The front edges of the the freezer compartment (where the door seals meet) are very hot to the touch to the point that some heat is transferred to the outside of the freezer door. The rest of the outside of the panels are normal. Nothing else abnormal in its operation. Is this a concern?
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Re: Hot panel edges
Test the element with a VOM set to the RX1 scale. To gain access to the heating element, remove the compartment's wall panels. Clip one probe of the VOM to each element terminal. The meter should read between 5 and 20 ohms. If it doesn't, the heating element is faulty and should be replaced. Replace the heater with a new one of the same type and electrical rating. Connect the new heater the same way the old one was connected.
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on front panel around the door where the door seal goes up against is this what is hot check the compressor fan in the back of the machine when it doesnt run or is unoperational then the sides around the door get hot you might have to replace the compressor fan
No, there is a heater in the seal of the doors to keep the doors from icing up, if it is hot to the touch then the heaters are going bad and must be replaced. You can replace it yourself by removing the door seals, and then removing the heating element that runs the whole door. When you do this make sure that the unit is unplugged.
Since it is likely that your fridge is less than 20+ years old, it has become standard to design modern fridges with built-in door edge warmers to keep condensation (moisture) from forming on the exterior at the door edges along the main cabinet.
Since doors get opened frequently and the difference between the cool, dry air of the fridge and the room air can cause condensation to form quite often, the manufacturers install heating elements along the door edges in both the freezer and fridge compartments to help keep the condensation from forming.
Some makers (GE was the 1st) installed "energy saver" switches inside some of their fridges. The reason was not every area required the door edge heating elements to be on constantly, so by turning the "energy saver" switch "ON" it would turn these small heaters "off", thus saving some energy. With the "energy saver" switch "OFF, you would turn "on" the heaters and help prevent condensation from forming.
To get an idea of this, think of your toilet tank and how it "sweats" in the hot, humid summer months, as the water is colder than the air in the room, thus condensation forms on the exterior of the tank, as the difference in the temperature of the surrounding air and the water in the tank meet.
What you are noticing is normal and is no cause for alarm. Today's fridges no longer employ "energy saver" switches, as the heating element and technology has improved to the point that the energy consumption is minimal for the connivance of not having excessive condensation on the exterior of the fridge!
When the compressor is running, two fans should be running. One inside the freezer compartment that moves air over the evaporator coils. The other is under/behind the fridge that cools the condenser coils.
If the fan on the condenser coil (the one under/behind the fridge) stops working, the system cannot dissipate the heat from those coils, and thus cannot sufficiently cool the inside of either the freezer nor fresh food compartment.
On mine, when the condenser fan failed, I noticed right away. The front face of the wall separating the compartments became very hot. Extremely hot.
Apparently the refrigeration system is designed so that waste heat keeps condensation from forming where the magnetic gaskets on the door need to seal. When the condenser fan failed, there was too much waste heat (because no heat was being dissipated from the condenser coils by the fan), thus making that gasket-sealing area very hot.
If it is your condenser coil fan, you can relieve the problem temporarily by removing the bottom back panel from the fridge and aiming a box fan (a regular room or window fan) at the condenser coils. This will circulate air over the coils, thus removing heat from the coils.
I am not going to say the problem is normal. Normal operation those strips are placed behind the metal and inside the walls around the door seals to prevent moisture or sweating around the doors. They are usually noticed to become hot when there is a change in the control boards operation. Some brands have the hot gas from the condenser circulating around the doors. If your model has an economy switch, switch it on. I would look for any abnormal operation of the refrigerator like compressor or condenser fan stopping or ice buildup or abnormal temperatures in the fresh food compartment. If this continues I would unplug the refrigerator and open the control panel inside the fresh food section and examine both sides of the control board for signs of heat or burn marks on both sides. May not be anything to be concerned about also because this may be the first time you noticed this. But it should not be too hot to touch. Sea Breeze
There is no problem at all. The outside of the freezer is hot because it is rejecting heat from the inside of freezer compartment to the outside surroundings, this is a normal refrigeration cycle. As for the seals being hot, this may be to prevent the door from freezing shut. i know that commercial and industrial freezers have heated seals for this reason.