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Freezer Repair Tips

Warning! To avoid personal injury or death, always unplug the appliance or disconnect the power before attempting any repairs. Always turn off the gas at the source before repairing any gas appliance. Always wear safety glasses when using tools. Keep loose clothing and hair away from any moving parts. Safety is of major importance when performing any service or repair on any electrical appliance. Please, read our disclaimer before proceeding.
You can also get repair help based on your problem at our free Repair Forum.
It doesn’t power on
  1. Check outlet
    Make sure the freezer is actually plugged in and that the outlet is functioning properly. If the outlet is working correctly, take it one step further and check the circuit breaker in your home.
  2. Check indicator light
    If your light is flashing this indicates that the power to the freezer went off recently. Whether switched off by accident or you had a recent power outage to your home, unplug for 30 minutes and plug in again.
  3. Compressor/Start relay
    If your freezer powers on but you hear a clicking sound and can feel the compressor vibrate, this is a sign that you need a new starter relay. Another sign is if your unit powers on and off every few minutes.
It runs continuously
  1. Thermostat
    The thermostat determines whether or not the compressor is running. 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 - if it is, you will have to replace it.
  2. Freezer thermometer
    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.
  3. Damaged gasket
    Gaskets help to seal your freezer unit, thus keeping the cool air in and blocking room temperature or warmer temperatures. If you find that your gasket is not sealing temperatures correctly, replace it for optimal results.
It doesn’t freeze
  1. Thermostat
    May need to be replaced.
  2. Defrost timer
    If you set the thermostat to a colder setting and it fails to freeze, check the accuracy of 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 1/4 to 3/8 of a turn. The timer should advance out of the defrost cycle in less than an hour.
  3. Cold control
    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.
  4. Compressor
    Check to see whether you can hear the compressor motor making a steady noise. 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.
  5. Evaporator coils
    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 then turning it back on to see if it begins to work properly. These coils can get dirty, and when they do they will not transfer heat or cold very well.
It experiences frost build-up
  1. Door gaskets
    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.
  2. Defrost heater
    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.
  3. Defrost thermostat
    The defrost thermostat is a temperature controlling device within the automatic defrost system of a freezer. When the defrost thermostat senses that the coils are too cold, it signals the heater to activate and melt any excess ice build-up. If it is not working it would not activate the heater, which could result in excessive frost build-up.
  4. Defrost timer
    Test the accuracy of the defrost timer. Do this by manually advancing to the defrost cycle by inserting a screwdriver into the advancement pinion and turning clockwise 1/4 to 3/8 of a turn. The timer should advance out of the defrost cycle in less than an hour.
It is noisy
  1. Check your compressor
    The compressor moves the coolant through the unit, and the fan moves the air. Both have spinning motors that need lubricant to remain in good working order. When these items begin to fail, if they don't shut down completely you will hear the high pitched noise of metal rubbing against metal.
  2. Level
    Make sure that your unit is level or balanced. Alter as needed to ensure even weight distribution, especially if your unit has "adjustable feet" that you can alter with a wrench.
The coils are frosting up
  1. Defrost timer
    If the freezer coils are frosting up, the defrost timer could be malfunctioning. Numerous times throughout the day, the defrost timer should cycle the defrost heater on as a means to melt frost build-up on the evaporator coils in the freezer. If this timer does not cycle on, then it may be faulty and require replacement.
  2. Defrost heater assembly
    If the freezer evaporator coils are icing over, this could be an indication that your defrost heater assembly has failed. This could cause the frost to accrue on the evaporator coils, eventually blocking the airflow and resulting in the unit not cooling properly. The defrost heater assembly can be monitored for continuity using an ohm meter and will need to replaced if there is none present.
  3. Defrost thermostat
    If the freezer evaporator coils are icing over, it could be due to a faulty defrost thermostat. A requirement for the defrost heater to activate to melt away frost on the evaporator coils is a functional defrost thermostat. The defrost thermostat senses the temperature of the evaporator coils and initiates the thawing process by activating the defrost heater. If the thermostat is faulty, it will not sense the lowering temperature of the coils and will not turn on the heater, resulting in an advanced frost build-up. The defrost thermostat can be checked for continuity by using an ohm meter; if there is no continuity, the damaged part will need to be replaced.
  4. Freezer door gasket
    If the problem you are having is that the freezer coils are icing over, it could be the freezer gasket. The gasket itself can tear over time, preventing the door from shutting properly. Frost accumulates on the top shelf due to humid air that flows into the unit due to the malfunctioning gasket. When this humidity comes in contact with the cold evaporator coils, it condenses and freezes, which could cause icing on the evaporator coils.
Indicator light is out
  1. Indicator
    If the indicator light in your freezer is not coming on, the complete indicator will have to be replaced. This is because the bulb inside the indicator is not sold as a separate part.
  2. User control and display board
    If you checked and replaced your freezer indicator light but it continues to malfunction by not powering on, check your user control and display board next.
It only freezes top shelf
If the problem you are having is that only the top shelf is freezing in your freezer, it could be due to a low amount of Freon. In a non-frost free upright total freezer, the shelves are actually the Freon lines, and a low Freon level could cause this issue. If there is a sealed system leak, it could be anywhere in the unit -- however, frost will accumulate on the first shelf with which it comes in contact. This issue is often misdiagnosed as a door gasket.
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