Kenmore Elite freezers offer safe and cold storage of your food items for extended periods. However, it’s possible for the appliance to stop working, leaving you with an undercooled or warm freezer compartment. So, why does that happen, and how do you fix it?
Your freezer isn’t working correctly because the condenser coils are likely dirty. Clean them thoroughly before troubleshooting anything else. The next likely issue is a failed evaporator fan that requires a replacement. A faulty temperature sensor will also cause the same problem, as would a malfunctioning defrost heater or temperature sensor. These parts must be replaced to get your freezer working again.
This guide will walk you through the different reasons your freezer isn’t working. You’ll learn what each part is supposed to do, how they fail, and what solutions you can use to fix them.
Why Is My Kenmore Elite Freezer Not Working?
When your Kenmore Elite freezer isn’t giving you the freezing temperatures you require, it’s likely because of one of these reasons:
Dirty Condenser Coils
Firstly, the most common reason for a warm freezer is dirty condenser coils.
The condenser coils are the external part of the freezer’s cooling system. After the refrigerant removes heat from inside the freezer compartment, it flows to the condenser coils, where that heat can be released to the surrounding environment.
Those condenser coils are paired with a fan that drives air through those coils. In doing so, the fan helps the coils release heat into the air more effectively, thereby cooling the freezer even further.
However, the constant airflow provided by that fan also causes dust particles to stick to the condenser coils. Over an extended period of months and years, those coils will develop a thick coat of dust that prevents heat from being released as efficiently as before.
As a result, your freezer’s cooling system recirculates warm coolant that raises the temperature of the freezer compartment.
The solution: Dirty condenser coils are the most common reason for freezers becoming too warm. Thankfully, they’re also incredibly easy for you to resolve.
Firstly, use a vacuum to remove as much of the loose dust on the evaporator coils as possible. Then, use a brush to gently remove any stubborn dust particles that remain stuck on the coils.
Connect with an Appliance Repair Tech
Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.
Doing that will restore the evaporator coils’ ability to release heat into the air, and that will make your freezer cold once more.
Be sure to repeat this process at least once a month to prevent new dust build-ups from forming on the evaporator coils in the future.
Evaporator Fan Failure
Another reason your freezer isn’t working is the evaporator fan has failed.
In the previous section, you read about the external condenser fan. Here, the issue is with the internal evaporator fan instead.
This fan blows air through the cold evaporator coils to drive cold air into the freezer compartment. On top of that, it also ensures the cold air spreads out evenly throughout the compartment, thereby preventing any hotspots.
When the evaporator fan functions correctly, the freezer’s compartment has no problems cooling down to your set temperature.
However, a failed evaporator fan will prevent that from happening. Despite how the appliance’s cooling system works correctly, the lack of airflow caused by the failed evaporator fan will prevent the unit from cooling down.
That fan can fail for one of two reasons: either the fan motor has burned out, or the fan blades have broken off.
The solution: Firstly, you’ll want to remove the evaporator cover at the back of the compartment to access the fan. That’s necessary so you can inspect and troubleshoot the fan blades and the motor up close.
Broken fan blades are straightforward to replace, as you only need to detach them from the motor and then attach new ones. However, replacing a burned-out fan motor is a bit more challenging.
Doing so requires you to disconnect the motor’s wire connections before detaching the fan motor.
Faulty Temperature Sensor
Once you rule out dirty condenser coils and failed evaporator fans, the next thing you’ll want to consider is a faulty temperature sensor.
The temperature sensor continuously measures how cold or warm it is inside your freezer compartment. Then, it communicates that information to the freezer’s control board which decides whether or not to continue cooling the freezer.
When the temperature sensor becomes faulty, however, it will not send the correct information to the freezer’s control board.
For instance, it’ll mistakenly sense that the freezer is already cold when it isn’t. As a result, the cooling system will never turn on, leaving your freezer warm on the inside.
The solution: Firstly, you must confirm that the temperature sensor is faulty. The most effective way to do that is by testing it for electrical continuity using a
A sensor that no longer works will not show any electrical continuity. That will be your prompt to replace the sensor with a brand-new one.
Defrost System Malfunction
Last but not least, the defrost system in your freezer might be suffering from a malfunction.
The freezer has a built-in defrost system that activates one or more times throughout the day. That’s done to melt away any frost or ice buildup and prevent frost-related problems.
When the defrost system is running, the refrigeration system pauses temporarily. In other words, the freezer stops cooling for a while, so the defrost system can do its job.
That system consists of two crucial components:
- The defrost heater – this component generates heat to melt away ice and frost inside your freezer, particularly around the evaporator.
- The defrost thermostat – this component measures how hot the defrost heater becomes. It ensures the heater is hot enough to melt the frost and ice but not hot enough to overheat.
Unfortunately, the defrost cycle can run without stopping if one or both of those components malfunctions.
As a result, the freezer’s cooling system will remain turned off. Simultaneously, the defrost heater will continue generating heat indefinitely.
Both of those things will cause your freezer to say warm inside, failing to freeze your food items and store them safely.
The solution: The defrost heater and defrost thermostat are parts that you can neither service nor repair. Instead, you must identify which one is the problem’s root cause and replace it immediately.
Remember to disconnect your freezer from its power source before attempting repairs or parts replacements. Doing so makes it safe to unplug the defrost heater and thermostat to test them with a
Once you’ve identified the failed one, you can order a compatible replacement and install it in your freezer.
A freezer that doesn’t work isn’t just a nuisance but can pose some serious health risks. That’s because frozen food items must always remain below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
If your Kenmore Elite freezer isn’t working, check for dirty condenser coils. Then, inspect the evaporator fan for damaged blades or a burned-out motor.
A faulty temperature sensor could also be why your freezer stays warm even when it shouldn’t. Lastly, check for a malfunctioning defrost system, whether that’s the defrost heater or thermostat. Replacing the affected components will restore cooling in your freezer so you can continue storing your food items safely.