How to Repair a Chest Freezer that Doesn't Cool

A chest freezer
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 80
What You'll Need
Meat thermometer
Replacement thermostat
Vacuum cleaner
Newspaper or drop cloth

If your chest freezer isn’t cooling food as it should, you will need to undertake immediate repairs to ensure that food doesn’t spoil. Following a few steps will enable you to undertake an effective repair.

Browse chest freezers on Amazon

Step 1 - Inspection

Begin the process of repairing a chest freezer that fails to cool food properly by examining the freezer to determine the cause. There is a range of potential causes for the temperature being incorrect and you may be able to find it simply by looking hard enough.

Step 2 - Check the Thermostat

The first step you should take for a freezer that's not cold enough is to check the thermostat. Whether it has been knocked out of place or is faulty, it can often be the cause of temperature problems that affect your freezer. If it is in an inappropriate temperature setting, return it to the correct level and leave the freezer for an hour to determine whether this corrects the problem. Alternatively, the thermostat may be defective and will need to be replaced. It is usually located behind the temperature control dial and will require the use of a screwdriver to remove the cover after the Freezer has been unplugged. You may need to use a flashlight and remove the temperature dial to enable you to get proper access. Removing this will expose two wires which must be connected to a replacement thermostat.

Find thermostat replacements on Amazon

Step 3 - Defrost

If your chest freezer has an exposed coil rather than one which is hidden beyond a panel, you may notice that frost builds upon it. It is possible for the build-up of ice to become significant enough to prevent the freezer from cooling properly. Even if you are unable to see the coils, if you find that the space for food is gradually diminishing because of ice build-up, you know you have a problem. Rectify this by clearing out all the items from the freezer and switch off the power supply to defrost it. Put down a drop cloth or newspapers and leave the door open as the defrosting occurs to prevent water dripping onto the floor.

Step 4 - Check the Self-defrost

If you have a chest freezer that has a self-defrost system, you may find that a build-up of ice can still occur because the system has failed. To test this, follow the above defrost process to determine whether the temperature returns to normal. If the same problem arises, check your instruction manual to find out whether it is possible to manually reset the defrost timer so that the freezer knows the correct intervals for cooling and defrosting.

Step 5 - Check the Compressor

The compressor can be found at the rear of the chest freezer and, along with the condenser fan, helps to keep the freezer cool. If these become dirty or dusty, it can compromise their ability to do keep the freezer cool enough. Prevent this by cleaning the components with a vacuum cleaner or a cloth after pulling out the plug from the receptacle.

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commissions at no cost to you.