Your freezer’s compressor moves refrigerant through the appliance, generating heat as it runs. This heat dissipates to the sides of the freezer, helping prevent moisture from forming on the outside of the appliance. As a result, the exterior walls may sometimes feel hot to the touch. As your refrigerator cycles on and off to maintain the appropriate temperature, the outside walls may feel warmer or cooler at different times. This is a normal and necessary function of your appliance.
At times, you may notice that the outside of your freezer feels warm or hot to the touch. Rest assured, this is often a normal part of the refrigeration process and shouldn’t be cause for alarm. However, an excessively or continuously hot freezer exterior may be a sign that maintenance or repairs are in order. Let’s explore the causes of a hot freezer exterior—and when you may need to take action.
WHY THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR FREEZER IS SOMETIMES HOT
IF THE FREEZER EXTERIOR IS EXCESSIVELY OR CONTINUOUSLY HOT, CHECK THE FOLLOWING:
1. CONDENSER COILS
Dirty condenser coils can contribute to hotter-than-normal freezer walls. Dust, lint, and other debris can build up in the coils over time and block efficient airflow, preventing your freezer from cooling properly.
To clean the condenser coils, unplug the appliance. If the coils are located on the back of the unit, move the appliance away from the wall to ensure a safe and comfortable working area. If the coils are located near the bottom front of the unit, remove the base grille that covers the coils. Clean the coils using a refrigerator coil brush or a vacuum hose with a soft brush.
2. CONDENSER FAN
Excessively hot freezer walls could also be a sign that the condenser fan is malfunctioning. The condenser fan circulates air across the condenser coils, helping cool hot refrigerant coming from the compressor. If the fan fails to run when activated, the temperature of the refrigerant will rise and the outside walls may feel extremely hot to the touch. If this is the case, the condenser fan will need to be replaced.
3. DOOR SEAL
Your freezer’s door seal (also called a gasket) is a protective seal that keeps cold air in and warm air out. If the seal is cracked or damaged, warm air can seep into the freezer, causing the compressor to work overtime to keep the freezer cold. A compressor that’s working twice as hard could be the reason the outside of your freezer is always feeling hot. If you feel cold air leaking out of your freezer anywhere around the doorframe, the seal likely needs replacing.
HELP PREVENT OVERHEATING WITH REGULAR MAINTENANCE
Keep your freezer clean and running strong so it doesn’t have to work overtime. Follow our freezer maintenance tips to ensure your freezer is performing at its best.