How to Repair Deep Freezers

Deep freezers are handy appliances to have on hand, especially if you have a large family.

Diagnose the problem

However, you stand to lose a large quantity of food when your deep chest freezer breaks. Fixing the deep freeze is possible, but it takes a bit of handyperson know-how.

Determine the issue. Will the lid not stay up? Is the freezer not staying cold? Make sure that the outlet you have connected to the freezer is working. Double-check the fuse box or circuit breaker.

Defrost the freezer. Move food to appropriate cold storage. Clean all water and ice out of the deep freezer before you begin repairs.

Unplug the freezer. Move the unit away from walls so you can access all parts.

Begin repairs

If the lid will not stay up, defrosting the deep freezer and cleaning it out may be the answer. Try defrosting and setting the thermostat to a warmer temperature. If the inside continues to fill with frost and ice, you may need to replace the compressor.

Test the power cord with a multimeter ohmmeter by touching the multimeter to the leads. If the power cord is not working, replace it. New cords can be purchased at appliance stores or online.

Make sure all vents are clear of debris. There should be a vent on the side or back of the deep freezer. Remove the outer cover's screws, and clean out the vent either by hand or using a vacuum cleaner with an extension wand to reach into crevices.

If the power cord is fine and the vents are clean, it is time to delve deeper into the appliance. If your freezer isn't cooling adequately and you have a self-defrosting model, the thermostat may be to blame. New ones can be purchased from an appliance store or online. You can test this by removing all of the food from the freezer. Turn the thermostat off and leave the freezer lid open.

When the bulk of the ice and frost has melted, turn the thermostat back on. If the freezer cools again, try manually setting the defrost timer. Your freezer should change cycles in 45 minutes.

To test this, manually advance the timer to the defrost cycle. The unit should advance itself out of the defrost cycle in about 45 minutes. If that works, test the defrost heater with a multimeter. If the heater is not working, it can be replaced.

If the power cord is fine and the freezer is plugged in but not working, the compressor is a likely suspect. A compressor--the electric motor and pump mounted from springs--is inside your freezer. This will require a professional repair. It is not recommended that you attempt to fix it.

Things You Will Need

  • Towels to absorb water as you defrost and dry freezer
  • Storage space for food within freezer
  • Multimeter ohmmeter
  • Screwdriver (either Phillips or flat-head, depending on your unit)
  • Vacuum cleaner


  • Move extra food to coolers with dry ice, your indoor freezer, or ask neighbors if they can store food temporarily.
  • Clean the freezer after you are finished with repairs.
  • You can order parts online.


  • Be sure to unplug the freezer before you begin repairs.
  • Do not attempt to service the compressor yourself. This is a professional job.

About the Author

Sherrie Voss Matthews is a freelance writer based in San Antonio, Texas. She has expertise as a writer/editor/researcher. She has edited multiple books and has written for Planning magazine, 417, and MomsLikeMe.