Short answer: If your KitchenAid freezer is not freezing, check the thermostat settings, ensure proper air circulation, and inspect the door seals for leaks.
KitchenAid is renowned for its high-quality kitchen appliances, but like all machines, they can occasionally encounter problems. One of the more perplexing issues that homeowners might face is their KitchenAid freezer not freezing as expected. This can disrupt food preservation, increase energy consumption, and lead to potential financial losses. Understanding the root causes and potential solutions to this problem is essential for efficient appliance management and to ensure the longevity of your device.
Why Is Your Kitchenaid Freezer Not Working?
Cooling Function is Turned Off:
Sometimes, the freezer may be unintentionally turned off or set to a warmer setting. Always ensure that the cooling function is activated and set to the desired temperature.
Frequent Door Opening:
Every time the freezer door is opened, warmer air enters, making the compressor work harder to maintain the temperature. Continuous or frequent opening can lead to inefficiencies in freezing.
Refrigerator Recently Installed:
If your appliance was recently installed, it might take up to 24 hours for it to reach the optimal freezing temperature. It’s best to give it some time before loading it with food items.
More Food Items Are Added:
Adding a large amount of unfrozen food at once can raise the temperature inside the freezer, requiring more time to freeze everything thoroughly.
The Condenser Coils Are Clogged:
Dust and debris can accumulate on the condenser coils, reducing their efficiency in dissipating heat. Regular cleaning can help maintain optimal performance.
The Condenser Fan is Not Working:
This fan helps in cooling the condenser coils. If it’s malfunctioning, the coils won’t efficiently dissipate heat, affecting the freezing process.
The Evaporator Fan is Not Working:
This fan circulates cold air within the freezer. If it fails, the cold air won’t be distributed evenly, causing warm spots.
The Starter Relay is Broken:
This component helps to start the compressor. A faulty relay means the compressor won’t start, and thus the freezing process is halted.
Check Temperature Control Thermostat:
If this is malfunctioning, it won’t send power to the compressor, fans, and other parts, leading to ineffective cooling.
An issue in Start Capacitor:
The start capacitor provides a power boost to the compressor at startup. A faulty capacitor can prevent the compressor from starting.
The Thermistor Has Failed:
The thermistor measures the freezer’s temperature and sends the reading to the control board. If it’s faulty, it may not signal the compressor to turn on or off as needed.
Burn Out Compressor:
The compressor is the heart of the freezer. If it’s burned out, the unit won’t freeze. You’ll often hear a humming noise if this is the issue.
Heat Source Near the Fridge:
Placing the freezer near ovens, stoves, or in direct sunlight can make it harder for the unit to maintain a cold temperature.
How To Fix A KitchenAid Freezer Not Freezing?
Unclog the condenser coil:
Unclogging and cleaning the condenser coils in a KitchenAid freezer can help improve its efficiency and prolong its life. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Step 1: Disconnect Power: Before starting, unplug the freezer or refrigerator to ensure your safety.
Step 2:Locate the Condenser Coils: In many refrigerators and freezers, the condenser coils are found at the back or underneath the unit. KitchenAid models often have them at the bottom, but refer to your manual to be certain.
Step 3: Remove the Base Grille (if coils are at the bottom): If the coils are underneath the unit, you’ll likely have to remove the base grille or kickplate. This typically snaps out with a gentle pull.
Step 4: Vacuum the Coils: Using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, gently vacuum the coils to remove any dust, pet hair, or debris. This is the most straightforward method to clean and unclog them.
Step 5: Brush the Coils: For stubborn debris, use a coil brush or a soft-bristle paintbrush. Gently brush the coils, following their direction to avoid damaging them. This can help dislodge dirt that the vacuum couldn’t remove.
Step 6: Inspect for Clogs: Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the entire surface of the coils. Sometimes, clogs might not be immediately visible, so inspect closely.
Step 7: Clean Up: Vacuum or sweep up any debris that has fallen during the cleaning process.
Step 8: Replace the Base Grille: If you removed the grille, snap it back into place.
Step 9: Reconnect Power: Once you’re certain everything is dry and back in place, plug the freezer or refrigerator back into the electrical outlet.
Step 10: Monitor the Freezer: After cleaning, monitor the freezer’s performance to ensure it’s cooling effectively. If you notice no improvement, there might be other underlying issues.
Replace the condenser:
If your KitchenAid freezer isn’t freezing, and you’ve identified that the condenser fan is the issue, replacing it is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a guide to help you replace the condenser fan:
Step 1: Safety First: Unplug your freezer or refrigerator from the electrical outlet to ensure your safety while working.
Step 2: Access the Back Panel: Most KitchenAid freezers have a back panel that can be removed with a screwdriver. This panel covers and protects the condenser fan and other components.
Step 3: Locate the Condenser Fan: Once the back panel is removed, you should see the condenser fan near the bottom, situated next to the condenser coils.
Step 4: Inspect the Fan: Before replacing, check if there’s any debris or obstruction that might be causing the fan to malfunction. Sometimes, cleaning it might resolve the issue.
Step 5: Disconnect the Fan: The fan will be connected to the freezer via a series of wires. Carefully disconnect these wires. There might also be a mounting bracket or screws holding the fan in place. Remove these as well.
Step 6: Remove the Old Fan: Once all screws and wires are disconnected, you can pull the fan out of its position.
Step 7: Install the New Fan: Place the new fan in the position where the old fan was. Ensure that it sits properly and securely.
Step 8: Reconnect the Fan: Connect the wires to the new fan in the same manner they were connected to the old fan. If the fan comes with a new mounting bracket, use that to secure the fan. Otherwise, use the old bracket or screws.
Step 9: Test the New Fan: Before putting everything back together, plug the freezer in and ensure that the new fan operates smoothly. Listen for any unusual sounds and make sure it’s running at the proper speed.
Step 10: Reattach the Back Panel: Once you’re sure the new fan is working correctly, unplug the freezer again and reattach the back panel, securing it with its screws.
Step 11: Plug In and Monitor: Reconnect the freezer to the power source and monitor its performance over the next 24 hours to ensure it’s freezing properly.
Replace the start relay:
Step 1:Locate the Start Relay: The start relay is typically located at the rear of the freezer, attached to the side of the compressor. Access the back of the freezer by pulling it away from the wall and removing the back panel, if necessary.
Step 2:Identify the Relay: The relay is generally a small, box-like component plugged into the side of the compressor. Next to it, you might find the overload protector.
Step 3:Remove the Old Relay:
- Carefully disconnect the relay from the compressor by gently pulling it off. Sometimes they can be snug, so wiggle them slightly if needed.
- Detach any wires connected to the relay, taking note of where each wire connects. It might help to take a photo before disconnecting for reference.
Step 4: Install the New Start Relay:
- Plug the new start relay into the compressor. Ensure it’s firmly in place.
- Attach the wires to the new relay, referencing your photo or notes to ensure they’re connected correctly.
Step 5:Reassemble the Freezer:
- Replace the back panel, if you have removed it.
- Push the freezer back into its usual position.
Step 6:Test the Freezer:
- Plug the freezer back into the electrical outlet.
- Listen to the sound of the compressor. If the relay was the issue, the compressor should now start up normally.
- Monitor the temperature inside the freezer over the next few hours to ensure it’s cooling properly.
Install a New Temperature Control Thermostat:
The temperature control thermostat regulates the electrical current that flows to the compressor and evaporator fan. If faulty, it can’t maintain proper temperature settings. Access the thermostat usually located inside the freezer or fridge compartment, disconnect it, and replace it with a compatible new one.
Replace the Start Capacitor:
The start capacitor helps the compressor to start up. A faulty capacitor means the compressor can’t start, causing the freezer to malfunction. Located next to the start relay and compressor at the back, the start capacitor can be replaced by first disconnecting the power, unplugging the old capacitor, and plugging in a new one.
Replace the Compressor if Needed:
The compressor is essentially the heart of your freezer; it circulates refrigerant to cool the interior. A faulty compressor means no cooling. This is a complex and often expensive repair best left to professionals. The old compressor will need to be disconnected and removed, and the new one installed.
Replace the Main Control Board:
The main control board regulates the overall operations of the freezer, including temperature control and defrost cycles. Although rare, a faulty board can cause cooling issues. The control board is usually located at the back. After unplugging the unit, remove the old control board and install a new one. Make sure to reconnect all the wiring correctly.
Check Refrigerator and Freezer Doors:
Improper sealing of the doors can let warm air in, causing the freezer to work harder and possibly fail to freeze properly. Examine the gaskets for wear and tear and replace them if needed. Make sure the doors align properly and are not obstructed by food items or containers.
Each of these solutions involves its own set of challenges and it’s important to consult your KitchenAid freezer’s manual for specific instructions and safety warnings. When in doubt, or for complex repairs like replacing the compressor or control board, it’s always best to consult with a professional appliance technician.
How often should I defrost my KitchenAid freezer?
Most modern KitchenAid freezers are self-defrosting. However, if you have a manual defrost model, it’s recommended to defrost it once a year or whenever the frost buildup exceeds 1/4 inch.
Is it normal for my KitchenAid freezer to cycle on and off?
Yes, it’s normal. Freezers maintain their temperature by cycling on and off. If you feel it’s cycling too often, check for proper ventilation or issues like a faulty thermostat.
Will keeping my KitchenAid freezer full help maintain its temperature better?
Yes, a fuller freezer retains cold better than an empty one. In case of a power outage, a full freezer can also keep food frozen longer.
Why is there a puddle of water under my KitchenAid freezer?
Can I use an extension cord for my KitchenAid freezer?
It’s recommended to plug the freezer directly into a wall outlet. If you must use an extension, ensure it’s appropriately rated for the appliance’s power needs.
My KitchenAid freezer is noisy. Is this normal?
Some noise is expected as fans and compressors operate. However, loud or unusual noises might indicate a problem, such as a malfunctioning fan or a loose part.
When a KitchenAid freezer is not freezing, several factors could be at play. The root cause may range from faulty components, such as the compressor, evaporator fan, or thermostat, to more straightforward issues like a clogged vent, overfilled freezer, or a door that’s not sealing properly. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the condenser coils and ensuring proper air circulation, is crucial for optimal performance. For homeowners, it’s imperative to diagnose the problem as soon as it arises and, if unable to resolve it through basic troubleshooting, seek professional assistance. Neglecting the issue not only jeopardizes the longevity of the appliance but also the safety of the food stored within it.