When you get right down to it, your freezer really only has one job to do: freeze your food, and sometimes, that’s just too much to ask. But hey, it makes sense when you think about it. After all, maintaining freezing temperatures is a full-time job — one that demands a lot of power and several specialized components all working in harmony. Every hour of every day, every day of the week, your freezer is fighting the good fight to keep your food from thawing.

And eventually, it’s going to lose that fight.

Sooner or later, the general wear and tear that comes from constant use will take its toll on your freezer. And when that happens, it can also take its toll on your wallet, with the average cost to repair or replace a refrigerator/freezer generally running anywhere from $412 – $1,151. But before you lose your cool, there are some simple, cost effective solutions you might not have thought about.

Freezer not freezing? Here’s how to take care of the issue without dipping into your savings.

First Thing’s First: Check the Owner’s Manual

Before you start taking apart your freezer, take a look through its owner’s manual. Your owner’s manual may be able to provide you with solutions specific to your appliance’s brand, and will also give you details about the manufacturer’s warranty (which can save you a lot of trouble if your freezer is defective and qualifies for coverage). Of course, if you’ve had your freezer for more than just a few years or if it came used when you purchased your home, you might not have any idea where the owner’s manual is. If that’s the case, do a quick internet search — the owner’s manual may be available online.

Make Sure Your Freezer Is Getting Power

If your freezer isn’t working at all, there may be a problem with the power. You can check this by opening the freezer door and checking to see if the interior light turns on. If it doesn’t, your freezer may not be getting any electricity. Check to make sure that the freezer is plugged in securely to the wall outlet. If it is, check the cord itself for fraying (it’s easier and less expensive to replace a cord than to buy a new unit). If the cord looks fine, then check out your circuit breaker/fuse box — an electrical surge may have cut the power.

Freezer not Cold Enough? Check the Temperature Settings

Is the freezer cold but not freezing? The solution may be as simple as checking the temperature settings. Most freezers will have some sort of control (in the form of a dial, slider, or digital panel) that allows you to regulate how cold the freezer gets. So, if your freezer isn’t quite cold enough, adjust the settings and see if that solves the problem.

Now for the Coils

OK, if temperature controls are where they should be and your freezer still isn’t working properly, then you may have a problem with your coils. Freezer coils are an essential factor in maintaining low temperatures in your freezer, and when they have problems, your freezer has problems.

Take a look in your freezer. Is there a lot of frost build up along the sides of the compartment? If so, that froost could be choking the coils, which will keep air from circulating properly in your unit. This is something you can easily fix yourself, by defrosting your freezer. To do this, simply turn off the freezer, remove everything from the compartment, and wait for the ice to melt (you may want to keep a few towles around the base of the unit to catch any runoff).

If there isn’t a lot of frost build up, coils might still be the problem — dirty coils. To facilitate the cooling process, freezers pull in air through intakes. And sometimes, with that air comes dust, grime, and hair. This can choke the coils and keep them from working effectively.

Turn off your freezer and pull it out from the wall. At the back of the unit along the base, you should see the air intake that leads to the coils. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the coils (the soft brush attachment is especially effective, and less likely to damage the coils).

Air Circulation Problems

As previously mentioned, freezers need to be able to circulate air. And to do that, the freezer’s evaporator fan needs to be clear of obstructions.

The evaporator fan should be located in the compartment towards the back, and if your freezer is too full, or if there is something right up against the fan, then the air might not be able to circulate effectively. Rearrange your freezer items (or get rid of some of those items that have been gathering freezer burn) to free up space around the evaporator fan.

Time to Call an Expert?

There are a number of easy, DIY solutions to freezer problems, but sometimes you actually do need to deal with repairing or replacing components. If that’s the case, and if you feel up to the task, you can handle some of these repairs yourself. The most common components that may need to be replaced are:

  • Refrigerant lines
  • Evaporator fans
  • Freezer door seals
  • Compressors
  • Condenser fans
  • Water inlet valve

Sometimes, the only solution is to call in an expert. The good news is that with a reliable home warranty, you won’t have to pay out of pocket. A home warranty company will cover the cost of repairs or replacement of your freezer unit, along with labor expenses, and will even take care of finding a skilled repair expert in your area. Click here for more information about home warranties.

Keep Up with Freezer Maintenance

Your freezer only has one job, but it’s an important one. You can help ensure the job gets done by taking care of your freezer with regular maintenance. Here are some easy maintenance tips:

  • Clean out your freezer at least twice per year and and wipe down the walls and shelves. Clean out the grooves in the freezer door seals using a credit card wrapped in a clean, thin cloth.
  • Vacuum dust and grime out of your condenser coils at least once per year.
  • Completely defrost the freezer at least once per year.

With the right maintenance schedule, a working knowledge of DIY solutions, and home warranty coverage from Home Service Club, you can rest secure in the knowledge that your freezer has what it needs to get the job done.

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