flawlessly, or to the specific degree, you want. So, you can select a temperature lower than -2 °F (-18.9°C). See if lowering the freezer temperature fixes the problem. This isn’t the same as a power freeze. 

6. The Refrigerator Is Set to an Incorrect Mode

Check if the Samsung refrigerator is on ‘energy saver’ or eco mode. I’m presuming your fridge isn’t in the ‘cooling off’ mode because then, not only won’t the freezer fail to work but also the refrigerator sections. Samsung fridges have many features, and some modes interfere with freezing.

How To Fix

Turn off any mode that your Samsung refrigerator shouldn’t be on, i.e., ‘energy saver,’ ‘cooling off,’ etc. Verify if the freezer temperature is -2°F (-18.9°C) or lower. Subsequently, ensure your refrigerator has sufficient clearance and reset the unresponsive controller, as explained above.  

7. The Freezer Is Overloaded or Understocked

According to Samsung, the optimum load for the refrigerator or fridge sections is ¾ full, and the freezer should be 1/2 full for optimum freezing. In other words, an overloaded or understocked freezer won’t freeze effectively or efficiently. Also, overstuffing can block the vents in the freezer.

How To Fix

Maintain optimum load inside the freezer. You don’t have to tally the exact capacity or volume of your freezer and calculate its half for the optimum load. Just avoid overstocking. Also, rearrange the food stock so that the rear vents are free, or the freezer won’t have sufficient airflow. 

8. The Freezer Parts Are Frozen or Clogged

A Samsung refrigerator not freezing is often due to frozen freezer parts.These include:

  • Freezer vents
  • Freezer van
  • Evaporator coil

Also, the vents may get clogged due to debris buildup. So, you have to defrost the freezer and ensure the vents are unclogged. 

Normally, the auto-defrost function of a Samsung refrigerator should prevent this problem. However, as many users have experienced over the years, Samsung’s defrost heater, timer, and related components don’t always function as desired.

How To Fix

You may find ice buildup inside the freezer, at the vents, around the shelves, etc. Also, a frosty evaporator fan inside the freezer would make some noise. Thus, you must defrost the freezer. 

The approach to force-defrost a Samsung refrigerator depends on the model. Older models like the RF267 series have a small display panel with six buttons. Relatively newer models have a touchscreen control panel with several dedicated options. 

Starting with the top-left button and moving anticlockwise, older Samsung refrigerators have the following features:

  • Energy Saver 
  • Power Freeze / Freezer
  • Ice Water
  • Ice Off / Lock
  • Fridge / Power Cool
  • Alarm / Lighting

Here are the steps to force-defrost older Samsung refrigerators with the above buttons:

  1. Press the Energy Saver and Fridge / Power Cool buttons and hold them for ten seconds.
  2. Alternatively, press and hold the two buttons until the control panel display goes off.
  3. Once the display is off, press the Fridge / Power Cool button once. 
  4. You’ll notice an FF code on the display panel, implying force-freeze. 
  5. Press the Fridge / Power Cool button again, and you’ll see FF 2.
  6. Press the Fridge / Power Cool button a third time to get to FF 3.
  7. Press the button again, and the display panel will show FD, implying force-defrost.
  8. Wait for the Samsung refrigerator to defrost, which may take half an hour or longer. 
  9. Press the Energy Saver and Power Freeze / Freezer buttons to stop force-defrost.
  10. Press and hold both these buttons until the display goes blank and the beeping stops. 

Starting with the top-left option on the touchscreen display panels, you’ll have the following buttons:

  • Freezer
  • Alarm
  • Energy Saver
  • Ice Maker Off
  • Lighting
  • Fridge

Follow the same steps as above. However, you’ll be using the Freezer and Lighting options on a touchscreen control panel. Also, the buttons used to stop the force-defrost mode are Freezer, Alarm, and Fridge. You have to press and hold all three buttons to resume normal cooling or freezing. 

If you own a Family Hub model, all these options and processes are through the touchscreen interface.

9. The Door Gaskets or Seals Aren’t Airtight

Another reason for frosting or ice buildup on the freezer parts is a leaky or worn out door gasket. If warm air seeps into the freezer, the door seal isn’t airtight. The warm air will not only raise the freezer temperature but also cause condensation. This condensation leads to unusual frosting. 

A frozen evaporator coil won’t work efficiently or effectively. Likewise, excessive ice buildup can impair the fan’s function, freezer thermistor, etc. Thus, a leaky gasket compromising the door’s airtight seal won’t let your Samsung refrigerator freeze adequately. 

How To Fix

You can inspect the door gasket for misalignment and deformation. Also, check for debris or any gunk buildup around the gasket and door frame. Rigid debris may not allow the gasket to form an airtight seal. So, you should clean the gasket and rectify any misalignments.

You may use warm water, baking soda, and a lint-free rag or microfiber cloth to clean the seal or gasket. However, a deformed, worn out, or damaged door gasket is irreparable. Thus, you need a new one. 

10. The Freezer Fan Is Broken or Failing

A Samsung refrigerator not freezing can be due to a failing or broken freezer fan. Also known as evaporator fans, your refrigerator has at least one. Samsung uses the error code 21E to indicate that the freezer fan isn’t working. The error code for the fridge fan is 22E.

You may notice the error code 21E if the freezer fan isn’t working, i.e., not spinning. However, the failure could be due to a broken motor, or the fan blades may be stuck in frost. Thus, you need to inspect the fan, check for frost buildup, and test the blades to see if they are spinning. 

How To Fix

Here are the standard troubleshooting steps based on the freezer fan condition or problem:

  • Force-defrost the Samsung refrigerator (explained above) if the evaporator fan is frozen.
  • Take apart the freezer’s rear panel to inspect manually if the fan’s blades spin.
  • The motor is stuck if the blades won’t spin or there is an electrical failure otherwise.
  • Inspect the wire harnesses to ensure no connections are loose, frayed, etc.
  • Replace a bad freezer fan after checking for all the other transient glitches.

Some Samsung refrigerators use a freezer fan with separable blades. Other models have fans with an integrated motor. Thus, if your freezer fan blades are alright and detachable, you need a new motor to replace the bad one.

Here’s a video showing how you can replace a Samsung refrigerator’s freezer (evaporator) fan motor:

11. The Freezer Thermistor Isn’t Working

The freezer thermistor should detect the rise in temperature and resume freezing the section. A faulty thermistor won’t know if the freezer is warmer than your selected temperature, say, -2°F (-18.9°C). Hence, the thermostat and control board won’t signal the compressor to kick in.

Even if you have a variable speed compressor that runs all the time, it should work harder when the freezer gets warmer than your selected temperature. These variable speeds depend on the control board, which relies on the communications from different sensors, like the thermistor.

How To Fix

You have to change a faulty freezer thermistor, as it is irreparable. However, you may want to test the resistance of the thermistor to know for sure that it isn’t working. If the thermistor is cracked or has signs of structural damage, you have to replace this critical freezer component. 

If there are no damages, test the thermistor’s resistance as demonstrated in this video:

You need to take apart the rear panel in the freezer to access the thermistor. If the thermistor doesn’t have resistance or looks damaged, get a new one and use the correct wire harness. 

12. The Defrost Sensor or Heater Is Faulty

Samsung refrigerators have a defrost sensor or thermistor, heater, and timer. The defrost sensor is a thermistor, but it is installed on the evaporator coil to detect its temperature. If this sensor is faulty, your Samsung fridge should display the error code 5E

A malfunctioning defrost sensor or heater can lead to frequent ice buildup on the evaporator coil. And this frost problem will prevent your freezer from chilling effectively. So, you need to inspect both. 

How To Fix

A few old Samsung series are known for ineffective heaters. However, the recent models may fare better. Nevertheless, you need to replace a broken heater. I talked about forced-defrost earlier, but it won’t work if this heater doesn’t function. 

If you have a defective defrost sensor, here’s how you can replace this thermistor:

13. The Condenser Coil Is Dusty and Inefficient

A dusty condenser coil won’t dissipate heat efficiently. Thus, the refrigerant inside the condenser coil won’t revert to its cold temperatures before circulating through the evaporator. Effectively, a Samsung refrigerator won’t freeze to the extent you want, and you may also have poor cooling. 

How To Fix

Clean the condenser coil using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a brush attachment. Also, you can use a microfiber cloth if you find some grimy debris stuck to the coil. Check the condenser fan when you clean the coil. If the coil is dirty, the fan is likely to be dusty, too. So, clean both. 

14. The Condenser Fan Is Failing or Not Working 

A broken condenser fan will prevent your Samsung refrigerator from cooling and freezing. If the fan is inefficient or dusty, you may still have some cooling in the fridge. However, the freezer is unlikely to be desirably cold if the fan isn’t cooling the condenser coil and compressor properly. 

How To Fix

Clean a dirty condenser fan and ensure there’s sufficient space or clearance around it or behind the refrigerator for optimum airflow. 

If the fan isn’t working, check whether the blades are stuck or the electrical connection is loose. Stuck blades indicate a damaged motor. Also, a condenser fan that is hot to the touch is likely due to a shorted or burnt motor. You need to replace the part.

Watch how you can replace a Samsung refrigerator condenser fan below:

15. The Refrigerator Has Insufficient Coolant

Samsung refrigerators won’t freeze or cool as expected if the coolant is insufficient. Leaks and filling errors are usually the most common culprits for low coolant. Nevertheless, addressing all the other issues I have discussed in this guide will not help if the coolant level is too low. 

How To Fix

Contact a technician to inspect the refrigerant pressure. Also, the technician should check for leaks in the cooling system, i.e., compressor, condenser, and evaporator. Refilling a coolant is only recommended if there are no leaks, and this job should be done by a technician. 


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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