Can’t Open Freezer Door – What To Do?

You’ve tried to open your freezer to grab some food or drink, but it is stuck. This is not the first time it has happened. Sometimes you have to pull hard for it to open, and at other times it will just not open at all. Don’t panic, as we have consulted with the experts who have answers on how to resolve this issue.  

There are various possible reasons for your freezer door not opening. It could be due to different air pressures occurring inside and outside the freezer, damaged or cracked closure cams, faulty gears, improperly working door hinge bushings, or a buildup of frost. Depending on what is causing the problem, you can troubleshoot by doing one or more of the following:

  • Wait for the air pressure inside and outside to balance.
  • Replace the damaged door cams.
  • Replace the faulty drawer gears.
  • Replace the door hinge bushings that are not working properly.
  • Defrost the freezer.

It can be annoying when you want to grab some food or drink, and your freezer door just won’t open. Continue reading to learn the solutions you can apply to overcome this problem.

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An empty refrigerator with its freezer door left open, Can't Open Freezer Door - What To Do?

Why Can’t I Open My Freezer Door?

You won't be able to open your freezer door when any of these issues below may be present:

  • There are varying or fluctuating air pressures occurring inside and outside your freezer.
  • Your freezer's closure cams might have been damaged or might have cracked.
  • The drawer gears at the back of your freezer door might have become faulty.
  • You freezer door hinge bushings may not be properly working.
  • There's alaready a buildup of frost in your freezer.

We have elaborated below on these possible issues and on how to troubleshoot each of them. Simply follow the steps provided depending on your problem, and also have your manual close for reference since freezer specifications vary according to the model.

What Do You Do If Your Freezer Door Won’t Open?

Your frustrations will soon be over by using one or more of the following solutions.

1. Wait For The Air Pressure Inside And Outside To Balance

The door may not open because the air pressure inside the freezer is less than that outside; this is a problem that normally lasts between 10 to 15 seconds.

Look at it this way—you grab a popsicle on a hot summer day from your freezer and immediately after, your friend also wants one. But this time the door will not open. Why does this happen? Why does the effect last a very short time?

Before you open the freezer, the air pressure outside pressing against the door is the same as the air pressure pressing against the door on the inside. When you open the door, warm air rushes in, displacing the cold air inside. After closing the door, the freezer starts cooling the warm air.

As the air is cooling, the pressure becomes less on the inside, which is slightly lower than the air outside. This means there is more force exerted on the door from the outside than the inside, making the door harder to open.

Freezers are manufactured to allow air to leak into the freezer slowly. This happens until the air pressure inside and outside balance, making the freezer easy to open again. Therefore, it is a temporary problem that normally happens during summer and resolves on its own.

2. Replace The Damaged Door Cams

The closure cams are designed with a smooth surface for the door to easily swing open and close. However, as your freezer ages, the closure cams could crack or get damaged, leading to the door either partially opening or not opening at all.

This is a problem you can solve easily, and in this example, we will be replacing the upper door closing cam number WR02X11478 on a GE Refrigerator Freezer Door. The steps are:

  • As always, unplug your power cord before you begin any repairs on your freezer.
  • Pull off the grill at the bottom of the fridge-freezer to disconnect the water line from the pipe clamp.
  • Release the hinge cover on the top-left of the freezer to remove the door.
  • Place the door aside.
  • Go ahead and unthread the screw on the upper closing cam of the door that you’ve set aside.
  • With a small flathead screwdriver, remove the damaged cam and replace it with a new closing cam.
  • Replace the door, ensuring it aligns properly with the lower hinge pin.
  • Put back the hinge cover and secure it firmly with the screw.
  • Replace the grill at the bottom and plug the power cord back in.

To learn more about how to replace a door closure cam, watch this video tutorial:

3. Replace The Faulty Drawer Gears

The gears found at the back of your freezer door on a bottom refrigerator freezer could be damaged, causing it to open with difficulty. Remove the basket to inspect the gears. If they are faulty, then you have to replace them.

In this example, we shall replace drawer gear kit #12002497 in a Whirlpool refrigerator freezer. Find below the steps to follow:

  • Start by unplugging the electric cord.
  • Open the freezer door and lift the bin out.
  • Remove the gear shaft, and with a flathead screwdriver, lift off the gears from both the left and right slides.
  • With the same flathead screwdriver, lift off the gear supports on the left and right slides.
  • Take your new gear components and snap in the gear support on the left and right slide.
  • Snap the gear with the shorter stem onto the left gear support, and likewise snap the gear with the longer stem onto the right gear support.
  • Insert the shaft into the gear with the long stem first on the right, and finish fixing by inserting the opposite end it into the left gear with the short stem.
  • Put the bin back into the drawer.
  • Plug back the power cord and switch it on.

To actually see how to carry out the steps mentioned above, check out the video below:

4. Replace The Door Hinge Bushings That Are Not Working Properly

The door hinge bushings have a smooth surface for the door to ride on and are mostly found in freezer doors that do not have a cam. If you find it difficult to open the door, or if the door is loose, it could be a sign that a hinge bushing is faulty.

Below is an example of a step-by-step guide on how to replace a lower door hinge bushing #242000502 in a Frigidaire refrigerator Model # FFSS2315TS0:

  • Unplug your freezer.
  • Detach the lower grill at the bottom of the freezer and release the dispenser water supply line.
  • Remove the hinge cover on the top left of the freezer to remove the door.
  • Pry out the damaged hinge bushing, and install a new one.
  • Put the door back, making sure the top hinge aligns properly with the door.
  • Replace the dispenser water supply line.
  • Secure the grill firmly into place.
  • Plug your power cord back in.

For an in-depth explanation on how to replace the door hinges, watch this video:

5. Defrost The Freezer

Sometimes a freezer door will not open because the frost has accumulated on the drawer rails because it has not been defrosted in a while. This can also happen if the seal is not working properly, allowing warm air to trickle inside, causing ice build-up.

This problem is solved by defrosting the freezer. Unplug the freezer and allow it to defrost for at least 24 hours. If the environment is warm, you can speed up the defrosting process by using a fan to circulate the air around the freezer.

When you are able to open the freezer door, you can use a hairdryer to speed up the thawing process. But you have to be extra careful to ensure the electric cord does not come in contact with water or ice to prevent any potential electric shock.

Also, do not take it too close to the inside of the freezer, and do not focus on one spot for too long to prevent damage due to the high heat; instead, keep moving it around. You can also place a bowl of steaming water inside the freezer every 15 minutes.

To learn more about defrosting, check out this post: How Often To Defrost Chest Freezer.

How To Open A Freezer Door That Is Frozen Shut

Use method number 5 to defrost your freezer if it has frost, making it difficult to open the door. Refer to your freezer manual to defrost it correctly as freezer models function differently.

Broaden your knowledge on freezer doors not opening in this post: Freezer Door Won't Open All The Way – What To Do?

How Do I Get The Child Lock Off My Samsung Fridge Freezer?

Because it can be stressful when you can’t open your freezer door, sometimes you can decide to deliberately prevent access into your freezer by enabling the child lock function.

With child lock in place, you avoid accidental changes to the settings you have already set; it locks the display, the panel, and the buttons on the dispenser. This means none of the buttons can be used.

To unlock the child lock function, simply press the Ice Off button for 3 seconds. Similarly, do the same if you want to turn it back on.

In Closing

It’s important to correctly diagnose the cause of your freezer door opening with difficulty or not opening at all. Thereafter, you need to apply the correct method to solve the problem.

Also, you just can’t buy any part; your freezer has a better chance to last long when you buy parts specifically for your freezer model. In addition, always have your freezer manual at hand whenever you are doing the repairs. Good luck!

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