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How to Troubleshoot Freezer Repairs

Don't risk letting all of your frozen food spoil and go to waste -- find out what's wrong with the freezer and get it repaired before it's too late.


  • Step 1: Test the defrost mechanisms, including the timer, heater, and thermostat if your freezer isn't defrosting automatically.
  • TIP: It's also possible that the overload protector is malfunctioning and needs replacement.
  • Step 2: Remove any spoiled food and clean the inside of the freezer and the door seals if there is a foul odor coming from the freezer. You may have to remove the breaker strips in the front of the freezer and check for wet insulation.
  • Step 3: Check for leaks in the freezer's drip pan and the ice maker's water hose if you have water pooling on the floor on the outside of the freezer.
  • FACT: In 2003, researchers at NASA and MIT set a record by creating the coldest temperature to date. They cooled sodium gas to one-half billionth degree above absolute zero -- six times lower than the previous record.
  • Step 4: Make sure your freezer is level and that the drain tube is unobstructed if there's water on the inside of the freezer. Determine the cause of your freezer malfunction and get the unit fixed so you don't have to throw away your frozen food.
  • Step 5: Determine the cause of continuous stopping and starting. You may need to clean the condenser coils, but the problem may be with the electrical system. Make sure the outlet is supplying enough voltage to the unit and test the compressor motor and relay.
  • Step 6: Defrost your freezer, clean the condenser coils, and check the door seals for leaks if the freezer runs continuously.
  • Step 7: Check to see if the light works. If the light works but the freezer doesn't, check to see that the temperature is at a cold enough setting and clean the condenser coils. Unplug it for two hours and then plug it back in. If it turns on, then something is causing the compressor to overheat.
  • TIP: If power is getting to the outlet and the cord isn't damaged, there may be a short in the freezer's electrical system.
  • TIP: You may need to have the temperature control, evaporator fan, defrost timer, compressor relay and motor, or the overload protector checked.
  • Step 8: Check the temperature setting and control if the freezer isn't cold enough. Make sure the vents are unobstructed and there's proper air flow in the unit. Test the defrost mechanisms and the door switch and seals and make sure the drain tube is clear and that you don't have a refrigerant leak. If it's too cold, check the temperature setting and control.
  • Step 9: Make sure your freezer is level if it's too noisy. Check the drain pan and the fans to see that they're not rattling. While it's normal for the defrost heater to make hissing and popping sounds, excessive noise may be caused by loose or damaged mounts on the compressor.
  • Step 10: Determine whether your freezer is working at all. If you don't hear a fan or the motor's hum, make sure the freezer is plugged in and that electricity is getting to the outlet. Check for a blown fuse or circuit breaker and make sure the cord isn't damaged.

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