Chasing an air leak in a feeezer


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Old 06-13-24, 01:53 PM
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Chasing an air leak in a feeezer

Kenmore bulit in 1992.
upright feeezer.
I was getting a lot of frost quickly after I defrosted it. Since the door seal was the original one, I replaced it with a manufacturer recommend one. Didn't stop the frost and I noticed it was only building up in one area. I assumed the seal wasn't seated all the way and I put the RTV sealant they recommended for the seal above and below the seal. Didn't stop the frost. Since the frost first starts building up on a seam inside the freezer, I thoght maybe it wasn't coming from the door seal but it was coming from a leak in the seam. I put te ETV sealant on the seam and it is still collecting frost.
is there a way to troubleshoot this and determine if air is coming in through the door seal or a seam inside or is the frost being caused by something else?
I have included photos.








first photo is the top of the freezer door. When closed ,this spot is under where the frost builds up.
2nd is the top of the freezer where the frost forms first.
3rd and 4th are the seam from photo 2 after I removed the frost. It shows the seam and the RTV sealant that I put on the seam.
5th is the model info.
6th is the top of freezer door from photo 1 ,with the frost removed.
thank you .

 
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Old 06-13-24, 02:45 PM
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Usually the air leaks I've seen are not between the seal and door, probably where you caulked. The leak is usually between the seal and fridge/freezer body. You can close a strip of paper in the door and it should be gripped pretty well by the magnetic seal. If it pulls out easily that area is not sealing.

One test I do in general is to open the door and let a big slug of warm air into the freezer. Then I close the door and wait 10-15 seconds. Then try opening the door again. If it's surprisingly hard to open the rapidly cooling air inside created a vacuum indicating that everything is sealed pretty well. If the door opens with normal resistance then there may be an air leak somewhere.

A thermal camera (FLIR) can be very handy to look for cold or hot spots. Ask around to see if any of your friends have one you can borrow or some tool rental stores have them. It is also handy to look for problems with your house's insulation and look for air leaks around doors and windows.
 
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Old 06-13-24, 04:23 PM
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Do you use the FLIR around the outside of the door , looking for cold air escaping?
 
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Old 06-13-24, 04:31 PM
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Hot air rises so the frost usually occurs at the top.

Typically RTV is of no help on the gasket.
Gaskets are usually at fault for the leak into the freezer.

As mentioned.... use a dollar bill to check for a tight fit.

If that's a deep freeze (no defrost) it needs to be closed as much as possible.

Never used a FLIR before. It may show a cold leak.
Since there is no fan or moving air there is nothing to force the cold out.
 
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Old 06-13-24, 08:10 PM
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I'm going to do the dollar bill test tomorrow.
I asked about the FLIR because I never used one, but I know they detect heat so I assume if you could fit inside a freezer with a FLIR, you would see warm air coming in, but I didn't understand how you would detect cold air coming out. I suppose if the room is warm it would show a colder spot where the air was leaking.
 
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Old 06-13-24, 08:15 PM
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And yes, it is a deep freeze.
it only gets open once a week, or less. Things I buy on sale with no intention of using right away go in there. I also keep ice in there in case I lose power. I have a small feeezer on my refrigerator for frozen things used regularly.
 
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Old 06-14-24, 04:42 AM
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Yes, a thermal camera sees heat. Looking around the perimeter of the door it is usually quite obvious where a problem is as it's either warmer or colder than the surrounding area.
 
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Old 06-14-24, 10:53 AM
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Tried the dollar bill test. The whole seal failed. I doubt that is my problem because frost is only building in one spot.
the frost accumulated in the same spots , after I wiped it off, just overnight. So I'm guessing it is a serious leak.
I duct tape the top of the door . I think that will block any air from entering through the seal. If the frost still forms in the same spots, I will try the FLIR. My local Homedepot rents one.
 
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Old 06-14-24, 11:24 AM
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The said the seal failed the dollar bill test all around, you don't need a FLIR. The seal is a problem.

Where frost forms has little to do with the location of the air leak. Warm, humid air is getting inside. Then that moisture is condensing on the coldest areas inside the freezer.
 
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Old 06-14-24, 01:46 PM
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Door gaskets on appliances are the hardest items to replace.
They never work as good as the originals.
 
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Old 06-15-24, 11:29 PM
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I assumed the frost would form first in an area closest to the leak.
are you telling me the leak could be anywhere and the frost just happenes to be forming at the top of the freezer?
as for the seal being hard to replace, I just learned that. I think you are supposed to throw the freezer out and buy a new one when the seal goes. First problem was the instructions said not to fold it in half and they shipped it folded in half. I laid it out on a floor for a week and it was still twisted. I went out and bought a heat gun just to mold it into shape.
is there anything I can try to get this to seal? I have the old seal, maybe if I stuck the magnets from the old seal on the new seal it will make the magnets stronger?
I thought about putting the old seal on the freezer so the new seal would contact it when the door closed. Two seals. One attached to the freezer and one attached to the door. But I think that would prevent the door from closing all the way. And I dont think the door is adjustable.
any suggestions?
 
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Old 06-24-24, 11:38 PM
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I tried duct taping all around the door to seal it. I tried ratcheting cargo straps to squeeze the door closed. I tried batts of home insulation duct taped around the seal. I tried removing the magnets from the old gasket and sticking them on th e freezer, so the new gasket touches them. I tried putting the magnets on top to make the new magnets stronger. Nothing is stopping the frost from forming in just 24 hours. I open it once every 24 hours and I wipe the frost off of one spot and the frost is back in just 24 hours. The rest of the freezer looks like it has not been defrosted in months. I do not understand why the duct tape or batts of insulation can't stop the leak.
is there anything else that can cause rapid frost build up? I saw somewhere they mentioned blocked air vents. Does any one know where these vents are? Do they mean vents inside the freezer or outside?
 
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Old 06-25-24, 01:26 PM
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You can't stop all the frosting.
Every time the door is opened you'll get more frosting.

I had an upright deep freeze.
Every year in the winter I would put all the frozen goods in coolers and then outside in the cold.
I would fully defrost and clean the unit.
 
 

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