How Can You Tell if Your Freezer Is Broken?

Most of us take our appliances for granted. We expect them to work, and often we don’t notice that something is wrong until it’s been wrong for a while. This puts both our food and our wallets at risk, since energy bills are bound to spike as our appliances work harder to keep up.

When your freezer isn’t working properly, some of the signs will be similar to that of a fridge on the fritz.

Is Something Wrong with My Freezer?

Perhaps you have a hunch that something is wrong with your appliance, but you feel you need more evidence before seeking professional help. Give your freezer a pop quiz with this freezer hack!

  • Step 1: Fill a bowl with water and place it in your freezer.
  • Step 2: When the water has frozen solid, set a small object on top of it. This can be a coin, pencil, spoon, etc.
  • Step 3: Check in on your experiment over the course of a week or more.

If your freezer is functioning properly, the object will remain exactly where you left it – at the top. However, if your freezer is intermittently defrosting, the item will sink down, then get refrozen.

If this continues, the item will eventually become encased in ice, or even end up at the bottom of the bowl. If this happens, you know without a doubt that your freezer needs to be repaired or possibly replaced.

A malfunctioning freezer is more than just a minor annoyance; it can quickly become an issue of food safety.

Let’s explore some other signs that your freezer has lost its cool (causing you to lose yours as well).

Freezer Isn’t Freezing

One of the first signs you may notice is that your frozen foods aren’t quite as cold as they ought to be.  The standard temperature for a freezer is between 0ºF and 5ºF. Check your freezer’s thermostat to see if it got shifted accidentally.

Another thing to check is whether or not your freezer is filled at the optimal capacity. If a freezer is stuffed with too many items, the air circulation will be hindered. On the other hand, the opposite is also true; too few items will force your unit to work harder to cool the space again each time the door is opened. It’s best to keep your freezer 70% – 80% full.

If your freezer meets the above criteria and is still not freezing your items properly, it could be an issue with one of the following items:

  • The evaporator fan motor could be malfunctioning.  It’s in charge of circulating the air throughout the freezer. If this is not working, it needs to be fixed ASAP, as the freezer cannot cool itself without it. In most appliances, the fan will not run when the door is open. To check to see if it’s working, manually click the door switch (the one that signals to the freezer system that the door is shut). If you don’t hear it running, it will need to be replaced.
  • The condenser coils could be dirty. These coils dissipate heat within the freezer. They should be cleaned every 6-12 months if they’re on the outside of the freezer (rather than within the freezer walls). If the coils are dirty, they won’t be able to effectively dissipate heat within the appliance.
  • The start relay could be broken. It gives power to the compressor, and if it’s not working correctly, it may run intermittently or not at all. Without the compressor, the freezer cannot cool itself.

Freezer Has Ice Buildup

Your freezer should not resemble a frosty winter wonderland. If it does, this is a sign that something needs to be repaired or replaced.

  • If the frost is primarily in the door area, it’s likely that the door was left ajar. Inspect your appliance to ensure that none of your items are blocking the door seals.
  • If the frost is light, snowy, and all over the freezer, the temperature is likely set too cold. When it’s set too low, the appliance cools too quickly, and the moisture doesn’t have a chance to dissipate before turning into snowflakes.
  • A clogged drain could also be to blame. To unclog it, pour hot water through the hole until the water falls through onto a drain pan below.
  • If the frost is in the back of the freezer near the evaporator coil, the defrost cycle may be the underlying issue.

Freezer Is Leaking Water

If you notice water on the floor near your freezer, your first question should be, “did I spill something?” If you’re lucky, an ice cube fell and melted, nothing more.

However, if this is a common occurrence and your freezer is showing other signs of distress as well, it is likely an issue with your defrost drain.

Depending on your personal skill set, schedule, and the severity of the problem, you might be able to resolve some of these appliance issues on your own. However, if you’d rather leave it to the professionals, consider reaching out to a trustworthy appliance repair company to help you.

We Can Help

At Abbey Appliance, we understand the inconveniences of broken machinery, which is why we offer Same Day Service. We’ve been repairing appliances since 1977, and we’re ready to help you. Call us today!