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 FAQ - Freezer





Adding food

Don't add more than 50 pounds of additional food over a 24 hour period. Exceeding this limit may overload the cooling system and either cause the compressor to fail or become inefficient due to overheating. The compressor may become so inefficient that the food will defrost even though the cooling system is working at its maximum. 

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Adding food to new freezer

At startup a new freezer (including the air inside, insulation, metal, and plastic) will be at room temperature. Therefore, allow a new freezer to operate for approximately 24 hours before adding food. Not allowing the cool down period, or adding food prematurely, may result in the food not freezing properly. 

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Chest or upright, which is best

They both work equally well. Upright is more convenient for food placement and removal. Chest freezers tend to be more efficient to operate and consume less electricity. Chest freezers are usually manual and will need to be defrosted every year. Many upright freezers are self-defrosting. Check the Energuide sticker on a new freezer for a sense of which is better for your particular needs. If you expect to use the freezer for long term storage a chest is usually  better because they operate at a slightly lower temperature than an upright.




lower purchase price

higher purchase price

manual defrost

self defrost available

long term storage

medium term storage

poorer food access

easier food access

less electricity 

more electricity

limited options

more options such as quick freeze or temperature alarm

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Use an light, unscented all-purpose cleaner and a clean soft cloth. Rinse using clean warm water and then dry with a clean cloth or towel. Avoid any cleaners that contain bleach, or strong scents. 

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Chest freezers need to be defrosted about once a year to remove any accumulated ice buildup. When defrosting a chest freezer look for a drain plug on the exterior. It should be at the bottom edge right at floor level. It is often designed to look like a raised piece of plastic and blends into the exterior surface. If unsure check your Use and Care Guide. The plug makes defrosting easier by allowing the defrost water to be drained into a shallow pan.

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Moved freezer and now it does not work

Chest freezers can develop problems after being moved. This is usually because of being handled roughly. If not working after a move check the rear for loose or broken wires.

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Does it have to be level

Freezers should be relatively level to allow the lid (chest) or door (upright) to close properly. If left unleveled for a long period of time the freezer body can become so deformed that the lid will not close properly.

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Freezer burn

Usually seen as a drying or darkening of foods, or a buildup of ice crystal within the food or packaging. This is not the fault of the freezer but rather the result of food de-hydration caused by the refrigeration action. To maximize storage time use freezer storage bags with a sealing top, or storage containers with snap on lids. Any food left in a freezer more than 6 weeks, no matter how well wrapped, will often show signs of de-hydration.

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Lid - flexes a lot

Normal for a modern chest freezer. Probably a self-leveling lid. This type of lid is designed to compensate for an slightly unleveled machine or floor.

When closing lid one of the corners may not close properly. Lift lid about 6 inches and slam down firmly. If lid reseals it is a self leveling type of lid.  Due to the looseness of the lid design it requires an occasional hard closing to realign itself.

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Some freezers come with a lock built into the lid handle. This allows the lid to be locked to prevent children from accidentally climbing inside the freezer and becoming asphyxiated. To prevent children access to the key hang it up very high, such as on a nail at the ceiling level. 

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Ice buildup at lid

Some ice buildup near the inner edge of a chest freezer is normal. May need to be defrosted. Check that gasket is sealing properly around whole perimeter of lid. If not check if freezer is level. Also check if gasket has cracks or splits that can allow air infiltration.

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Gasket - not sealing properly

How do I check if my lid gasket is closing properly?

Place a dollar bill between the gasket and the cabinet and close the lid so that the bill is caught between them. Then pull the bill out slowly to feel for resistance. You should feel definite resistance on the dollar bill as you remove it. Do this at one foot intervals around the perimeter of the cabinet. The resistance should be consistent. If the dollar bill indicates less resistance at some points of the perimeter then this may indicate the gasket is starting to wear at this point.

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Upright freezers are usually frost free. Therefore they can make all sorts of strange noises when operating. Noises such as cracking of ice, slight whining when operating, gurgling, or water dripping are common to modern upright freezers. The new ozone-friendly refrigerants used in modern freezers contribute to an increased noise level.

Chest freezers are generally quieter during operation than upright freezers.

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Power Indicator light flashing

This can mean many different things depending upon the model you have. Generally it indicates that the power to the freezer went off recently. If you had a recent power outage to your home unplug for 30 minutes and plug in again. If indicator light does not stop flashing then you may need to telephone for service.

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Run time very long

If the freezer is new it may run almost constantly for first few days. A new freezer should be operated for 48 hours before adding food otherwise may become overloaded. 

Run time for an upright freezer is significantly longer than for a chest freezer. An upright may start every 15 minutes while a chest type of equivalent size may only start every 60 minutes.

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Run time very short

A freezer that turns off and on every few minutes is having major problems. It may have a cold control that is failing, a compressor starter that is failing, a compressor that has become inefficient, or a leak in the refrigeration system. All of these are problems that will require a service person.

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The operating temperature for an upright freezer is approximately  -10 Degrees Fahrenheit. For a chest freezer it's approximately  -20 Degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Temperature light flashing

May be because the interior temperature is too warm. Check that the lid or door to the freezer is closed. If it was accidentally knocked open within the last few hours this problem can result. Check freezers operating temperature with an accurate thermometer. Should be approximately 5 degrees Fahrenheit for an upright freezer and -10 degrees Fahrenheit for a chest freezer. If not as indicated telephone for service.

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Can I operate outside or in garage

A freezer is meant to be operated indoors. If operated out of doors serious damage can result to both the machine and the food. If left in an unheated garage the food will probably stay frozen most of the year but the cold outside temperatures can result in damage to the machine. Manufacturers may void the warranty of any machine not operated within normal indoor temperatures. Check your Use and Care Guide for manufacturers suggestions. 

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Can I operate in closet

A freezer operated within a closet will run too hot due to the increased ambient temperature of the confined space. This can detrimentally effect the freezer operation and harm the refrigeration system.

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Can I operate on extension cord

Most household extension cords will cause the refrigeration system to overheat due to the voltage drop. Never operate an appliance on something such as a lawn mower cord, or a light lamp cord, as it can cause serious damage to the appliance.

If the line cord has to be extended use one made specifically for appliances. They are expensive, and are only available in short lengths to a maximum of about 12 feet. 

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