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Freezer Thawing Out

I went to get something out of the freezer today and discovered all the meat inside and everything else had thawed. The fan is running, the sides are warm there is frost in the bottom on the back wall but the top is warm. The temp warning light is on. It appears that when the door is shut the vacuum seal is working but before it was a very definate noise. Now it seems to be barley sealing. I did notice some bugs inside (one was still alive) when I was cleaning out the thawed food. It looks like they flew in attracted by the light. This makes me think the door was left opened. Not sure how long it has been but the last time someone was in it was two days ago.

If the door was left ajar could this have overheated the compressor and caused a freon leak? Just wondering what my next step is. We salvaged all the meat we could but the rest went into the garbage...

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  • Jim Nelson
    Jim Nelson Jun 19, 2008

    This is a Frigidaire 20.3 cu ft Upright Freezer Model FFU20F9GW1. The serial number is WB81629905 and it was manufactured in 4/98.

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2014

    the red light is on but it is not beeping as it would if the door was open it is just a constant red light and the items inside appear to be thawing

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This will not cause a freon leak and it is possible that the door was left open, but to be certain that you don't have a defrost issue, follow the guide below to diagnose any problems. Also the warm walls are normal during compressor run times.
Below is a link that will help you with parts and diagnostic procedures that are specifically tuned to your manufacturers data plate information.
http://www.repairclinic.com/0047_3.asp
If your freezer cools but doesn't get cold enough, it may have a problem in one of several areas. To better understand the proper operation of a freezer, read about freezers in the How Things Work section of our website.

In a self-defrosting freezer, poor cooling often results from a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils. You can't see these coils without removing a panel inside your freezer. But if you see any frost or ice build-up on the inside walls, ceiling, or floor of your freezer, it's a sure sign of frost build-up. And that's a sign of a problem with the self-defrosting system.

Freezers should self-defrost three to four times in 24 hours. But if a component in the self-defrosting system fails, the freezer continues to try to cool, instead. Eventually, so much frost builds up on the evaporator coils that the circulating fan can't draw air over the coils. There's still some cooling because the coils are frozen. But with no air flow over the coils, the cooling is quite limited and the freezer isn't as cold as it needs to be.

An easy (though often inconvenient) test of whether the problem is with the self-defrosting system is to remove all of the perishable food from the freezer, turn the thermostat to Off, and leave the door open for 24 to 48 hours. (Keep several towels handy in case the melting frost and ice overflows the drip pan). This "manually" defrosts the freezer. When the frost and ice build-up has completely melted away, turn the thermostat back to a normal setting. If the freezer then cools properly, it indicates a problem with one of these components in the self-defrosting system:

  • The defrost timer. To test this, manually advance to the defrost cycle. The unit should advance itself out of the defrost cycle in about 45 minutes.

  • The defrost thermostat (or bi-metal switch). This thermostat allows current to pass through it at temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and prevents current from passing through it at 40 to 60 degrees (depending on its design). This is difficult to test, though, because it takes a prolonged, very-cold temperature to turn it on.

  • The defrost heater. You can test this for continuity using an electrical meter.
If my assistance helped resolve this issue, please show your appreciation by rating how effective my advice was in resolving this issue.
Thank you,
Dave E. (Illeagle)

"Your satisfaction is my personal reward"


Posted on Jun 20, 2008

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