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Kenmore 253.22442412 upright freezer - thermal overload?

BobzYourUncle

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Tucson, AZ
Model Number
253.22442412
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
6-10 years
We have a 6 year old Kenmore model 253.22442412 frost-free, 13.8 cubic-foot upright freezer. Last night, as I was headed to bed, the freezer alarm went off. I checked the alarm and the temperature had exceeded the all time highest temp that the alarm has recorded since installation, two months ago. (The alarm was set for +10 degees F.) I noticed that the compressor was not running. I moved the unit away from the wall and found a puddle of water on the floor. Five or ten minutes into unloading the freezer, the compressor kicked on. I was concerned that the compressor's cooling fan had failed so I put a floor fan on the compressor to help cool it. Less than an hour after we finished unloading the freezer and closed the door, the internal temp was back to normal.

Today I verified that the defrost timer is rotating and that air is coming out of the interior grill in the back, at the top. The unit apparently went through a defrost cycle and hit a high temp of +13F. Looking at the unit, there's apparently no cooling fan for the compressor and no visible condenser coils to clean. I don't know what's in the large, gray plastic enclosure on the back of the compressor, but it's not a fan. The water was dripping from the partially insulated refrigeration line that goes into the left side of the compressor (when looking in from the back). The water drips out from the inside of the insulation where it ends, about 12" from the compressor.

It appears that the condenser coils are built into the sides of the cabinet, which seems very odd. The manual warns that the sides can be up to 30 degrees above ambient. Last night the sides were quite warm and I measured 105 degrees with my IR thermometer. (Ambient temp was about 85.) I have not tried to remove the cover over the evaporator coils to check for ice buildup; I don't think that's the problem since the unit has been able to come back down to normal temps.

The unit sits against an un-insulated exterior masonry wall and the air circulation in the room was poor. (Until recently, an oscillating fan provided some air flow into the area, but it recently died.) Humidity has also been up, about 55% in the house.

At this point, I'm thinking that the unit just got too hot and went into thermal shutdown. It's also possible that it was just going through a defrost cycle, since the compressor is apparently shut off during defrost. My alarm setpoint may have also been too low; I've changed it to +15 degrees F. I've now got a fan to help with air flow in the room. My plan is to just keep an eye on it for a while. Anything I should check? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
 

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2004
Messages
26,056
Location
Ontario, Canada
Hi,

My plan is to just keep an eye on it for a while. Anything I should check? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Waiting and see what happens with minimal stuff inside might be the best idea.
A thermal overload would prevent the compressor only from running.
Your compressors thermal overload is built together with the start relay.

Control-Board-297259514-06032686.jpg
LINK> Compressor start device

My alarm setpoint may have also been too low; I've changed it to +15 degrees F.

With very little in the freezer, the defrost cycle could/might even get higher.

jeff sr.
 

BobzYourUncle

Premium Member
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Tucson, AZ
Waiting and see what happens with minimal stuff inside might be the best idea.
A thermal overload would prevent
I don't know if the evap fan was running or not, but it was very quiet when the problem occurred. Maybe it was in a defrost cycle, but based on when it happened and when I noticed the defrost cycle happening, probably 16 hours later, I don't think so.

Is it the case that the two marks on the body of the defrost timer, at 2 and 4 O'clock, indicate where the defrost cycle occurs?
IMG_7993_resize.JPG


The funny gray thing on the back of the compressor appears to be the overflow reservoir:
IMG_8003.JPG

There's a hose that appears to be a drain line that goes from the bottom of the cabinet to the side of the "reservoir". Mounting it against the compressor is an interesting idea: if the compressor gets too hot and shuts down, melt water collecting in the reservoir would help cool the compressor.

IMG_8008_resize.JPG

The "reservoir" has a notch facing the front of the freezer that I assume is an overflow. Whatever it is, it doesn't show up on the parts diagram here: link.

Today we put 40 pounds of ice in the freezer so that it wouldn't be sitting there empty while I'm watching to see if the problem repeats. It took the unit way over an hour to bring the temp down from 35 degrees to 17 degrees. It's been sitting at 17 degrees since. I can hear the compressor and fan running, but it's not cooling down further. Is that normal? I know that it takes time to cool the ice bags from 32 to zero-ish, but I would have thought it would be done by now.

It bothers me that there's no cooling fan for the compressor. What do you think about mounting a small AC-powered "muffin" fan like this (link) to provide some air flow? It could be wired in parallel with the compressor, so that it comes on any time the compressor has a run demand.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

jeff1

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 10, 2004
Messages
26,056
Location
Ontario, Canada
I don't know if the evap fan was running or not, but it was very quiet when the problem occurred

Fan not running and the unit was probably in defrost. Fan is running but the compressor is not indicates the compressor did overheat and was shut off on it's safety.

Is it the case that the two marks on the body of the defrost timer, at 2 and 4 O'clock, indicate where the defrost cycle occurs?

Should yes.

The funny gray thing on the back of the compressor appears to be the overflow reservoir

That's the defrost condensate tray.....the heat from the compressor helps to evaporator the defrost water. That hose carries the defrost water from inside the freezer to the tray on the outside.

The "reservoir" has a notch facing the front of the freezer that I assume is an overflow. Whatever it is, it doesn't show up on the parts diagram here: link.

The 2 small tabs? They serve no purpose for your unit. The tray does show on your parts breakdown here.

It took the unit way over an hour to bring the temp down from 35 degrees to 17 degrees. It's been sitting at 17 degrees since. I can hear the compressor and fan running, but it's not cooling down further. Is that normal?

*Normally* speaking....when we add a large heat load the unit will take 4-6 hours to get back to temp and 24 hours before getting back into and on and off routine.

It bothers me that there's no cooling fan for the compressor.

Not needed on this design. Adding a fan won't hurt anything :) ....but probably won't help much either :(

jeff sr.
 
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