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Small freezer won't shut off

Posted by marknmt (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 15:14

We have one of those little 3.1 cu. ft. freezers and it freezes well but runs constantly- it literally will not shut off. The seals around the door are in good shape.

The large black metal "ball", which I take to be the evaporator, gets very hot to the touch. I quit using it because I felt it might be a fire risk.

It appears to me that it's not reading the temperature, or there is a sticky relay. Is this worth fixing? Is it worth a service call or could it be a DIY job? I'm reasonably capable and might tackle it if I knew what to look for.

I've considered a workaround involving an external switch in the power supply, but don't know if it's worth it.

Comments greatly appreciated.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Small freezer won't shut off

The black ball is is the compressor and too hot to touch isn't unexpected. Most small freezers are not frostless so if you fail to defrost and alow ice to coat inside coil that will cause what you described. The unit isn't desighned to operate at ambient temps above 85F or in strong sunlight without running non-stop. Air must have free path on all sides and top. Leave 6"+ on sides and 1'+ above top. Nothing stored on top.
There are a few things you can do before attempting repair or buying a new freezer. Not worth a servive call but you might get a discount by dropping at repair shop.
Set the t-stat to the warmest ( equates to 20f-25f ) and place a thermometer inside. If it doesn't cycle within 48 hours and temp is lower than 10f,problem is likly the t-stat. If it fails to cycle and temp is above 20f,do below tests.
Close door on a business card at a few places and it should slightly resist pulling out. If card pulls without resistance,the seal or door is misalighned or bent.
Let us know what you found after looking at these.

RE: Small freezer won't shut off

Thanks for your response. You clearly know what you are talking about.

The clearance was adequate, but barely, and the unit was in a shed where it was often above 85 F; the seal does not pass the business card test, although it looks good. I set the thermostat to "1" and "2" and the unit performed properly- the weather has cooled off and the shed is reasonable now.

It didn't have any ice build up. I had just acquired it and cleaned it thoroughly. Now it appears I need a new door seal.

I thank you very much for the help. I think you have solved my problem.

RE: Small freezer won't shut off

That's good to hear.
If the seal looks good and is flexiable,I would suggest you work with it before replaceing it. More accuratly,I'm saying that replacement of a seal can often be more probmatic than it might appear. Clean the seal and surface it contacts then repeat the card test. The resistance is subtal but any at all shows contact. Another indication of a well sealing door is that it is noticably more difficult to open if you open the door for 2 secounds , reclose for 5 secounds and open again. It is quite common to add a means of lightly pulling the door closed on dorm/bar
style units for better contact. I've seen bungee cords and elastic bands with self stick velcro pads used.
One must realize these little guys aren't built to the same standards as thier larger counterparts. That's obivous from the price they sell for.

RE: Small freezer won't shut off

I've played with the notion of "repairing" old seals with a small bead of silicone caulk: apply the caulk, cover with very thin plastic film such as glad wrap, and close the door. Come back in two days. Think it might work?

I take your point about the price and standards of construction (although this little Whirlpool doesn't seem all that bad, to tell the truth). But yeah; there comes a point where you might as well buy a good one!

Thanks again.

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