Freezer Door Left Open – Now Freezer Refrigerator Not Cooling – How To Fix

My refrigerator freezer door was left open overnight. My child must have left it open my mistake or accident. The refrigerator and freezer are both warm and not cooling. The icemaker is leaking water and the food is not frozen. The temperature was set to the coldest setting on the refrigerator and freezer 12 to 16 hours ago. The fridge and freezer are still not cooling. Any suggestions?

Freezer door left open - Now refrigerator will not coolFreezer door left open – Now refrigerator will not cool

When a freezer door has been left open, usually the evaporator coils will have excessive frost build up on them. Therefore the fridge and freezer cannot cool. The evaporator coils need to have the frost or ice build up removed or defrosted for the fridge to work properly again.

Fastest way to get the freezer/refrigerator working again:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet.
  2. Take out all the food items in the freezer and fridge.
  3. Remove the shelving.
  4. Remove the back panel and check the evaporator coils for frost build up.
  5. If frost or ice is on evaporator coils, use hair dryer to defrost.
  6. Put panel back on.
  7. Put shelving back in place.
  8. Plug refrigerator back in.
  9. Let the freezer/refrigerator run for 3 hours.
  10. The freezer/refrigerator should be back to normal and problem solved.

Refrigerator evaporator coils covered with iceRefrigerator evaporator coils covered with ice

How to Manually defrost your freezer/fridge:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet.
  2. Take out all the food items in the freezer and fridge.
  3. Open the freezer and refrigerator doors.
  4. Wait 24 hours to let the freezer and refrigerator completely defrost.
  5. After 24 hours, close ALL doors on the refrigerator.
  6. Plug the refrigerator back into power.
  7. Let the refrigerator run for 6 hours.
  8. The freezer/refrigerator should be back to normal and problem solved.

Refrigerator PartsRefrigerator Parts

If your refrigerator and freezer are still not working after defrosting it, you may have a bad compressor, thermostat, main control board, refrigerator condenser fan, refrigerator evaporator fan, or other.

See this page for How to fix a refrigerator not cooling. If your refrigerator or freezer is now making a noise, check this page here for How to fix a refrigerator making noise.

NOTE: If the food in your refrigerator and freezer have defrosted or is warm, it may not be safe to eat. Use common sense to determine if the food needs to be thrown away or can be stored for later.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance Tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 33 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of appliances. Contact here

7 thoughts on “Freezer Door Left Open – Now Freezer Refrigerator Not Cooling – How To Fix”

  1. We have turned the freezer on and off but the hazard light and orange light are still on. Do we open the freezer to check that the food is freezing. We have still it on four.

  2. That happened to me recently (my son left it slightly ajar and I came down the next morning and the light was off and it was not cooling).

    In my instance, unplugging it and plugging it back in (and re-packing to make sure it fully closed when pushed shut) did the trick. It has been about 8 hours and the ice cream re-froze with icy texture, but the meats were fine and still mostly frozen because it was so fully packed.

    Try that first before going to greater measures.

  3. I left the freezer door open a crack last night and it wasn’t fully working hours after I closed it. Found this page, followed the instructions, and it works! Thank you SO MUCH for this advice. You saved my food, possibly the refrigerator, and most probably my marriage :)

  4. Lorraine Kollock

    Our upright freezer door was left open slightly for quite a while before we noticed it, the food was defrosted and slightly cold. I took care of that, and my husband just checked for ice, he said there wasn’t any, but it still doesn’t seem like it’s getting cold. It is humming, like normal. Any suggestions? It is only 4 yrs old. We bought it at Sears.

  5. Thank you for you helpful advice when freezer door was left slightly open and coils iced up. Used hair dryer to defrost and everything went back to normal.

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