The Most Common Freezer Problems

by Editor on May 14, 2013

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We will examine some common reasons that freezers fail, and suggest methods for fixing them.

1. Frozen Evaporator Problems

A commonly occurring problem with freezers is a evaporator coils that is frozen. When you go to examine the coil, see if there are any indications that outside air is getting into the freezer. Check to see if the freezer door closes properly and check to see if the gaskets on the door are in good shape. If they do not form a good seal, they will have to be replaced. See if there is a layer of frost on the roof  or floor of the unit  and check for icicles anywhere in the unit. These are all indications that outside air is getting into the freezer and repair process will involve making sure all seals are in good order.  You will have to melt the ice off of the coils in this scenario.

Next, you  should check the evaporator drain line and pan. In instances where the drain line is frozen, that is an indication that the pipe heater has malfunctioned, and it must be fixed. Try wiring the pipe heater so it is energized continuously. In cases where you have a frozen drain pan, examine the heater that is inside the an. If this heater has failed, you must repair or replace it.

After you have removed the ice from the coil, take a look at the evaporator fans. Be certain that they are running in the proper direction and the blades are intact.

2. Defrost Timer Problems

Another commonly occurring with freezers is a faulty defrost timer. Examine it and check to see that it is properly wired, then place it in manual defrost. Examine it to see if the circuit for defrost is energized. You can check it with an amp meter. If the freezer does not go into manual defrost, try to determine the reason and correct the problem.  You should examine the electrical contacts on the timer and its wiring. If the unit does go into defrost, then you should make sure the panels for the evaporator are open and check the current on each heater with an amp meter. Replace any that aren’t functioning.

The final step for examining defrost troubles is to place the timer close to the defrost time cycle, you  can set the defrost cycle time at 5 minutes. Check to see that the timer will go into defrost mode and then return to cooling five minutes later.

3. Compressor Cycling Problems

If the unit is not cooling, there could be a compressor problem. With the unit turned off check for any signs that there is a leak of refrigerant. You should also attach some pressure gauges. If you discover a leak or if the pressures are very low, it is likely that the freezer was cycling due to low pressure. Fixing the leak should resolve this problem.

In cases where the pressures are correct and you haven’t detected a leak, check the pressures with the unit running. If the pressures still look ok, then examine the pressure controls.  With the unit running and the compressor turns off, see which of the pressure controls is open. You may have to replace a pressure control in this case, and that should solve your problem.

The three problems above are the most common freezer problems. I am sure there are more possible issues for a machine. I hope this article can help you figure our the most common issues and try to fix it yourself before spending a lot of money calling for a service technician.

About the Author

Vince Bradley is a home appliance technician. He loves to write about home appliances. He works for ABCAuthorizedRepair in Studio City, CA.

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