There’s a sale in the frozen food department and you bring home 10 gallons of ice cream, only to find out your chest freezer not freezing. What could be the cause and how do you fix it?
You depend on your chest freezer to stock up on food, so you don’t need to go to the store often. When they stop working properly, you run the risk of your food spoiling or accidentally eating food that has gone bad after thawing and refreezing.
Your chest freezer may have stopped freezing because its evaporator fan is blocked or malfunctioning, the door seals have worn out and are letting cold air escape, or the start relay has stopped working correctly. To troubleshoot, clean the evaporator fan and door seals, and reset the start delay.
You can avoid spending money on expensive repair services and stop wasting frozen food items if you know how to troubleshoot these issues and fix them on your own. This article will explain why your chest freezer has stopped freezing and teach you how to resolve the problem.
1. Your Chest Freezer’s Evaporator Fan Is Blocked or Broken
When you load up your chest freezer with bags of fruits, vegetables, and meat, its integral components, such as the evaporator fan, may become blocked and stop working. It’s easy to miss because it’s located behind an access panel, but you should check the fan first to see if it’s broken.
Signs That Your Chest Freezer’s Fan Has Stopped Working
Aside from the freezer not freezing, here are other signs that may point toward a blocked or faulty freezer fan:
- You hear buzzing or humming noises that don’t stop when the compressor clicks off.
- The compressor clicks on and then immediately shuts back off.
- The fan doesn’t turn on, or you never hear it working.
The evaporator fan is a crucial part of your freezer because it is responsible for circulating cold air. If you notice any of the issues mentioned on top of the chest freezer not working properly, it may be necessary to perform a test on the evaporator fan.
How To Test a Chest Freezer’s Evaporator Fan
You’ll need access to the fan’s motor to test the freezer’s fan. Here’s a video explaining how to replace the fan with instructions on removing the motor’s cover for easy access:
Start by unplugging the freezer, but since some freezers are designed to stay on even after you unplug them, be sure to turn it off entirely via the control panel. Once you’ve turned it off and removed the fan motor, follow the steps below:
- Check the fan and motor for frost. The evaporator fan may stop working due to frost, so you should let any that you see melt before turning your freezer back on after a day or two.
- Clear anything blocking the fan motors. Be sure to clear out any food items that may have been blocking the fan, and check the fan blades for debris, stray plastic, or food that has gotten stuck.
- Test the motor. This step requires a
multimeter, so if you don’t already own one, you can purchase this Digital MultimeterPocket Clamp from Amazon.com. It’s easy to use, which makes it perfect for beginners.
- Reassemble the motor and plug the freezer back in. Put the motor and cover back on, and turn on the freezer by using the control panel and plugging the cord back into the wall outlet.
If cleaning and thawing the freezer’s fan does not fix the issue, you may need to do further work on the freezer’s evaporator fan. My article on how to fix evaporator fans will give you more tips on testing and repairing the problem.
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2. The Door Seals on Your Chest Freezer Have Worn Out
The seals or gaskets, which are the plastic borders around the freezer door, keep the inside of your freezer and its contents at the proper temperature, but they may gradually wear out.
How To Test the Door Seals on a Chest Freezer?
Inspect your freezer’s contents and ensure the door has enough room to close and properly seal. Piling too much food inside a chest freezer may block the door and prevent it from closing, eventually causing your freezer to warm up and your food to thaw.
You can also test the seals with a dollar bill, but a piece of regular printer paper works just fine. Here’s how to do the dollar bill test on your chest freezer:
- Open the chest freezer door.
- Place the dollar bill or piece of paper so that it will be stuck in the door when you close it.
- Make sure some of the paper is still sticking out, so you can hold onto it.
- Close the chest freezer door.
- Pull on the dollar bill or piece of paper.
If the paper easily slides out of the door once it’s closed, you’ll know that the seals are worn out. When the door gaskets are functioning properly, the paper or dollar bill should be stuck in the door.
How To Fix Broken Freezer Door Seals?
To fix non-functioning chest freezer door seals, clean them thoroughly. Bits of food, dust, debris, or even plastic that has fallen off of the packaging of your food items are all things that can keep the door from sealing, thus, allowing cold air to escape.
If the gaskets are clean and still not sealing correctly, consider replacing them. Here’s a helpful video explaining how to replace freezer door seals step-by-step:
3. Your Chest Freezer’s Start Relay Is Not Functioning
The start relay or overload relay is the component of your freezer that tells the compressor to switch on and off. If you notice that your compressor clicks on but does not start, testing or replacing the relay can fix that problem and restore the freezer’s ability to freeze your food.
How To Troubleshoot a Broken Start Relay?
To troubleshoot, start by resetting the start relay to see if that takes care of the problem. You can reset your compressor’s start relay by following the steps below:
- Unplug the freezer and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Turn off the freezer completely by using the control panel.
- Plug the freezer back in.
- Manually reset the temperature controls back to the recommended temperature.
- Allow the freezer time to stabilize.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to access the relay itself and remove it. The video below will show you how to remove the start relay and replace it with a new one if needed:
You’ll know that you need to replace your chest freezer’s start relay if it rattles when you shake it.
Conclusion (chest freezer not freezing)
If your chest freezer has stopped freezing, you should do the following:
- Test and clean your freezer’s evaporator fan, and never block the fan’s motor with food.
- Test and clean your freezer’s door seals and perform the dollar bill test.
- Reset and test your chest freezer’s start relay to ensure it is functional.
Troubleshooting your freezer will save you money on repair companies’ expensive diagnostic tests. Even if you can’t fix the problem yourself, knowing what has caused your freezer to stop freezing will make a professional repair job easier, faster, and maybe even cheaper.