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Burned electrical smell from the freezer compartment

Kenmore 253.73892304

Unit is five years old, freezer on top, fridge on bottom. Last year the unit stopped cooling properly - I emptied the contents and left the unit unplugged for a day. After plugging it back in, seemed to work properly again. Same problem just occurred a year later with inadequate cooling - again unplugged and restarted. Again seemed to be cooling properly except this time there was an acrid burnt smell from the freezer. Fans all seemed to be working properly, but the smell wouldn't go away. Unplugged it again and took the back panel off inside the freezer as I thought maybe some coated wire was burning. The smell seemed to come from the evaporator fan motor itself, but it is working. Seems if the motor is emitting that smell it should be burned out, but again is working.

Before I consider replacing the motor thought I'd ask about the unit's periodic breakdown - is there something else that needs attention too? Thanks in advance

Jim in Chicago

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  • fishtale9 Apr 05, 2009

    Thank you for the tips - I replaced both the thermostat and heater, as this was probably why the fridge would eventually fail. The freezer was freezing but the fridge still wasn't cooling properly. Now noticed the evaporator fan wasn't working. So another order and a couple of days later replaced the motor - everything appears to be working properly now. The original motor created the smell as the plastic housing over one of the terminals was melted through. In addition to evaporation that fan also shoots the cold from the freezer down to the chill box too then, something I didn't know. Thank you again

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I would check the defrost thermostat usually a button type switch with 2 wires on it mounted to the freezer coil. Size depends on type ; 1 type is about quarter size, 1 is about dime size, and electronic sensor (not had one burn out but the board could smell like your description but I believe these are not in the freezer section).

I have had these cook out and smell up the freezer section before. And if they go out guess what it wont defrost either. If your fan motor goes out it might smell and wont cool all over but the frost should be minimal.


Also a bad defrost heater could make a smelly situation it is usually a black rod or aluminum colored and the rubber ends can burn and make a smell.
If you find its the heater, I would replace the defrost thermostat as well. Its suppose to cut off the heater before it gets too hot.

If this helps you find your problem please rate me as high as possible if not please post back with more information as to what you did find. Thanks for using fix ya and good luck.

Posted on Mar 29, 2009

  • Farley Redfield
    Farley Redfield Apr 05, 2009

    Glad I could help you Jim and thanks for the note.

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