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OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davec
Date: June 10, 2007 09:37PM
We have a refrigerator/freezer (top freezer) that, about a year ago, started dripping water down from the inside top of the refrigerator. Thinking it was a plugged condensation drain, we went through a long process to get the refrigerator pulled out. I both blew through the drain tube and used a shop vac to do the job even better. We thought we had it cleared, but a few, humid days later it started dripping again. We dealt with the problem by simplying wiping up the water that accumulated in the bottom of the refrigerator. When the weather was dry, or when we were running A/C, the dripping was not a problem. This spring we noticed no dripping! Shortly after that we noticed that the temperature in the freezer and refrigerator was quite a bit warmer (used a thermometer). The thermostat is now turned almost as cold as it will go and the freezer is at 15 to 20 degrees and the fridge is at 40 degrees.

Any ideas what could be causing this temperature change? Was it related to the drain problem? Our budget won't allow a new fridge, so unless it is an easy DIY fix I'll be calling a repairman. Thanks for all helpful advice!

Dave



...on the trailing edge of technology.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2007 09:45PM by davec.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davester
Date: June 10, 2007 10:31PM
You need Samurai Appliance Repairman!

[www.fixitnow.com]



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davec
Date: June 10, 2007 10:39PM
davester- thanks for the link! It can help to have an exploded view of the section. Hopefully, I can better gauge if it is something I can handle and it may give me a better idea as to what is happening. Thanks again!

Dave



...on the trailing edge of technology.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: sscutchen
Date: June 10, 2007 11:10PM
All of the refridgeration is in the top freezer. It blows freezer air to the bottom to cool the refrigerator.

The coils ice up from humidity that enters when you open the door (in the winder, the moisture content of the ambient air is lower...), and they go through a defrost, which is what the tube you blew out is for. It sends the water to a pan under the unit where it evaporates.

I'd bet the problem is upstream of your tube, in the bottom back of the freezer. When the defrost cycle runs, the water collects in a horizontal catchtray that runs the width of the back of the freezer, under the coils. It is sloped to the middle and that is where the water drips down to enter the hose.

If the catchtray gets clogged, water doesn't fully drain during the defrost cycle, and then it refreezes and ices up in the tray. Eventually, the tray is full of ice and whatever is causing the plug (since it does not have defrost coils) and new defrost water spills over the tray and shows up running down the back of the refrigerator and collecting under the vegetable drawers.

On my unit, all of this stuff in the freezer was behind a panel. I had to empty the freezer and remove screws to pull the sides, bottom and back panel. I had to remove the icemaker as well.

What I found was that the paint on the back of the panel was flaking off and collecting in the draintray, plugging it.





Don't ask who the bell's for, dude. It's you.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 11, 2007 03:24AM
Refrigerators are almost like a modular part, the cost to have it fixed is more than the value of the part. Around here you can buy a recycled unit (Goodwill or Salvation Army) for about $100 - 150.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: modelamac
Date: June 11, 2007 07:18AM
Frozen drain in the freezer, or defrost system failure.

There are 3 components involved in the defrost system: Defrost timer, defrost heater, and the thermostat that limits the temp reached when the heater is on.

The last 2 are in the freezer near the evaporator coil. The Timer is either behind the control panel in the refrig section, or outside: behind the kick plate at the front/bottom or in back mounted near the compressor on the side wall.

You can test the timer when you find it, if not a circuit board. Using a table knife, turn the knob clockwise SLOWLY. Eventually you will hear a click much louder than previous, which is the beginning of the defrost cycle. Stop turning. If the defrost heater comes on, replace the timer. If not, it is the heater or thermostat. Replace both.

If the timer is a circuit board, you have to use a multimeter to check for continuity in the heater and thermostat. The latter must be at 50 degrees or lower to check good. If open at that temp, it is the problem.

The frozen drain can be the most miserable to combat. You have to thaw it out, and figure out what caused it to freeze in the first place. Most of the time I find a piece of corn, a pea, a label from a package, etc that has migrated somehow to the drain. You better hope you find something like that.l Without thatevidence, it is a mfr design problem, and will return when the circumstances are just right.

Sears has a parts list and exploded view for many refrigs. You need your Model Number, TAKEN OFF A TAG INSIDE THE REFRIG, NOT OFF THE BROCHURE that came with the refrig.

[www3.sears.com]



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davester
Date: June 11, 2007 10:40AM
Quote
RgrF
Refrigerators are almost like a modular part, the cost to have it fixed is more than the value of the part. Around here you can buy a recycled unit (Goodwill or Salvation Army) for about $100 - 150.

I don't agree with that. The purchase price of a fridge is the tip of the iceberg. For most people, the refrigerator uses more electricity than anything else in their house so if they buy an old inefficient fridge, they'll soon pay the utility company much more than the savings over the cost of a repair or a newer more expensive fridge.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davec
Date: June 11, 2007 10:59AM
Thanks for the information! I'll take a closer look and see if this is something that I can attempt myself. I agree that a more energy efficient model would make sense....if our budget would only allow. The refrigerator is aproximately 14 to 15 years old. Thanks again for all the helpful advice! I hope you have a great day!

Dave



...on the trailing edge of technology.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: Gyrene
Date: June 11, 2007 11:23AM
Just inside the lower door of my refrigerator is a switch that controls a heating element in the lower part of outside of the freezer compartment where the freezer door meets the freezer. During the humid months of spring and summer sweat forms on that area. Turning on that switch stops the sweating.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: bigrafx
Date: June 11, 2007 01:05PM
I have a GE top freezer bottom refrig. After 9 yrs the food in the top was was starting to thaw and cover with extreme frost. After much searching I found that behind the back panel is a small motor w/ fan blade attached on shaft. It has some kind of compression fit which had worn out and the fan was not spinning(the motor was). Without the air moving none of the cold gets transferred around including into the bottom fridge part. New fan blade cost about $15. Been working for about 5 years now.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: June 11, 2007 03:49PM
I don't think replacing a fridge just based on its age is cost-effective.

I checked my 13 year old fridge's estimated energy consumption (based on its model number) using this site:

[www.homeenergy.org]

Using their adjustment for age mine costs about $80/year (for a large side-by side w/ ice/water dispenser)

A new, energy efficient equivalent model, (from Consumer Reports testing) has an operating cost about half that:

[www.greenerchoices.org]

So I'd save $40/year but the initial outlay would be $1000+ for a new fridge with the same features.

That's a terrible payback compared to something like relamping with CFLs.

And those only cost me $15 for a 6-pack.

I'd urge everyone to check energy use on your current appliances before replacing them simply to save energy, especially for something as expensive as a fridge.

So I'd not hesitate to buy a used, even 10 year old fridge for 1/10 the price of a new model.

>if they buy an old inefficient fridge, they'll soon pay the utility company much more



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/11/2007 03:55PM by Bill in NC.
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Re: OT: Refrigerator repair question
Posted by: davec
Date: June 11, 2007 09:55PM
sscutchen, modelamac and bigrafx: I sincerely appreciate your experience and technical expertise! Tomorrow morning I am planning to take a look at it to see if it is a job I should attempt (or hire an appliance tech). Bill in NC- you make some good points about the cost of a new refrigerator. I just checked Consumer Reports and was shocked at the cost of a new fridge! I do sincerely appreciate all of the helpful advice! I hope you all have a great evening!

Dave



...on the trailing edge of technology.
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