Your chest freezer suddenly not working after a power outage can be a massive headache. If this has happened to you, what are the reasons behind it, and what can you do?
Your chest freezer isn’t working after a power outage because a surge has caused the fuse to blow. It could also be due to a burned-out fan motor part or damaged thermostat wires. In most cases, it’s best to replace the bad part instead of trying to repair it.
This article will discuss 3 reasons your chest freezer isn’t working after a power outage. I’ll also provide some helpful tips to help you keep your freezer (and its contents) safe during the next power outage. Keep on reading!
1. A Power Surge Has Blown the Fuse
It is not necessarily the electricity being cut that’s causing damage to your appliances. It is the electricity coming back. When the power returns after a power outage, it can sometimes cause a sudden surge in voltage, which can be so overwhelming for your chest freezer that certain parts break.
Thankfully, chest freezers have fuses. Standard fuses are made from a material that quickly melts whenever it is heated. Since electricity creates heat, when the fuse melts, electricity cannot pass through, which prevents your freezer from operating.
Some freezers have a time-delay fuse that can be more tolerant to surges. It accepts occasional surges but will still melt if the surge is strong. On the other hand, thermal fuses will fail when the surroundings reach certain temperatures.
You can check the maximum voltage load your freezer can handle in your user manual. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the power requirements, the standard running amps, and the starting amps. This is because when you start running appliances, the current tends to be greater.
For some General Electric chest freezers, for example, the running amp is around 2 amps while the starting amp is about 4 to 6. Whirlpool freezers have a higher running amp of around 3.5, while the starting amp can go as high as 10.5 amps.
Many of their models have 115 volts power requirements, but it’s different from power surges which can produce volts in the thousands.
How to Fix?
If you suspect your chest freezer’s fuse has blown, you’ll need to check it for signs of melting or burning. The fuse is typically located at the back of the freezer, and you’ll need to consult your user manual for the exact location as each brand varies.
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A blown fuse should be replaced. Thankfully, these parts are widely available and inexpensive.
2. A Fan Motor Component Has Burned Out
The fan motor is a crucial component of your chest freezer as it manages the cold air throughout the unit.
The process begins through the evaporating coils. These coils have refrigerant flowing through them which makes the air surrounding them cold. The fan motor sucks in the cold air and, in the process, removes heat from the air.
Some fan motor models are specially designed to circulate cold air throughout the freezer. Naturally, when the fan motor is broken, the temperature in the unit rises despite how well-functioning the coils are.
During a power surge, excessive heat is produced. Luckily, wires and motor components are equipped with insulating materials to resist the voltage and heat passing through them. However, a voltage in the thousands will damage the motor’s insulation.
What this produces is a short circuit, which burns out the motor.
However, undervoltage can also be a problem. For example, if your electric company cannot deliver stable voltage after a power outage, it will cause the motor to draw in higher electrical currents to compensate for the lack of voltage. This produces heat, too, and may burn out your motor similarly.
How to Fix?
To check if your fan motor is causing your chest freezer not to work, follow these steps:
- Check the fan motor’s blades to see if there’s an obstruction. Doing this is exceptionally tricky since the fan motor is concealed in many models.
- Unplug your freezer and consult your manual to determine the freezer parts you need to take out to reach the motor. Once you see it, check for dust or ice that may obstruct the blades.
- If there’s none, and it still doesn’t spin, use a
multimeterto check for electrical continuity. You will need to replace the motor if it reads that there’s no continuity.
3. The Thermostat Wires Are Damaged
The thermostat’s function is to ensure that temperatures in the freezer remain at normal and constant levels. When the temperature is too low, the thermostat stops signaling freezer components to create cold air.
Thermostats have a metal membrane that is connected to a wire, and the opposite end of this wire is connected to the freezer itself. Usually, the wires are made of copper, an excellent temperature conductor.
If the temperature is low, the pressure traveling through the wires is also low. When it detects high temperatures and pressure, the metal membrane pushes a switch that allows the thermostat to conduct electricity throughout the freezer. Basically, the wire allows the thermostat to signal the production of cold air.
Besides the thermostat, there are other reasons the freezer may reach extreme temperatures, which you can also check out.
Power surges can damage wire insulators. When these are damaged, the thermostat wire cannot communicate the pressure and temperature to the thermostat. When it detects zero pressure from the wires, it cannot signal the production of cold air, halting the freezing process.
How to Fix?
You will need to access your freezer’s inner components to check if the thermostat wires are damaged. To find out where they are, consult the user manual and check for signs of damage. If you notice damage, you’ll need to replace the wires, which is a simple and inexpensive task.
Storing Perishables in the Cold Without Power
If you’re experiencing a power outage or your chest freezer isn’t working, there are certain things you can do to safeguard the frozen contents:
- Use ice bags to keep your food frozen. Place bags of ice at the bottom of your freezer and layer your food on top of them. Place another layer of ice above it to keep it as cold as possible. If you have a
thermometeror another method of measuring temperature, place it in or near the freezer. This gives you an idea of how frequently you must change the ice packs.
- Avoid opening the freezer too often. I would also advise you not to open your freezer door too much. Heat gets into the chamber quickly and melts the ice.
- Store expensive or highly perishable items at the bottom of the freezer. Note that the bottom layer will always be the coldest part of the freezer or the makeshift freezer. Warm air rises while the denser cold air sinks. So if you have food that you want to save or think perishes quickly, place them at the bottom.
- Throw out rotten or thawed food. if you fail to place perishables in the freezer on time and they begin to emit a strong, rotten odor, throw them away. Do not try to salvage these by placing them in the freezer. You’ll only expose yourself to health risks.
Only allocate a couple of days or a week for this makeshift freezer. You should call a mechanic or have your freezer component replaced as soon as you can.