Question 1: Why doesn’t the freezer work at all?
Answer 1: Are you sure that the freezer is getting power? If you can’t tell if anything is on at all, plug something else into the same outlet, such as a small lamp or hair dryer. If you have power, it’s time to troubleshoot. If you don’t have power, check the fuse or circuit breaker. If you do have power, does the interior light work, or do you hear a fan turning inside? You can try setting the thermostat to a colder setting. Does the compressor kick in? If that doesn’t work, you can begin checking the same items that would cause the freezer to freeze poorly.
Question 2: Why doesn’t my freezer freeze?
Answer 2: The first thing to do is to set the thermostat to a colder setting. If that doesn’t work, you can begin checking the defrost timer. Test this by manually advancing to the defrost cycle. You can usually manually advance this timer with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the advancement pinion and turn clockwise a 1/4 to 3/8’s of a turn. The timer should advance out of the defrost cycle in less than an hour.
To test if the cold control is bad, you can temporarily jump the two wires at the cold control. If this jumping gets power to the compressor, the cold control needs to be replaced.
If there is a break in the wiring, your freezer will not work. Testing wiring is a long, tedious process. You need to check each wire with a meter to see if there is continuity. If there is, the wire is fine.
See if the compressor motor is running. The compressor is at the back of the freezer near the bottom. If it’s humming, or making a steady noise, and your freezer is still not cooling properly, there could be a problem with one or more various components. If it is running, but your freezer is still not cooling at all, there may be a problem with the condenser or evaporator coils.
Sometimes you can hear a click-buzz-click sound coming from the compressor. This is the relay/overload at work. If you hear this, power is getting to the compressor. If you do, something is wrong with either the compressor or the compressor starting components. If you have a newer model with solid-state starting components, you may not hear anything at all.
If there is power to the starting components, you may be able to test each part and replace any bad parts. There is also a 3-in-1 unit that may work on your model which replaces all the components in one unit. If the compressor still won’t start, you have a bad compressor and need to replace it. If it does start, wire the 3-in-1 part in permanently. Make sure the one you buy is rated for the horsepower of your appliance. We sell these in our parts finder area.
Sometimes the evaporator coils get frozen over and air can’t pass over them. This can result in your freezer not freezing properly. You can manually defrost your freezer by turning it off for 24-48 hours and turn it back on to see if it begins to work properly. These coils can get dirty, and they will not transfer heat or cold very well.
Question 3: Why is there a lot of frost built up inside the freezer?
Answer 3: A frost build-up inside the freezer usually means that there is a problem in the self-defrost system. You may even have damaged door gaskets. When you open the freezer door, you also let in a blast of warm, often humid air. This moisture usually freezes onto the evaporator coils immediately.
Self-defrost freezers are supposed to self-defrost themselves. Every 6-12 hours they turn off the compressor for a few minutes. A defrost heater then turns on to melt any frost build-up on these coils, which allows the frost and ice to melt, then it drains off to the pan underneath. Unfortunately, though, when a component fails, too much frost can build up on the evaporator coils. With no air flow over the coils, cooling in the freezer compartment becomes almost non-existent.
You can manually defrost your freezer by turning it off for 24-48 hours and turn it back on to see if it begins to work properly. If your freezer now works the way it’s supposed to, test the three other components in the self-defrosting system, the defrost heater, the defrost thermostat, or the defrost timer.
You can visually inspect some defrost heaters to see if there is a break. If it looks physically broken, then it needs to be replaced. Otherwise, check the defrost heater for continuity.
The defrost thermostat, which is just a bi-metal switch, lets current pass through at factory set temperatures. It also prevents current from passing through at the temperatures set by the factory. The set temperatures for the defrost thermostat vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
You can test the defrost timer by manually advancing to the defrost cycle. You can usually manually advance this timer with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the advancement pinion and turn clockwise a 1/4 to 3/8’s of a turn. The timer should advance out of the defrost cycle in less than an hour.
If, after testing these components, it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level and you will need to contact a professional appliance repair person.
Question 4: Why does the freezer keep running?
Answer 4: Your thermostat controls whether the compressor is running or not. When the thermostat senses the internal temperature is lower than the setting, it turns off. If the thermostat won’t cycle off, the thermostat may be bad and you will have to replace it. You may also have the temperature set too high in the freezer. Try adjusting the thermostat to a lower temperature. If this turns the compressor off, you may have had it set too high. With the help of a freezer thermometer, you can find a more ideal setting that will keep your food cold, but not so cold that the compressor is always running. If raising the temperature setting doesn’t help, it may be a problem with the thermostat and you will need to replace it.
If your thermostat is working properly, there’s a chance that you have low levels of refrigerant in the sealed system. If this is where the symptoms lead you, you need to contact a professional appliance repair person. Only an EPA certified technician can legally work on a sealed system. If you attempt to do work on this system, you will void the warranty.
If this is a new refrigerator/freezer, it will run for a long time, almost constantly, before it gets cooled enough to stabilize the interior temperature. Allow up to 24 hours for it to stabilize.
Another common cause is a leaky gasket. Try putting a dollar bill between the gasket and the frame of the freezer as you close the door. If the dollar comes out without resistance, then you need a new door gasket.
When installing a refrigerator or freezer door gasket, you should allow the gasket to adjust to room temperature before removing it from the carton. When carrying or handling the gasket, you want to carry it by the corners. This will help to prevent breakage of the flexible magnet. Should the magnet be found to be broken, it will NOT impair its effectiveness. If the gasket is deformed or twisted from long storage, you can heat the deformed section with an electric heater, hair dryer, or a 150-300 watt light bulb. Holding the heat source about 1 inch to 3 or 4 inches from the gasket, move the heat source back and forth to maintain even warming. Apply heat until gasket has resumed its original shape. This can also correct an already installed, deformed gasket. Make sure you use caution so as not to damage the inner door panel.
Make sure that the freezer has enough air clearance on all sides. There is a condenser coil on the back or under the back near the compressor that needs to radiate heat away from itself. If it can’t radiate enough heat, it will cool poorly and will run for longer periods of time.
Verify that the door light switch is working properly. Push the switch with your finger to verify the light is turning off. If the light stays on, it will actually warn the interior of the freezer. Fix or replace the switch if it is faulty.
Modern freezers start and stop very frequently to maintain an even temperature. They may run for a long time initially. This is especially true if you have just put a lot of warm food in the freezer, or if it is very hot and humid. It can take several hours to get back to the cool temperature you have it set for after putting a large amount of food in it.
Question 5: Why do my frozen meats look burned?
Answer 5: Simply put, freezer burn is when the food in your freezer gets dehydrated from the freezer unit sucking out the moisture from the food. This is because the food wasn’t wrapped tightly enough to prevent evaporation of the moisture in whatever you’re freezing. It’s still okay to eat, but it probably tastes bad. The best way to prevent freezer burn is to seal food very well in sealed storage bags before freezing.
For more Appliance Repair help, please search this blog and for appliance parts visit us at APWagner.