Chest Freezer Failure

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Feb 4, 2008
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Houston, TX
Has anyone had their chestfreezer-turned-fermenting chamber fail on them?

My freezer failed recently. Had the repair guy out this morning, and he diagnosed a tubing leak inside the unit -- basically unfixable. He said that typically once you turn a chest freezer on, you don't want to turn it off -- the coils condense water, which rusts the coils, and you get a leak. He said that ambient humidity doesn't really matter.

Now, the freezer in question had previously been unplugged for about a year. Nine months ago, I started it up, didn't work; got a freon charge, and started it up with an external thermostat set to 65F, and it worked fine until now. Then, the recent failure.

Point being, the tubing damage might have come from that initial turned-off period. However, if I get a new freezer and hook it up with a thermostat at ~60F, while it will never be turned off for a year, it might very easily might go a month or two without cycling in the winter (I'm in Texas).

So, the question: have other people had problems using chest freezers with external thermostats as fermenters, when ambient temperature might mean that the freezer remains off for a month or two at a time? Should I buy a new freezer, or go another route?
he sounds full of it. a freezer does not run the compressor 24 hours a day. it runs less when used at 'fridge' temps than below freezing temps, but only by an hour or two per day (assuming average use of opening the freezer and losing some cold)
Yes, definitely. But what about the freezer not running for a day, or a week, or a month? Would that cause problems?
Rust? How big a shovel was that guy using?

Not entirely certain about chest freezers, mine was only off for 3 weeks when I moved, but my former kegger was purchased from a used appliance store and from the dust on it, had probably been sitting for a year or more. Seven years later, it worked fine as a fermentation cabinet last summer.

On the third hand, your unit has a history of leaking freon, so there is a problem somewhere and consumer appliances are not designed to be repaired. My chest freezer has the condenser coils bonded into the outer walls and are foamed in place as well.
I had the same problem. My folks had a freezer that they asked me to store when they moved. I put it out in my garage which is a separate building from the house and did not run it for about a year. When I did plug it back in it failed to get cold.

Never had the problem diagnosed as I figured it'd cost more to repair than it was worth.

But to my mind the damage was probably done in the summer's high heat and humidity. So I'd think that a unit that did not cycle on in the winter because it was cold enough would not be subject to the same problems as one that was off all summer or for months at a time during summer.

But I don't really know this is just conjucture on my part.
I would think the seals, especially in the compressor drying out and deteriorating would be the most likely cause of failure if it hadn't ran for a long time. I've heard of that problem with automotive AC systems anyway so maybe thats whats going on. I've seen fridges and freezers left out on exposed decks that looked like they where about to rust through the casing and they still ran just fine.
Thanks all for the advice. I might end up going with a freestanding chamber and AC window unit anyway, but it sounds like this is not a universal problem, and that I would also be safe trying another freezer.
Well, in the case were this freezer is basically unfixable and you plan on disposing of it anyways, I would think you might want to rip 'er open to see if this technician really knows his stuff. If you see rust, then you know you might want to be careful. You may also want to post some pictures of it on here, since I know there's a couple AC technician around and a lot of knowledgeable DIYs, etc. on here.
I only use my lagering freezer a few months out of the year. It is prolly close to 50 years old and works great. Fact is, sometimes they just die.