Freezer Light Not Working: Top Fixes

If you’re like me, you make the occasional midnight drive-by of your refrigerator or freezer. Perhaps you want a drink, or that frozen pizza you’ve been saving? Doesn’t matter what you want (I’m hungry as I write, so food’s on the mind), if the light doesn’t come on, it’s a problem. Being able to see the interior of your freezer is vital to late-night snackage, so let’s fix the problem. DreamyHome is here with the last minute save for a freezer light not working.

The most common causes of a freezer light not working are a burnt out bulb, bad switch, or electrical faults (some more serious than others).

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

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How It Works

Let’s start with the basics – how does your freezer light work? Luckily, the answer is rather standardized across brands.

Your freezer’s light bulb is almost always going to be an everyday 120-volt light bulb. It gets it power from internal wiring (rather than a direct plugin) and it works similar to most other light bulbs. Generally, the bulbs you’re looking for will be marketed as appliance light bulbs, meaning they can fit into just about any appliance. (This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ensure it fits and is the proper voltage before purchase, though.)

Generally, the bulb is activated by a push switch attached to the frame of your freezer. This allows it to go on and off depending on if the lid is open or not. As with all repairs, we’re going to start with the easy stuff first. We can get to the more intensive fixes as we go, though there won’t be any multiple-hour projects here (thankfully).

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Light Bulb Problems

Light bulbs, as with all things in life, have a limited time on this earth. They’re not meant to last forever, meaning you will need to replace your freezer light bulb occasionally. If you haven’t done this in recent memory, let’s start with that.

Burnt Bulb

Here’s what to do:

  1. Begin by inspecting your freezer’s light bulb. If there are any burnt or broken bits that you can see (inside or out), it’s a dead bulb. If you remove it and hear rattling inside, that’s a sign that something broke loose – also bad.
  2. Purchase a replacement, usually 25 or 40 watt bulbs.
  3. Unplug your freezer, and screw in the replacement.
    1. One note: Unplugging the freezer and keeping the socket dry is vital to your safety. You do not want to meet your maker thanks to a faulty light bulb.
  4. Plug the freezer back in and you should have light back!

If you’ve replaced the bulb and it’s still not on, it’s time to move onto the power supply. Take a look here for more information on how to fix and spot a burnt light bulb.


There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with your power supply, so we’ll go through the list, easiest to hardest to fix. Start with:

Check that the freezer is plugged in.

You’d be surprised how often I’ve heard, “of course I checked that!” only to be met with a dejected, “… yeah, it’s working now.”

Inspect the power cord.

Are there signs of damage to the cord? Frayed or torn bits, and especially visible wiring is a bad sign. If it looks like your power cord could be damage, you need a pro. They’re not easy to replace.

Are your breakers tripped?

Check your breaker box. If your freezer keeps tripping the breaker, you may need to move it to another circuit to avoid overloading your home’s wiring. If you’ve moved the freezer and it still trips breakers, that’s a sign there’s something wrong with your home’s wiring. Call a pro.

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Is your GFCI outlet tripped?

These are the small buttons (usually red and black, though it varies on your location) on your outlet. They act as a “mini-breaker” of sorts, and cut power if there’s a surge to or from the outlet. If you’ve tripped the outlet, hit the reset button – and again, if the issue recurs, it’s time for professionals.

Is your outlet okay?

How old is the outlet? Have you had it serviced or replaced recently? If not, it’s likely that your outlet is the cause of the issue. Try using a non-contact circtuit tester (multimeter) to test your outlet. If it shows as an open circuit, you need to replace your outlet and potentially the wiring attached to it.

Is there a power outage?

You’ll know if this is the case, because your whole home’s power will be out. If this is the case, keep the freezer closed to preserve your food as long as possible. It may be time for a tasty feast to keep food useable.

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Switch Problems

Here’s where things get fun – it’s time to check that your switch is working properly. Now, there’s two things that are common issues with door switches. The first is that grime and dust can build up in dirty freezers – so this is your reminder to give it a good clean now and again. The second, more intensive (barely) cause is that your switch could have just failed, simple as that.

Let’s test the first option:

  1. Open your freezer and locate the switch. It’s usually at the top or bottom of the door frame.
  2. Press it in and let it go back out. Is there resistance? Does it hesistate to go between “off and on?”
  3. If the answer is yes, give it a cleaning! Use soapy warm water and a soft cloth to clean it out, being sure to wring out the cloth to avoid excess moisture making its way inside.

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The other possible cause is a broken switch, so let’s talk about replacing your door switch:

  1. Begin by finding a flathead screwdriver. You will be using this to pry the switch out of place.
  2. Purchase a replacement switch that works for your freezer – you can usually buy them directly from the manufacturer.
  3. Locate the switch and gently pry it out of its mounting with the screwdriver, being careful to not crack the surrounding portion of the frame.
  4. Disconnect the wires that are attached to the old switch. The wiring is usually attached using snap-on connectors, meaning a good pull will separate your wires. Sometimes, you’ll need to depress small tabs to disconnect the wiring.
  5. Work in reverse order, replacing the switch and wiring.

Theoretically, you should have a functioning freezer now! If not, call a professional to take a look – it’s likely something more complicated than you’ll want to deal with.

Final Thoughts

Fixing a freezer light not working should, in theory, be an easy process. You need to begin by inspecting your light bulb and power supply, as they’re the most common causes. Make sure you have a new, functioning light bulb, and that everything is plugged in and getting power. And as always, call a professional if you’re uncomfortable working with wiring. They exist to make your life easier, and are only a call away.

After you’ve inspected the easy stuff, take a look at the switch for your freezer bulb. Is the switch dirty? Clean it! If it’s not working at all, replacing it takes ~15 minutes and one common tool – a flathead screwdriver. And best of all? It’ll be drastically cheaper than paying a pro to do the same thing.