An old (probably 30-50 years) chest freezer is not working. When plugged in it makes a constant, very quiet sound and does not change temperature.

How could I tell what's wrong with it? Is it likely to be possible to repair it?

Some pics of the compressor compartment:

pic taken from outside the compressor compartment

pic from just inside the compressor compartment

  • 1
    It's probably trying to die in it's sleep.
    – JACK
    Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


Repair (by a licensed refrigeration technician) might be possible, but is highly unlikely to be practical or cost-effective .vs. replacement with a modern and probably far more efficient unit.

For one thing, the R12 refrigerant that your unit uses is now absurdly expensive.


Energy savings alone will pay for a new freezer inside a year, even if you had to pay for it!

FIRST, contact your power company and see if they have any upgrade programs, rebates and the like - many will cost-share and some will even buy you a new one for free.*

Then if that option is exhausted, get yourself a new chest freezer on your own nickel. Still a savings!

* At first blush, this seems insane. But if you grind through the macro-economics of buying you a new appliance vs. building new power plants to support your old appliances, this is actually a net win at the whole-society level. For instance if the same institution was paying for both the power plant an the freezer, they would have direct financial incentive to upgrade. With separate ownership there's a market inefficiency. Power companies and regulators just got together to correct that.

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