Owning a refrigerator with a freezer allows you to store perishable foods safely for longer periods of time. However, when that freezer stops freezing properly, it can lead to spoiled food and frustration. If you have a Kenmore freezer that is not keeping foods frozen, there are several issues that could be causing the problem. With some troubleshooting and repair, you can likely get your Kenmore freezer back to working order.
Common Causes of a Kenmore Freezer Not Freezing
There are a number of reasons why your Kenmore freezer may not be freezing items properly. Here are some of the most common culprits:
The thermostat controls the temperature inside the freezer. If it is not working properly, the freezer will have difficulty reaching and maintaining freezing temperatures. A faulty thermostat should be replaced.
Refrigerant is the substance that allows the freezer to get cold. If there is a leak in the refrigerant line, not enough refrigerant can circulate through the system and the freezer will not freeze. Identifying and sealing leaks is crucial.
The compressor pumps refrigerant through the system. If it is broken or failing, the freezer will not have adequate refrigerant flow to maintain cold temperatures. Replacing a faulty compressor may be required.
Clogged Air Vents
Air vents allow cold air to circulate within the freezer. If they become blocked with ice or debris, airflow will be restricted and food may not freeze properly. Clearing obstructions from the vents can restore proper air circulation.
Condenser Fan Failure
The condenser fan blows air over the condenser coils to dissipate heat. If the fan motor burns out, heat will build up and freeze the freezer. The condenser fan may need to be repaired or replaced.
Evaporator Coil Problems
The evaporator coils get cold and remove heat from the freezer’s air. Issues like corrosion or damage to these coils can lead to insufficient cooling. Professional repair of evaporator coils may be needed.
Defrost System Malfunction
Auto-defrost freezers rely on a defrost system to periodically melt frost on coils. If this system breaks, excessive frost will accumulate and reduce freezing capabilities. You may need a defrost timer or heater replacement.
Steps to Diagnose the Issue with a Kenmore Freezer
When your Kenmore freezer is not freezing food properly, use the following general troubleshooting steps to identify the cause:
1. Check the Temperature
Use a thermometer to check the actual temperature inside the freezer. It should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Consistently higher temperatures indicate an underlying malfunction.
2. Inspect the Door Seal
A damaged door seal can allow cold air to escape from the freezer. Inspect the seal for cracks or deformities and make sure the door is closing properly. Fix or replace the seal if needed.
3. Examine the Compressor
Listen and feel for the compressor motor operating. If it is not running, the issue may be a faulty compressor, thermostat, or blown fuse disabling the compressor. Call a technician if needed.
4. Look for Frost Buildup
Heavy frost or ice on inner walls can indicate a defrost issue. Initiate a manual defrost cycle and monitor frost buildup over time. Repair the auto-defrost if needed.
5. Check Airflow
Remove debris blocking vents and condenser coils. Ensure the door can fully close. Test the condenser fan motor. Restricted airflow will reduce cooling.
6. Monitor the Cycles
Observe the cooling cycles. Short cycles may indicate low refrigerant. Extended running may signal a thermostat issue. Identify cycle abnormalities.
7. Assess Age and Maintenance
Older freezers and lack of maintenance raise the risk of failure. Review the freezer’s age, service history and your owner’s maintenance. Age-related issues may require replacement.
By methodically working through these diagnostic steps, you can zero in on the specific problem causing your Kenmore freezer to malfunction.
Key Fixes for a Kenmore Freezer Not Freezing
Once you’ve diagnosed the specific issue with your Kenmore freezer, you can move forward with targeted fixes. Here are some common solutions:
Replace the Thermostat
If voltage testing shows the thermostat is defective, replace it. Use the exact replacement part recommended for your model. Be sure to carefully follow all thermostat wiring diagrams.
If a leak is allowing refrigerant to escape, a technician will need to locate and seal the leak, evacuate the remaining refrigerant, and recharge the sealed system with new refrigerant. Proper recharging should make the freezer cold again.
Install a New Compressor
For a failed compressor, replacement is necessary. A technician will recover the refrigerant, remove the old compressor, install the new compressor, replace driers, and recharge the system with refrigerant.
Clear Clogged Air Vents
Use a vacuum with a narrow attachment to clear debris from the air vents. A stiff brush can also help dislodge blockages. Make sure vents are clear to allow air to circulate.
Replace Condenser Fan Motor
If the condenser fan motor is non-operational, install a new replacement motor with the same wattage and dimensions. Re-establish proper wiring connections. Test for proper operation before returning food.
Repair or Replace Evaporator Coils
Damaged evaporator coils should be repaired or replaced by a trained HVAC technician. They will recover the refrigerant, replace the coils, evacuate the system, and recharge with new refrigerant.
Replace Defrost Timer or Heater
If the defrost cycle is not initiating properly, replace a mechanical defrost timer or defrost heater. Carefully follow wiring diagrams and refrigerant recovery/recharge protocols.
With the right diagnosis and repair, you can get your Kenmore freezer running cold again. Contact Kenmore customer service or an appliance repair company for assistance on complicated repairs.
Preventing Future Freezer Freeze-Up Problems
Once your Kenmore freezer is fixed, implement some ongoing maintenance steps to help prevent a recurrence of freezing issues:
Clean the Condenser Coils
Use a brush and vacuum to remove dust and debris from condenser coils every 6 months to maintain proper airflow.
Check the Door Seal
Inspect the door seal once a year and replace it if there are any cracks, tears, or gaps that allow cold air leakage.
Periodically verify the freezer temperature with a thermometer. Adjust the temperature control if needed.
Level the Freezer
Use a bubble level to confirm the freezer is level side-to-side and front-to-back so doors seal properly. Adjust legs to re-level if needed.
Avoid overpacking the freezer or blocking vents with items. Organize efficiently so air can circulate properly.
Initiate Manual Defrosting
If you notice frost buildup, initiate a manual defrost cycle about once a year to melt away excess frost before it becomes problematic.
Replace Air Filter
If your model has an air filter, change it according to manufacturer directions, about every 6 months.
Wipe down interior walls every few months to prevent odor buildup and debris accumulation that can impede airflow.
Implementing preventive maintenance and monitoring your Kenmore freezer carefully can help prevent freezer malfunctions and food spoilage.
Keep Your Kenmore Freezer Running Optimal
Kenmore freezers provide excellent frozen food storage when operating properly. But when issues arise, be prepared to thoroughly diagnose the problem and implement the necessary repairs or replacements. In many cases, you can resolve common freezer malfunctions on your own if you are knowledgeable about troubleshooting fridge freezers. For more complex repairs, rely on authorized Kenmore appliance experts. With the right diagnosis and service, you can get your Kenmore freezer running cold again. Maintain your appliance carefully and it can give you many years of reliable operation.
FAQs About Kenmore Freezers Not Freezing
Why is my Kenmore freezer not freezing?
Some common reasons a Kenmore freezer may not be freezing properly include a faulty compressor, low refrigerant levels, clogged condenser coils, failed thermostat, or failed defrost timer. Check the temperature setting, verify the door seal is tight, and inspect the evaporator fan motor as well. Refer to the user manual for troubleshooting tips specific to your Kenmore freezer model.
How do I reset my Kenmore refrigerator freezer?
To reset a Kenmore refrigerator freezer, locate the reset button, typically found on the back of the unit near the compressor. Press and hold the reset button for 10 seconds until the freezer clicks off. Wait a full minute, then press the reset button again to restart the freezer. This can help resynchronize the control board if the freezer is not cooling properly.
Why is my Kenmore refrigerator not cooling or freezing?
If a Kenmore refrigerator is not cooling properly, common causes include a failed compressor, faulty control board, clogged condenser coils, broken evaporator fan, stuck damper control, blown fuse, or tripped breaker. Check the temperature settings, verify door seals, inspect the condenser fan motor, and refer to the owner’s manual for model-specific troubleshooting tips.
Why is my Kenmore refrigerator not making ice?
If a Kenmore refrigerator is not making ice, check the ice maker unit for any blockages, ensure the water supply line is connected and valve is open, inspect the water filter, verify the freezer temperature is cold enough, and make sure the ice maker is turned on. The mold thermostat, water inlet valve, or control board could also be faulty.
What should my Kenmore freezer be set at?
The ideal temperature setting for a Kenmore freezer is around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps food frozen solid while saving energy. Some models recommend setting the freezer between 0-5 degrees F. Check your owner’s manual and adjust the temperature control knob as needed until the freezer stabilizes at the desired set point.
How do you defrost a Kenmore freezer?
To defrost a manual defrost Kenmore freezer, unplug the unit and remove all food. Use towels to soak up melting ice. A fan pointed inside the freezer will speed up the process. Avoid using sharp tools to chip away at ice and never use hot water. Once fully defrosted, clean and sanitize the interior before restarting the freezer.
How do you defrost a Kenmore stand up freezer?
For Kenmore upright freezers, empty the freezer of food items and turn it off. Prop open the door and place towels inside to absorb melted frost. Use pans of hot water to help melt the ice faster. A fan blowing into the freezer also accelerates defrosting. Once fully defrosted, wipe down the interior, dry it thoroughly and restart the freezer.
Where is the defrost thermostat on a Kenmore refrigerator?
The defrost thermostat is typically located along the back wall of the freezer compartment in a Kenmore refrigerator. It will have two wires connected to it and may have a small red reset button on it. The thermostat regulates the defrost cycle and can be checked for continuity using a multimeter if the fridge is not defrosting properly.
How do I adjust my Kenmore ice maker?
Consult your Kenmore refrigerator user manual to properly adjust the ice maker. Typically there is a control arm that raises and lowers to set ice production. Raise the arm to the OFF position to pause ice making. Lower it to the ON position when ice is needed again. Some models also have an ice size adjustment dial to select small, medium, or large cube sizes.
How do you unlock Kenmore?
If your Kenmore appliance has an electronic control lock enabled, press and hold the Lock button for 3-5 seconds to unlock the controls. The Lock icon will disappear from the display when unlocked. On models without a Lock button, press and hold the Temp button for 5 seconds, until the Lock icon disappears. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.
Why does my Kenmore freezer keep running?
A Kenmore freezer that runs continuously may have a faulty thermostat causing it to over freeze. Low refrigerant levels, a dirty condenser, bad door seals, excessive frost buildup, or a failing compressor can also cause the freezer to run excessively. Inspect the coils, clean the condenser, and have an appliance technician verify proper operation if needed.
How do I clean the condenser coils on a Kenmore refrigerator?
Locate the condenser coils at the rear base of the Kenmore refrigerator. Unplug the fridge and use a soft brush or vacuum with an extension hose to clean dust and debris from the coils. For stubborn dirt, use a coil cleaning brush or condenser coil cleaner foam spray, wiping the coils thoroughly. Let the coils fully dry before plugging the refrigerator back in.
How long does it take for a Kenmore refrigerator to make ice?
Most Kenmore refrigerators should produce the first batch of ice cubes within 24-48 hours after the ice maker is turned on. The process can take up to 72 hours if the freezer needs to reach the proper temperature first. Ice production varies by usage, temperature, water pressure and other factors. Refer to your model’s manual for approximate ice maker cycle times.
The damper control is located inside the refrigerator compartment on the back wall, near the top on Kenmore bottom freezer models. It regulates airflow between the fridge and freezer sections. If the control is stuck closed, it can cause freezing in the refrigerator. Use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the damper control to troubleshoot cooling issues.
How do you defrost a freezer without water everywhere?
To limit water mess when defrosting a freezer, first remove all food items. Place towels inside the freezer to absorb melting frost. Set pans under the freezer to catch runoff. Use a turkey baster to suck up accumulated water. Keep the freezer door propped open and use fans to circulate air. Soak up any remaining water before returning food to the thawed freezer.
How do you clean a Kenmore freezer coil?
Unplug the Kenmore freezer and remove the back access panel. Carefully use a vacuum hose attachment to clean dust buildup from the condenser coils. If dirt is caked on, use a stiff brush to loosen debris and a coil cleaning foam spray to dissolve it. Wipe down the coils with a microfiber cloth. Dry the coils completely before replacing the access panel and restarting the freezer.
Where is the defrost timer located on a Kenmore freezer?
The defrost timer is typically found inside the control console on the ceiling of the freezer compartment for Kenmore freezers. It may have a clear plastic cover to access the timer dial. The timer advances the defrost cycle at preset intervals to melt away frost. If ice is building up, inspect the timer dial movement and test the continuity using a multi-meter.
How do I test my Kenmore defrost thermostat?
Use a multimeter to test your Kenmore refrigerator defrost thermostat. Set it to the Ohms or continuity setting. Unplug the fridge and disconnect the thermostat wires. Touch the meter probes to the thermostat terminals. It should show continuity at room temperature. Chill the thermostat down and retest – the thermostat should show no continuity when cold to signal the defrost heater to activate.
How do you turn off a Kenmore ice maker?
To turn off the ice maker on a Kenmore refrigerator, locate the on/off lever on the ice maker unit and lift it to the upward, OFF position. This stops ice production. On some models, press and hold the Ice Off button for 3 seconds until the LED light turns off. Refer to your owner’s manual for the specific ice maker on your Kenmore fridge.
The reset button on a Kenmore appliance like a freezer, refrigerator or washer is typically located on the back or side of the unit, near the power cord. It will be a small circular button labeled as “reset”. Press and hold the reset button for 5-10 seconds to reset the appliance’s computer and attempt to resolve any errors. Check your owner’s manual for the exact location.
How do I reset my Kenmore washer?
To reset a Kenmore washing machine, first unplug it for 1 minute. Plug the washer back in and allow it to start up. Once the home screen appears, press and hold the Start/Pause button for 5 seconds. Press Start again to confirm the reset. This will clear any error codes and reset the washer. Refer to your specific model’s manual as reset procedures can vary.