Various frozen items in a chest freezer

Guide to the parts of a freezer

You rely on your freezer year-round for optimal long-term storage for all of your family’s favorite frozen meals and ingredients. To freeze food, deep freezers use vaporized refrigerant that undergoes a cycle via the various parts of the appliance, such as the compressor, condenser and the evaporator.

Follow along with this guide to learn more about how your freezer works to freeze food and keep your items stored properly for when you need them next.

What are the components of a freezer?

Discover where the different parts of a freezer are located and how they work for long-term storage of frozen leftovers, vegetables, meats and more.

A freezer diagram A freezer diagram

1. Compressor

Usually located at the lower-back of the freezer, the compressor increases the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant, working together with the condenser coils.

2. Condenser coils

The condenser coils work together with the compressor to move the refrigerant along to the next stage of its cycle through the freezer. The compressor pushes the highly-pressurized refrigerant to the condenser coils, transforming it from a vapor into a liquid through the transfer of heat.

3. Capillary tube

The capillary tube is a small structure responsible for causing a large drop in pressure that lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, transforming it from a liquid to a vapor.

4. Evaporator

The evaporator absorbs heat, causing the refrigerant to convert back to a low-pressure state as a vapor. The vapor becomes extremely cold as a result, creating the optimal environment for long-term storage of your frozen meals and items. The evaporator is the refrigerant’s final destination before it travels back to the compressor, beginning the freezing cycle over again.

A chest deep freezer in a laundry room A chest deep freezer in a laundry room

What is the air that comes out of a freezer called?

To help freeze food for longer-term storage, freezers work by maintaining cold interior air temperatures. When you open the freezer door, the warmer outside air mixes with the cold air from inside. As a result, condensation occurs to produce the cloudy air, or fog, that you see escaping the door.

Can you buy a replacement freezer door?

From water filters and ice makers to thermostats and shelf bins, replacement appliance parts are available depending on the model, including replacement freezer doors. If you’re unsure of which part you need, consult with a professional before purchasing a replacement part for your freezer with Whirlpool® Repair or Replace Services.

Frozen ingredients stored in an open deep freezer Frozen ingredients stored in an open deep freezer

Where are the vents in my freezer?

Whether you have a standalone chest/upright freezer or a freezer as part of your refrigerator, you can usually find the vents inside the freezer compartment which direct the flow of cool air in the appliance.

These vents can be in different locations depending on your freezer model. If you’re having trouble locating them, refer to your owner’s manual for product-specific information.

What happens if freezer vents are blocked?

When freezer vents become blocked, several issues can arise, including moisture build-up or excessive frost, temperature issues and inconsistent or fluctuating freezer temperatures.

Overpacking of the freezer can result in covered vents and air flow blockage. To help prevent this, check to see whether items are blocking the freezer vents. Avoid overcrowding your freezer and store only as much food as the dimensions of your appliance will properly allow.

A person cleaning the inside of a freezer with a rag A person cleaning the inside of a freezer with a rag

How do I clean the air vents in my freezer?

All of your freezer’s air vents and fans should be kept clear to ensure optimal airflow and temperature regulation. To clean freezer air vents, locate the vent inside the freezer compartment and gently eliminate any excess frost build-up and remove visible dirt or dust with a soft cleaning cloth.

If needed, you can also wash interior walls with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. When cleaning any interior part of your freezer, avoid abrasive or harsh cleaners, as well as paper towels, scouring pads or other harsh cleaning tools.

Why is my freezer not freezing?

Optimal freezer temperatures are essential when it comes to safe food storage. If your freezer isn't freezing, there could be several reasons, including incorrect setting controls, overpacking, a dirty condenser coil or excess frost build-up.

If your appliance isn't freezing items correctly, follow these helpful tips: 

  • Check the setting controls and thermostat

  • Clear out the freezer shelves

  • Clean the condenser coils

  • Break down built-up ice to release congestion

Shop for Whirlpool® fridges and freezers

With convenient size options and purposeful organization space, Whirlpool® refrigerators and freezers have everything you need to keep your food and drinks cold around the clock. Explore the full collection of fridges and freezers by Whirlpool brand for fresh and delicious food when you need it most.

Learn more about Whirlpool® freezers

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