Freezer problems can cost a lot of money and food wastage if not caught and repaired in time. Here are some simple ones you can troubleshoot and fix yourself that will save a call to the repairman.
Before doing any repairs, be sure to consult your owner’s manual.
- Freezer Not Running, Power and Freezer Lights Off
Start by checking some obvious possibilities. Is the freezer turned on and plugged in securely? Is the electrical cord damaged, needing replacement? Are you using an extension cord that might be causing a voltage drop, and preventing the freezer from running? If you must use an extension cord, try the shortest workable length to see if it provides enough voltage for power. Make sure to plug in a cord that’s rated for the load being placed on it.
If still no power, check the outlet by plugging in a small lamp or hair dryer, or by using a voltage tester if you have one. To check the actual voltage, use a multimeter, but only if you know how to operate one safely and correctly. Next, look for a blown fuse, tripped circuit breaker, or tripped GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) outlet.
If you confirm that power is reaching the outlet, then there could be a short, or the freezer has suffered some electrical damage. At this point you do need to call a repairman.
- Freezer Not Running, Power and Freezer Lights On
Newer models have a “demo” mode that’s used in a showroom to demonstrate features without running the cooling system. Make sure your freezer is out of “demo” mode — instructions will be in your owner’s manual.
Clean the condenser coils, which are located on the rear of the freezer, or at floor level. When there’s a build-up of dust or debris on the coils, your freezer can’t cool properly, causing it to run continuously, or completely stop if the condenser overheats. Rear coils should be cleaned once a year using a vacuum or coil brush (unplug the freezer first). You can also use warm water and soap, but don’t drip water onto any freezer components. Floor-level coils need to be cleaned twice a year.
- Freezer Running Too Warm
Check the temperature setting to make sure it’s at 0°F and hasn’t been accidentally set too high.
Cold air needs to circulate freely in the freezer. Too many frozen items limit the air circulation, raising the temperature. Ideally, keep your freezer 70% to 85% full, and place items as close to the middle as possible so as not to block the vents and limit air circulation. The vents might also have to be cleaned, or ice melted from them using a hair dryer set on “low”.
Inspect the door seal. Look for cracks and run your hand along the door when it’s closed to feel for any cold air coming through. You can also place a piece of paper or a dollar bill between the seal and the freezer, and close the door. Pull the paper or dollar bill out. There should be some tension if the seal is good. Do this for the entire door seal. You’ll have to replace the seal if it is leaking cold air.
Sometimes food residue, oil, and dirt on the seal will prevent the door from sealing properly. Wash the seal with dish soap and warm water, dry it with a towel, and see if this corrects the problem.
Cleaning the condenser coils can also help with the problem of the freezer not running cool enough.
- Frost Build-Up
A frost build-up around the door seal can occur when the door isn’t closing properly. Check for any items that are sticking out too far, bins not closing all the way, and any packaging that’s getting stuck in the door when it closes — all preventing a proper seal.
If a thin, snowy frost covers everything, the temperature could be set too low. There are different ways to verify the freezer’s temperature setting: place a thermometer (one that can register below zero temperatures) between two pieces of frozen food located in the center of the freezer that have been there for at least 24 hours; put the thermometer in ice cream that’s been in the freezer at least 12 hours. Leave the thermometer there at least 3 minutes if it’s digital, and at least 12 hours if non-digital.
A habit of leaving the freezer door open while rummaging for items, or while stepping out of the room, will eventually produce a hard, icy frost everywhere inside the unit. One solution is not to leave the door open longer than necessary, but another one is to raise the two front pedestal feet so the door will close on its own if you accidentally leave it open.
To get rid of the frost build-up, do a manual defrost by turning the freezer off, opening the door, and allowing the frost and ice to melt. If frost build-up continues to be a problem, there could be an issue with the defrost heater, defrost timer, or defrost thermostat. You need to call a repairman to determine the exact cause.
- Water Leaking from Bottom of Freezer
First, locate and check the drain pan. Your owner’s manual will show you where it’s located. If it’s leaking because it’s cracked, you’ll have to replace it. If it’s full and overflowing, empty it. While you have it out, clean it with warm soapy water, or warm water and baking soda. You should also empty and clean the drain pan every few months to prevent mold and odors.
In a freezer’s defrost cycle, water drips into the drain hole and down the drain tube into the drain pan where it evaporates. If the drain hole or tube is clogged or frozen, water will leak out the bottom.
Locate the freezer’s drain hole. If you’re not sure where it is, consult your owner’s manual. Often the drain hole is located on the back wall of the freezer. With some freezer/refrigerators the drain hole is covered by a plastic panel. To access it, remove any screws and the panel. Check the drain hole for anything clogging it, or for ice in the tube.
If the hole is clogged, or the tube frozen, you can use a turkey baster to clear it. Fill the turkey baster with hot water and squeeze the water into the hole. Do this many times to clear the drain tube of blockages and ice.
There’s also a frozen water line tool you can purchase to do the clearing. It consists of a large plastic syringe, and almost 6 feet of plastic tubing that you fill with hot water and insert into the drain.
If a simple fix doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to call the repair experts at C&W Appliance Service. Call (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 for prompt professional repair service.