Why Your Freezer may be Giving Off a Burnt Plastic or Electrical Smell

Is your freezer giving off that burnt plastic or electrical smell? Then this post is for you. A freezer can continue running and cooling as normal, even when there is that smell.

Should you continue using the freezer though? Where should you look? Is it even worthwhile repairing it?

These are probably a few of the questions you may have in mind.

This post provides suggestions on what to do when you detect burnt plastic or electrical smell from your freezer.

You’ll also find a list of possible places to look to hopefully find the fault faster and lastly some fixes that may help you get the freezer working normally again.

Why a Burnt Plastic or Electrical Smell from a Freezer

If you’ve got the burnt electrical smell, it’s probably an electrical fault from sparking that heats up the wire insulation or a hot surface such as a defrost heater or compressor that’s heating a plastic or rubber surface.

Read on for other possible causes and suggestions on what to do.

What to Do in case of a Burnt Smell from a Freezer

While in some cases you may be able to identify and fix the underlying fault causing the burning smell yourself, do not hesitate at any one time to contact a qualified fridge technician to attend and fix the fault.

#1. Switch off the freezer at the wall outlet and at the circuit breaker

#2. Try to trace the source of the smell. Some areas that you can look at that are:

  • Loose wire connections in the wall outlet or fridge plug
  • Damaged fridge power cord. It may have damaged insulation and burn marks hence the burnt rubber or plastic smell.
  • If the freezer has an auto defrost feature, the defrost element may be too close to and heating the surrounding plastic surfaces, a plastic bag, or some insulation
  • Damaged electrical wire in the back panel of the freezer that is smoldering. You’ll need to move the freezer, access the back panel, and look for cables with burn marks. It helps to remove the back panel and switch on the freezer for a few moments while looking out for any signs of sparking or burning.
  • Burnt out compressor relay start device. You can also have the relay burnt out over time. With the fridge disconnected from the mains, inspect the start relay usually in the back panel of the freezer for any burn marks. Replacing the start relay with another of the same type can get the freezer working again.

Should you Continue using the Freezer?

To avoid the risk of fire and possible injury, it is not advisable to continue using the freezer if you detect a burning smell. You should instead isolate the freezer from the mains and focus on identifying and fixing the underlying fault. Contact a qualified electrician for assistance.

Is it Worth Repairing the Freezer?

This depends on the extent of the fault and damage to the freezer. You’ll have to make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis whether it is worthwhile investing in the repair.

If the freezer has been in service for say several years, is out of warranty, is problematic and the part and labor costs are close to a new freezer that comes with a warranty then don’t fix it. Invest in a new freezer instead.

With that being said, some faults are minor and may even be fixed by yourself or by an electrician inexpensively. Consult a qualified electrician to advise.

How to Get Rid of the Burnt Freezer Smell

While the burnt plastic odor in the freezer can die down over several days, you may be able to speed it up using baking soda.

Spread the baking solar over a large plate (a large surface area speeds up the absorption) and place it in the freezer.

Improving ventilation by opening doors or windows (where possible) also helps reduce the intensity of the burnt smell.

Closing Thoughts

If there is a burnt rubber smell or plastic smell from your freezer, do not ignore it. Instead, switch off the freezer and trace the source.

Some causes of the burning smell are: loose and sparking wires in the plug, wall outlet, damaged power cord, and defrost element heating the plastic housing in the freezer.

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