Freestanding Freezer: Why is my freezer hot on the outside?

It's normal for the outer walls of the freezer to get warm or hot when the compressor is running; refrigerant lines inside the cabinet walls remove heat from the compressed refrigerant. The hot refrigerant helps control cabinet humidity to prevent the cabinet from sweating.

If the walls get extremely hot, the condenser fan could be malfunctioning. The condenser fan blows air across the condenser coils to help cool the compressed refrigerant before it enters the evaporator. Replace the condenser fan if it doesn't run when activated.

Dirty condenser coils can also cause the hot freezer walls. Dust build-up on condenser coils interferes with heat transfer so the refrigerant stays hotter as it leaves the condenser and travels through lines in the freezer walls.

Performing routine maintenance on the freezer can also help keep the freezer walls from getting hot. Cleaning dust from the bottom front grill can improve airflow across the condenser so the refrigerant is cooler as it goes through lines in the freezer walls. Cleaning the door or lid gasket can prevent air from leaking into the freezer compartment, causing the compressor to run longer and heating up the refrigerant travelling through lines in the freezer wall.

freestanding freezer

These repairs may help solve your freestanding freezer problem

Replace the freezer condenser fan motor

Replace the freezer condenser fan motor

The condenser fan is in the machine compartment of the freezer next to the compressor. It moves air across the condenser coils to help cool the hot refrigerant coming out of the compressor. Replace the condenser fan if it fails to run when activated.

Perform freezer routine maintenance

Perform freezer routine maintenance

Routine maintenance keeps your freezer working efficiently. Clean the bottom front grill and the condenser coils regularly to help the freezer cool better and use less energy. Adjust the freezer door if it's not sealing properly. Lubricate the door seal with a light coat of petroleum jelly occasionally to prevent air leaks into the freezer.

Clean the refrigerator condenser coils

Clean the refrigerator condenser coils

Dust-covered refrigerator coils can prevent the refrigerator and freezer from running efficiently and cooling properly. Follow the instructions in your owner's manual for cleaning the condenser coils. Unplug the refrigerator before accessing and cleaning the coils. On most refrigerators, the coils are behind the bottom front grill. Clean the condenser coils with a coil brush.

July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Does the ice cream in your freezer seem too soft or the beverages in your refrigerator not cold enough? It could be the condenser coils need to be cleaned. This DIY repair guide shows how to clean the refrigerator condenser coils in 4 easy steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more

Symptoms common to all freestanding freezers

Choose a symptom to see related freezer repairs.

Main causes: burned out light bulb, bad door or lid switch, faulty LED light board, wiring failure, control system failure
Main causes: lack of power, bad compressor, refrigerant leak, bad thermistor, defrost system failure, dirty condenser coils, control failure
Main causes: leaky door or lid gasket, broken defrost heater, bad defrost bi-metal thermostat, defrost control failure, faulty compressor
Main causes: compressor failure, no refrigerant, faulty sensor, control failure, broken defrost heater, bad defrost bi-metal thermostat
Main causes: excessive frost, bad defrost heater, bad defrost bi-metal, control system failure, low refrigerant charge, compressor problems
Main causes: damaged door or lid gasket, cracked cabinet liner, bad defrost bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer
Main causes: lack of power, control system failure, broken compressor start relay, locked up compressor, compressor motor failure
Main causes: dirty condenser coils, condenser fan failure, dirty bottom front grill, leaky door or lid gasket

Articles and videos common to all freestanding freezers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your freezer.

April 12, 2021

7 tips to prevent freezer burn

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how you can save frozen food from freezer burn.

April 3, 2015

Easy DIY freezer repairs

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn about some money-saving and easy freezer repairs that you can do yourself.

December 15, 2014

5 tips for finding food in the freezer faster

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Don't get chapped hands digging through the icy depths. Get organized! Here's how.