An improperly sealed freezer door is a fairly common problem. It’s the kind of thing that you’ve probably noticed not only with an older unit but really with any freezer that’s been used heavily. Though this problem is incredibly easy to identify, it’s also one that can cause your freezer some serious problems.
There are two major reasons why your freezer door is not sealing one side: a misaligned rail or a damaged seal. Each of these problems can be solved fairly easily, but you’re going to have identify them before you can progress to that point.
While the average user might think of a freezer door not sealing as a minor issue, it is the cause of a host of problems. Your freezer depends on a well-controlled climate system in order to keep its temperature regulated, but an improperly sealed door makes that impossible. When the door won’t close, your freezer is going to work harder to keep a low temperature – something leads to louder noise and higher energy bills. Even worse, though, your freezer’s efforts might not be enough – your food can easily spoil because of the lack of proper refrigeration.
Problem 1: The Drawer and its Railings are out of Position
Like most other drawers, your freezer door pulls out on a fairly simple rail set-up. If that rail is blocked or the rail is out of position, your freezer door isn’t going to be able to close properly. Your goal, then, is to figure out what’s causing the misalignment and how to fix that problem.
Check for Obstructions
The first step you’ll take is to pull your freezer drawer out as far as it can go and to take a quick look at the railing. If the issue is because of something stuck in the railing, you can remove it and see if the drawer will shut properly. If there’s not an apparent blockage, you may also want to check the rear of the rails to ensure that there is no frozen ice that needs to be removed from the track. If neither of these problems are apparent, you’ll want to move on to the next step.
Check Rail Alignment
Your next step is to look at the rails. If they are in proper alignment (that is, there’s no visible bending in the rail) and there’s nothing in the way, you might have to use a fairly low-tech solution. When the drawer won’t close on one side, you’ll take a book and place it between the open drawer and the refrigerator unit on the side that closes properly. Once it’s in place, try slamming the door shut – it should make a loud noise, which will then make it possible for you to shut the unit all the way.
Note that if this particular fix doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to consider ordering a new set of rails for the refrigerator. Though not necessarily a common DIY fix, you can generally replace the rails on a freezer unit with a minimum of fuss. This is absolutely the worst-case scenario, though, and most doors that won’t close on one side can be fixed either by clearing out blockages or by using the method outlined above.
Problem 2: The Gasket is Damaged
The gasket (or seal) is the rubber layer that sits between the interior of your freezer’s door and the body of the unit. It is an incredibly important part of the unit because it helps to keep the door closed. Unfortunately, gaskets can become damaged over time, whether due to damage or just regular wear and tear. If you notice that your freezer door isn’t sealing, you’ll definitely want to take a moment to look at the gasket.
Check for Ice Build up on Gasket
It’s important to first look at all the issues that could cause your gasket not to make a seal. An incredibly common issue is protruding food or ice in an overloaded freezer – anything that sticks out between the unit and the gasket is going to make it difficult to keep a seal. If there’s anything in the way, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible.
Too Much Weight for Freezer Compartment
It’s also a good idea to take a look at what you’ve got stored in the door. If you have heavy items in place that are weighing down the door, try taking them out – you might be miss aligning the door and throwing off the gasket’s ability to keep the door sealed.
Check the Magnetization
From here, you’ll want to make sure that the seal is properly magnetized. This is actually an easy process – just grab a metal object and see if it sticks. If it doesn’t, you can re-magnetize the seal by rubbing a strong magnet against the seal a few times until the gasket resumes being magnetic.
Look for Damage
If this doesn’t work, it will be time to look at the gasket for damage. If the gasket is dirty, wash it off. There are two popular cleaning solution to use when cleaning your fridge gasket:
- Dish soap and warm water
- Teaspoon of baking soda and roughly a cup of warm water
After you have made your cleaning solution you can use a cloth or nice cleaner rag and dip it in the solution and rub the gasket thoroughly. After cleaning it dry the gasket with a dry towel so the moisture does not freeze.
If there is a rip or tear, though, you will likely need access to a gasket repair kit in order to get the door to close again. If the damage is more widespread or the damaged area is bigger than what you can fix with the gasket kit, though, you may need to replace the gasket entirely. This isn’t necessarily a complex process but it is one that you might need guidance on to do right the first time.
The two problems above are the most common reasons why a freezer door won’t shut, but they might not be the only problems that is impacting your freezer unit. Always do what you can to make sure that the interior remains clean and that you avoid placing objects in the doors that can cause additional wear and tear. With a little time and patience, you’ll be able to not only identify the cause of your freezer door problems, but you’ll be able to address them in a way that will get your freezer back in working order.