Freezer Door Pops Open – What To Do?

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Imagine finding the door of your freezer open. Your immediate response could either be guessing who left it open or trying to remember if you have been distracted when you were closing it. So you just close it and walk away. But if the same thing happens several more times, it’s a warning sign you should quickly address. What could have caused it, and how would you solve the problem? We looked for the possible reasons for you. 

There are four main reasons why your freezers, whether they be chest, upright, or built-in fridge freezer, might pop open on their own. They are the following:

  • The freezer might be off-balanced
  • Excessive food stock
  • The gasket or seal has become faulty
  • Too much weight on the door

These causes only take a minute or two to notice. But solving some of them might take a little effort. So we provided freezer door sealing tips to solve each of them. Continue reading as we demystify these reasons and their solutions. 

A freezer door left opened, Freezer Door Pops Open - What To Do?

How To Solve your recurring freezer door problem

The freezer might be off level

This problem is more common in upright and built-in fridge freezers, as they tower vertically. You might not have noticed it, but the adjustable legs of these freezers aren’t equal. The two legs in front are generally a bit higher than the ones in the back, making the freezer stand less than 90 degrees to the back to allow the door to close more firmly. 

When freezers are off-balanced or sloping forward, you get the right angles to make the door pop open. 

An easy fix you can try is adjusting the leveling screw under the freezer door. With a 3/8 socket wrench, turn the case leveling screw counterclockwise to raise the front leg of the upright freezer by 1/4 inches. Use a level to get this exact front leg height measurement.

However, if the legs are worn out, replacing them with new ones from the nearest appliance store will be your only solution. 

Excessive food stocks

Sometimes, the problem with the freezer door popping open stems from the bad habit of overstuffing it.

While having a packed freezer is recommended for minimizing energy consumption, filling it with goods more than its allowable capacity will do more bad than good. The freezer door seal is only resistant to 5-10 lbs of weight. Thus, the added pressure from the overflowing content inside your appliance can result in the freezer door yanking open.

Freezers of all shapes and sizes come in different storage capacities. You don’t need strong mathematical skills to know how much food your freezer can hold. Simply observing and following the labels on your freezer units will provide you insight into the number of goods you can store in the unit without risking the door opening accidentally.  

The gasket or seal has become faulty

A completely defrosted refrigerator

One more common reason why your freezer door pops open is a faulty gasket or door seal. For your reference, a gasket is the white magnetic elastic strip on a freezer or fridge door. It functions as an airtight seal that isolates the cold air inside the freezer from the external environment.

When the gasket loses its magnetic energy or has accumulated dirt, its sealing capability decreases that results in the freezer door opening, even if the freezer is balanced or contains just the right amount of goods. 

Fortunately, you can solve this problem through the simple ways below:

1. Re-magnetizing the door seal

To re-magnetize your freezer door, find a neodymium magnet and run it on the gasket 50 times. This will help fill up the strips with magnetic energy to bring back the gasket's sealing ability. 

However, only use this method when you’re certain that the door malfunctions due to the absence of the magnetic energy in the strip because this can destroy the gasket if not done correctly.

2. Applying petroleum jelly 

If the malfunctioning door seal is not caused by demagnetized strips, applying petroleum jelly will be enough to reseal the door. 

Sometimes, the reason why a gasket is no longer able to stick on the freezer door is that it has already dried up. Fortunately, remoisturizing it with a thin layer of petroleum jelly can bring back its sealing power. 

3. Cleaning the gasket

Lastly, remove the grime built up on the door seal, especially on the grooves, which is most commonly the result of continuous unconscientious usage.

Just mix dishwashing or detergent soap and vinegar in a bowl of hot water to create a cleaning solution strong enough to break up grime on the gasket. Soak a towel in the solution and wipe every edge and surface of the door seal with it. Remember to make another warm cleaning solution when the water gets cold. Warm water is necessary to make the strips malleable to contract again.

Too much weight on the door

One unsuspecting culprit that can make your freezer open on its own can be the gallons of ice cream on the shelves of the freezer door. 

Quickly fix this by removing any heavy goods on the freezer door shelves. These compartments are only intended for small foods, such as ice cream popsicles and chocolates. Any heavy stuff should go on the main shelves.

How can I make my freezer door seal better?

A freezer door left opened on a white background

Knowing the reasons why your freezer door keeps popping open is not enough. To stop the cold from leaking out again, you need to constantly observe good practices. Here are two freezer door care practices you should do religiously to make your door seal better:

Regular cleaning 

This may seem tedious, but never let a day end without wiping the door seal. Instead of a scheduled general freezer cleaning day, make it your habit to clean the gasket every day with a clean cloth to avoid grime and mold buildup. Use an unused toothbrush to remove dirt from the folds and grooves.

After each cleaning session, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the gasket to increase its sealing functionality, especially on the areas where the gasket touches the freezer door frame. 

In addition, blow hot air on the gasket using a hairdryer every month. This will ensure the magnetic strips always fit on the doorway. 

Timely replacement 

If by accident the gasket gets torn or dented, you may turn to replacements in your local home appliance centers to seal the door better.

Here are the step-by-step instructions in replacing the gasket:

1. Find the mounting screws and loosen them. 

2. Then, pull the damaged gasket from the fridge door. 

3. Clean the now exposed gasket slot before proceeding to the next step. 

4. Install the new gasket on its slot and fasten it with the mounting screws. 

5. Lastly, rub a thin film of petroleum jelly on the gasket to fight premature drying.

What happens if the freezer door is left open?

If you don’t follow the steps above and let the freezer stay ajar, expect an excessive ice formation on the evaporator coils, which can prevent the appliance from reaching the desired freezing temperature. And it doesn’t stop there. Below are some other negative effects when the freezer door is left open:

Excessive condensation

Since the inside of the freezer is exposed to the hot and humid air, condensation or “sweat” will start to form inside the freezer in the compressor's attempt to maintain a desirable freezing temperature. As a result, frost will start to build in all parts of the freezer, as well as in your stocked goods. 

System overheat

The compressor will work twice or thrice as much to bring the temperature down. If the thermostat does not give the compressor any signal to slow down, the system may overheat, which may lead to detrimental effects on your appliance and your home. 

Your utility bill will skyrocket

Ultimately, all this will result in a higher energy bill by the following month. Remember, the harder the system works, the bigger energy it needs to keep working. 

How long can a freezer be open? 

Keeping the freezer open for a long time is not advisable. If you’re getting something from your freezer, we advise you to only keep the freezer open for not more than 10 minutes, especially if you’re in a place with a warm climate. 

Although accidentally leaving a freezer door open overnight does not guarantee damage, it’s best to always be mindful of keeping the door shut all the time, so your appliance lasts longer than its expected lifespan. 

In summary

Simple steps, such as cleaning and applying petroleum jelly on the gasket, ensuring that it’s balanced properly, and avoiding overfilling the appliance, can help in efficiently sealing your freezer door. In doing so, you will avoid freezer burn, overheating, high electricity bills, and permanently damaging your freezer. For more freezer care tips, read this post

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