How to Clean Chest Freezer Condenser Coils

man repairing a refrigerator or freezer
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • N/A
What You'll Need
Replacement condenser coil
Vacuum cleaner
Clean cloth
What You'll Need
Replacement condenser coil
Vacuum cleaner
Clean cloth

Every year owners of chest freezers should clean the condenser coils so that the freezer can run more efficiently. In standard freezers, the condenser coil is a static condenser which runs up and down behind the freezer and can be vacuumed or cleaned with a clean cloth.

In a simple freezer circuit, there are two sets of coils including the evaporator and condenser coils. Both coils are filled with gas and liquids and belong to the circuit where the compressor and expansion valve perform the job. The evaporator coil is the copper pipe that is joined to the condenser coil. It is located in a cool space and functions to absorb heat from the space. The heat will pass through the cool space where some of the heat is released into the atmosphere.

The suction of the compressor draws the cool liquid to the expansion valve where the liquid boils off to gas. At this stage, the gas temperature will decrease in the evaporator coil. In this way, the process will keep reiterating until the thermostat is satisfied. Due to the fact that the condenser coil is exposed to the ambient air, it must be frequently cleaned.

Step 1 - Disconnect all Plugs

chest freezer with lid open

First, it is necessary to unplug the freezer or turn off the circuit breaker. Once the circuit breaker is off, you can slide the freezer away to unplug it from the wall outlet. If the freezer has an ice maker, turn off the water supply lines.

Step 2 - Locate the Condenser Coils

In older freezers, the condenser coil runs up and down at the back. The coil is often painted black and resembles a grid-like structure. In modern freezers, the condenser coil is located underneath. There is a face that is directed at the condenser coil to help cool down the heat. Use a torchlight to locate the coil and fan.

If the condenser coil is located behind the toe space panel, you will have to remove the panel and condensate tray to reveal the flat condenser coil. If the condenser coil is on the rear access panel, slide the freezer away and remove the screws that hold the panels to reveal the cylindrical condenser coil.

Step 3 - Vacuum the Dirt and Dust

person looking through food in a chest freezer

Use a vacuum cleaner to clean away the dirt and dust on the condenser coil. When cleaning, make sure not to damage the coil. If the coil is accidentally broken, the refrigerant will escape, which can be costly to repair.

Step 4 - Vacuum the Freezer Fan

If the freezer fan is accessible, vacuum it to help move the air across the condenser coil. The dirt and dust that accumulate on the fan can hinder the airflow and damage the compressor.

Step 5 - Remove the Remaining Dust with a Brush

If there is still any remaining dust on the coil and fan, gently brush it away with a paintbrush.

The condenser coil should be cleaned at least two times per year. Before cleaning the freezer, always remember to unplug the power supply.

Chest Freezer Condenser Coils FAQ

Where are the condenser coils located on a chest freezer?

Look on the outside walls and the back of the freezer to find the condenser coils. You may find these coils just inside one of the freezer walls.

You can also sometimes find freezer coils on the bottom of the freezer.

Do freezers have coils that need to be cleaned?

When the condenser coils on a freezer get dirty, it will affect how well they provide cooling to the freezer. These coils must be cleaned from time to time to get rid of dust, hair, dirt, and other debris that can collect here.

Why is my chest freezer compressor running but not cooling?

If you can hear the compressor humming and still running but the freezer is not cooling down, there are a few problems that can be causing this issue.

The temperature control thermostat may not be working, which causes the compressor to run continuously. This can cause the coils to freeze, which prevents them from working.

If the condenser fan is not working properly, it will not be moving air over the coils and will not be providing cooling power.

Dirty condenser coils can't allow proper airflow to get through. This will prevent cooling from happening and causes the condenser to work extra hard.

Your defrost drain may also be clogged, which can cause frost and freezing which keeps the condenser from working.

Why are my freezer condenser coils not freezing?

Dirty condenser coils are one of the main causes of freezers not getting cool. Turn off the freezer, clean the coils, and see if this fixes the issue.

What happens if you don't clean condenser coils?

Condenser coils that are covered with dirt can't release heat. This makes the compressor work harder and longer, which will not only cause it to consume more energy but can also affect the overall life of your freezer.