• Please note, some of the links on our site are affiliate links (Learn More)

Kenmore Freezer 253.28092801 water leak, food thawed

madbrain

Premium Member
Joined
May 8, 2022
Messages
3
Location
San Jose, CA
Model Number
253.28092801
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
More than 10 years
I have the above upright freezer, manufactured 5/2009, in my garage, in a corner .
Saturday night, at 10pm, I went to fetch some frozen food, and noticed that there was a water leak underneath. The door opened much easier than usual - it seemed like the seal was undone. There was some ice on the rear wall of the freezer, but none near the door.

The food I was fetching was frozen French fries, and they were somewhat soft, whereas they are normally hard as a rock. Most of the ice cream, even though it was it was at the bottom, was partially melted. My laser surface thermometer showed a temperature of 20F, which is normal. But foods were clearly not that cold.
We get power outages about 1-2x year due to drivers knocking down power poles, and it has taken as long as 18 hours for the utility to fix it once. But food never thawed like this in the past.
We moved as much of the food as we could to our main freezer. Some food will likely have to be discarded, unfortunately.

I monitor most of my appliances power consumption with a KP125 smartplugs, and I can see from the wattage curve that the freezer problem started at 4am earlier that day. The wattage is recorded by HomeAssistant every few seconds.
Normally, I can see that the freezer turns on and off. But during that time, the power curve was flat - it wasn't cycling off anymore.

The unit continued to have flat power consumption until Sunday around 3pm. Now, it seems to be working normally again. Food that's inside refroze to the expected temperature, I'm just not sure if any of it it still safe to eat.
I'm very wary of filling it up with valuable foods again, though, in case it happens again.

The appliance was already repaired once in Feb of 2019 for a different problem. There was a leak in the garage, that turned out to be a drain line issue. During that occurrence, the foods did not thaw, though. I did not attempt to repair myself - that was $215 service call.

The only obviously visible issue on the unit is that LCD display doesn't fully show the digits/letters, but the touch controls are still working normally.

Normally, I would consider replacing the appliance of this age and after this issue, rather than trying to fix it. But I'm not working at the moment, so money is tight. Inflation is crazy. There are few freezers of this size (20 cu ft) available, also. Most are over $1000, and the top-rated ones (per Consumer reports) are not in stock - some backordered for months.

So, I'm considering a repair here. I'm not handy at all unfortunately, and I'm not sure I would be able to repair the unit myself. I checked the most popular parts for this model and the door gasket is at the top.

There is no visible damage on the existing gasket that I could see, despite the age of the unit

New gasket is $92 - will be $103 with shipping . My questions are
1) is the door gasket likely the problem here, or does it sound like there may be something else wrong ?
2) how hard is it to install ? I watched one Youtube video and it doesn't seem too hard, but I'm sure the difficulty depends on the model.
3) do you think it is better to try a repair or replacement in this case ?
4) does such a unit (seems to be intermittently working) have any resale value to people who fix and resell appliances ?

kenmore-png.66060
 

Attachments

  • kenmore.png
    kenmore.png
    219.6 KB · Views: 81

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,455
Location
Redmond, Oregon
My laser surface thermometer showed a temperature of 20F, which is normal. But foods were clearly not that cold.
Actually, 20 degrees F is not normal, Normal freezer temp should between 0 to 5 degrees F at all times. So you may have another problem going on.

I'd remove the lower back access panel inside the freezer and take a photo of your evaporator coil, so we can see the frost pattern on it.

Normal would be the bottom photo below:

Frost Patterns.jpg
 

madbrain

Premium Member
Joined
May 8, 2022
Messages
3
Location
San Jose, CA
Actually, 20 degrees F is not normal, Normal freezer temp should between 0 to 5 degrees F at all times. So you may have another problem going on.

I'd remove the lower back access panel inside the freezer and take a photo of your evaporator coil, so we can see the frost pattern on it.
Thank you very much for responding.

1) re: the temperature
I just went to check the unit again.
The front panel, which is set to display the temperature, shows 0F.
The laser thermometer shows -9F at the bottom and -3F at the top. Definitely much colder than it was on Saturday night when I noticed a problem and the food thawed.

The front panel is located near the top of the unit. I don't know if that's where the thermometer probe is also located. If so, the difference between -3F and 0F isn't too large.
Calibration on either the thermometer (which is designed for cooking) or the built-in thermometer in the freezer could vary slightly.

2) re: opening the back access panel inside, do you have any idea how I might do that on this particular unit, or perhaps similar large upright Kenmore freezers ?

3) re: seal.
When I just closed the door, I didn't hear any sound of air being expelled, as I normally would when closing it. Does that sound like a seal problem ? Or is there yet another faulty part possibly involved ?

4) FYI, the freezer cycled on and off all night long correctly per my power usage data, as it's normally supposed to. I'll be watching the power usage again from now since I closed it to see if that continues or not after the door was opened today.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,455
Location
Redmond, Oregon
The laser thermometer shows -9F at the bottom and -3F at the top
That's good temps.

opening the back access panel inside, do you have any idea how I might do that on this particular unit, or perhaps similar large upright Kenmore freezers ?
Watch this video: https://www.repairclinic.com/Repair...right-Freezer-Disassembly-Freezer-Repair-Help

When I just closed the door, I didn't hear any sound of air being expelled, as I normally would when closing it. Does that sound like a seal problem ? Or is there yet another faulty part possibly involved ?
Yes, check all around the freezer door gasket seal for any air leaks or gaps when the door is closed.

the freezer cycled on and off all night long correctly per my power usage data, as it's normally supposed to. I'll be watching the power usage again from now since I closed it to see if that continues or not after the door was opened today.
Ok, good, yes keep us posted.

Jake
 

madbrain

Premium Member
Joined
May 8, 2022
Messages
3
Location
San Jose, CA
Thank you ! The video was very helpful. I will get around to it this weekend and take a picture.
Yes, check all around the freezer door gasket seal for any air leaks or gaps when the door is closed.


Ok, good, yes keep us posted.

Jake
I haven't noticed any gaps. So far, the freezer has maintained proper temperatures all week long. I really don't know why the food thawed last weekend.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,455
Location
Redmond, Oregon
Ok, sounds good, let us know what you find.

Jake
 
Top