I have an upright freezer (Maytag) that's 2 years old. It used to work very quetly and with cool exterior for the past 2 years but in the last ~5 weeks, the sides / top are hot all the time (105 degrees F) and the freezer is running very loud. The environment is the same as it was before and the freezer is ~85% full (which is pretty constant). The freezer door is opened 2-3 times a day for a few seconds.

I had a warranty technician look at it, he didn't do anything other than telling me that this is how it's supposed to work. (I know freezers have to dump heat on the inside to freeze food but it seems unnecessary that it does this 10 hours a day every day.)

Does this sound correct or is it the case of a lazy technician? (He came without tools so he had no intention of repairing anything.)

  • When is the last time you cleaned out the dust bunnies? These units usually have a fan to help dissipate the heat, but often get clogged up with dust and debris. Check the manufacturer documentation for cleaning schedule and instructions.
    – Tester101
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:36
  • @Tester101 I don't believe this one has a fan, although I'm not sure. Obviously, I haven't cleaned the fan yet. :) I did, however, clean the dust from behind the freezer a few times. Would the fan be visible if the unit had one? (I assume it'd be in the open to have air flow.)
    – xxbbcc
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:43
  • Not sure of your unit has a fan or not, since you haven't mentioned the model. I only suggest it since most refrigerators have fans, and dust often causes problems with them.
    – Tester101
    Jun 23, 2014 at 21:58
  • With almost any freezer problem it's worth giving it a really good manual defrost -- the auto-defrost systems aren't perfect and the drain hole can clog leading to a huge ice buildup. This could mean days at room temperature with the door open, or try taking off the interior back panel.
    – Chris H
    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:21
  • A low Freon charge will cause the unit to start running longer, I have a small one at work that gets hot on the side when it is low on charge it also will start freezing up close to the compressor. I added a service port and have to add a couple of oz Freon this may be more expensive than worth for someone that has to call a service tech. Keep an eye on the internal temps because there will come a time the unit can no longer keep the box cold.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 10, 2018 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


It sounds to me like the defrost heaters are not turning off.

I can not tell you if yours uses a thermal switch or a timer to cycle them, my guess is for a mechanical switch not working anymore, and stuck in the on position.

I am going for the idea that the repair guy thought nothing about the hot sides/top, because it is normal for it to happen, and he decided yours were just at the on part of their cycle.

The heaters running produces more heat (never saw that coming, did you). The compressor is doing its best to get rid of the heat, but it can not really keep up with the heaters, because of this it runs much more than normal.

The compressor was never designed to run as much as it is doing right now. With the duty cycle now so high, the compressor is running loud. And around we go again.

A full freezer is a happy freezer, never a worry there (if all is working right).


Note that some freezers, paradoxically, had actual heaters for the outside walls to reduce condensation. That has mostly gone away as insulation has become better and energy efficiency has become a major selling point.

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