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Old 07-04-2012, 10:47 AM   #1
bigdog
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Default Refridgerator issue, help!

FIrst, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4ht of July !

This is the greatest country on earth, and we've been blessed with freedom and liberties, others around the world, can only dream about.
"Live Free or Die", gotta love that slogan ! But I digress.....

Having a refridgerator issue, and of course it happens on a holiday....

Fridge is about 17 yrs old.... A side-by-side Amana, and has not had one issue since purchase, nada !

Woke up this morning to a fairly warm fridge, the non-freezer side, however the freezer side not as cold as usual.

The non-freezer side of fridge was blowing warm air, and now just stopped all together. The freezer side is still blowing cool air, but I'm seeing ice starting to melt, not a good sign.

All this said, my wife and I rushed to empty the entire contents of both sides of fridge, to second fridge located in basement. We use backup fridge to store beer, soda, etc, and use freezer section for seasonal items.

So back to my issue... I'll be calling applicance repair tomorrow for a house call, but any ideas what is happening to the fridge? Only thing I can think of is 'compressor' !

If it is the compressor, I'm sure it wil lbe costly, and wondering if that is the case, worth the investment? Again the Fridge is 17+ yrs old.
Can probably find a suitable replacement for about $1,000.

As always, your thoughts and suggestions apprecaited.

BTW, I did mange to find some space in backup fridge for at least a 6 pack of beer.
What would the 4th of July be, w/o some cold beer !

Thanks
Bigdog
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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When was the last time you cleaned the coils on the back or underside of the unit? They could be clogged, try that first, but I'm thinking 17 years, it might be kaput.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Default Refridgerator issue, help!

ITD,

I cleaned the fridge coils and all underneath of dust balls about a month ago.
Still clean.

I'm assuming the compressor died, but will wait for appliance service tech to tell me the bad news.


Thanks,
Bigdog
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Bigdog........you've made the right move.Whenever there is a refrigeration problem.First thing to do is PROTECT THE BEER.....without beer,there is not life.
Crown Appliance in Center Harbor is great with those problems....I've used him many times and he won't try to screw you......he'll tell you what's wrong even if it's not going to be a big repair for him.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #5
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Bigdog:........ My fridge is a Whirlpool. I bought it in 1978 when I moved in here.. It still works fine. I vacuum the coils every month or so...religiously. NB
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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Bigdog, sounds like a control issue to me, that being said, I'm not sure I'd put too much money in a 17 year old fridge. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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Default This could be fixed at no $$ - maybe.

This sort of thing has come up before. You can google it here and on other sites. Since you've already emptied the 'fridge, the next thing to do is either:

1. If you turned it off this am, look inside the bottom of the freezer side for any collection of melted frost. If you find this, it means one or perhaps two things. One is that there was a lot of frost built up on the evaporator coil, which would be hidden behind a metal or plastic panel. The other thing is, if the melt water came out to collect on the inside of the compartment, then the drain tube from the meltwater collection pan under the evaporator coil is clogged. If you don't see any meltwater in the bottom, then it likely drained properly to a pan under the refrigerator, from where the warm air blowing off the condenser coil evaporates it back into the room. If the unit has been off all day, likely any frost buildup on the evaporator coil has melted away and drained to the pan below. If this is the case, turn the unit back on, without anything in it. After 20-30 minutes, you should be able to tell if the freezer side is getting cold, then the compressor likely is not at fault. If it is getting cold, your unit may be ok without doing anything more. See explanation below.

2. If you have kept the unit "running" (whatever result that may be producing), turn it off. Look first for any evidence of big frost buildup on the evaporator coil, which would show as a roughly circular blob of visible frost on the panel covering the evaporator coil. This would a good sign, as it tells you that the refrigeration loop, compressor and all, is working just fine, and you have a defrost issue. Remove the racks, light bulb, and whatever screws you have to remove to get the cover off the evaporator coil. This ought to be on the bottom half of the freezer side, at the back. Be very careful not to cut yourself on the aluminum fins on the coil assembly, as they are razor sharp. If you see a good part of the coil assembly iced up, again this a good sign. A buildup of ice indicates the defrost cycle has not been taking care of the frost issue, and it keeps getting worse until the air circulation past the coil is blocked nearly completely, and you get the result you have.

If there was no frost on the coil, and running it for a while indicates no refrigeration (which you could tell by a thin film of frost forming on the coil), then you do indeed have a refrigeration malfunction, which could be the compressor or a loss of refrigerant.

If there was frost on the coil, then the machinery is ok, but the defrost timer or defrost heating element may be faulty, which is not a terribly costly fix, other than for the guy's labor.

There is another explanation, however, overloading of the defrost cycle. In one scenario, if the fridge or freezer door was left ajar, humid air from the room could overwhelm the evaporator coil and clog it with so much frost that the defrost cycle couldn't handle it. Enough cycles (two or three per day) and the coil could become plugged with ice, and only a manual defrost will cure the problem.

Another scenario (this has happened to us) is that the panel covering the coil is aluminum, and one of the shelves of food got overloaded, pressing something large and frozen up against the panel, which gets pushed in against the coil. In the defrost cycle, the brief time that the defrost heater is turned on is no longer enough. The heat is largely absorbed by the chunk of beef or whatever is pressed up against the coil. Again, enough cycles of failing to get rid of all the frost each time can lead to more and more plugging of the coil with ice until the air circulation is largely cut off.

If you found ice on the evaporator coil or you find that the coil can get cold enough to form frost, after you've done a manual defrost (use a hair dryer to speed things up) and turned the unit back on, then you can just let the whole thing cool down, reload it with food, and after a week or so look again at the evaporator coil. If the defrost cycle is working, there should be just minimal frost buildup on it, the result of just a few hours of operation since the last cycle. If the problem seems to have gone away, just be careful about stuff that blocks the doors from closing and about piling too much heavy stuff on the back edge of freezer side shelves.

Or, if you're unlucky, the unit has indeed conked out and you're out some cash. But that happens, too.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:05 PM   #8
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Default Save the BEER!!

MD:

I have use Crown Appliance for years. Good, honest folks.

Something to try. Pull the plug on the reffer (NO the refridgerator!) and let everything melt. Some times in high humidity the cooling passages to the ice box and reffer will ice up giving poor performance.

just a guess. If not, and crown can not fix it, it is time for the deap six.

Misty.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:36 PM   #9
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Default Refridgerator issue, help!

Reporting back....

FYI, my fridge is a side-by-side....
Cleaned all dust from front coils, then removed back panel of fridge. Actually not much dust collected behind there, much to my surprise.....

Anyway, fridge was shutdown for 12 hrs overnight, then plugged back in this monring. Lots of water had melted out from underneather by this time, even with using some cookie sheet pans to catch the water. What a mess !

It's also amazing what you find behind and underneath your refrigerator:
food, pencils/pens, notes, etc to name a few

Frirge 'freezer' side appeared to be running but sounded very sick, and not getting cold. Fresh food side of fridge, 'barely' running at all, and only warm air coming out of vents, on the side where milk stored.....

After reviewing with appliance repair folks, it looks like compressor was on it's last hearbeat, and would cost $300-500. Repair folks said, after 17yrs, the fridge didn't owe me anything, and I had to agree. That said I bit the bullet, and bought new fridge. Bought fridge, with freezer on the bottom this time, much more easier for us to access.....

Interestingly, I happened to have the original sales slip from 17 yr old fridge, and it was almost exactly the same amount whiich I paid today for new fridge unit. Same size unit too, Can you believe that ! New fridge has a much better inside configuration, and I'm sure new units have been made more efficient, and less costly to run.

Thanks for everyone's feedback, much apprecaited !


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Old 07-06-2012, 07:10 AM   #10
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I bought the same setup a few years back and don't like it as much as I expected too. Like the fridge on top but the freezer has a lot to be desired...
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpg View Post
I bought the same setup a few years back and don't like it as much as I expected too. Like the fridge on top but the freezer has a lot to be desired...
I have one of those too and am not as crazy about it as I thought. I had three before I got one that finally worked. The first one didn't work when it was delivered. The second one worked but the refrigerator didn't get cold enough but we didn't realize it until we had company who noticed. (Keep a thermometer in a new fridge until you know it is working properly. When something warms gradually you might not notice. Or we are just numb.) After a whole summer without a refrigerator while trying repairs, they finally replaced it and that one didn't get cold enough either. Finally I had enough of Electrolux and bought a Bosch and that works fine. Still, I think I like the old side by sides better. The on thing nice about these is you can fit bigger things in the freezer.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:23 AM   #12
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17 years is a good run.
Some of the older ones seemed to last 'forever'.

Amana was a brand owned by Maytag.
Magtay was purchased by Whirlpool.

There are basically 3 manufacturers in US.
Whirlpool
GE/Hotpoint
Electrolux

There are other brands with a smaller market.
Woods
Sub-Zero
Viking
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:50 AM   #13
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For $377 Sears in Plymouth can order you up a Kenmore 15 cubic foot standard frig without an ice-maker that is 28" wide and 61" high. The sale price of 377.99 is good thru July 7 and it is item 62622 at sears.com, and the regular price is 539.99.

Seems like a good fit for the small kitchens in cottage homes plus it probably uses less electricity than an older frig.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by songkrai View Post
17 years is a good run.
Some of the older ones seemed to last 'forever'.

Amana was a brand owned by Maytag.
Magtay was purchased by Whirlpool.

There are basically 3 manufacturers in US.
Whirlpool
GE/Hotpoint
Electrolux

There are other brands with a smaller market.
Woods
Sub-Zero
Viking
I have a Viking oven and I will never, ever buy another Viking appliance.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:07 AM   #15
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I have a freezer on the bottom.....never again A new fridge can run as low as $6 a month for electric ! I've had great luck with GE/Hotpoint products.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:52 AM   #16
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I'm unsure why people are being so negative about the kind of refrigerator BigDog already bought. After having a problem with their old refrigerator, that is how they solved it.
I wish you another 17+ years of enjoyment with your new refrigerator, BigDog!
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:04 PM   #17
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Don't forget either, that the refrigerant would cost more, the parts would cost more, and it would cost more to run.. Newer rigs have newer tech, better motors, (in some cases) better insul, available refrigerant.. So it's OK to get new fridge.. Some gear IS better the old way, not in this case....
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:53 PM   #18
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Default Refrigerator issue solved

New Fridge is sweet, looks good, so quiet I'm not sure it's running half the time, and most importantly, 'the beer is cold" !

We actually like the freezer unit on the bottom, but it's novel for us now, and we may change our minds about this down the road.....TBD? No offense taken on some negative feedback about that feature.

Anyway, everyone has their personal opinioins about this, and that's what makes the Winnie Forum great, 'we have the right to our own opinions"

If I can get another 17 yrs from the new fridge, I'll be thrilled !

Thanks again for you feedback.

Bigdog
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:14 AM   #19
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Default 17 years is nothing!

I have a 1938 GE refrigerator that my grandfather bought for 15 dollars in 1964 for the camp. It still runs fine, I do have a separate under counter freezer hidden to keep the ice cream frozen, but the old 38 keeps my beer nice and cold and I have never had to do anything in the way of maintenance. My wife is lobbying for a new frig but I am afraid that it won't last.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holeinthewall View Post
I have a 1938 GE refrigerator that my grandfather bought for 15 dollars in 1964 for the camp. It still runs fine, I do have a separate under counter freezer hidden to keep the ice cream frozen, but the old 38 keeps my beer nice and cold and I have never had to do anything in the way of maintenance. My wife is lobbying for a new frig but I am afraid that it won't last.
I have a feeling you will spend less with a new one (even if it were to fail) than you are now for the amount of energy the old one uses.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:48 AM   #21
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I am sure the old '38' is an energy hog, but being on an island, it is only in use from May to September. To replace it it will cost the price of the new frig ($500) plus the barge fees which will bring the total to around $1000 and I have to say good by to an old friend. I was 9 years old when I first laid eyes on the old beast and I am 57 now. So it will probably happen, I have to keep my wife happy, but it will be a sad day for me.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:00 PM   #22
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2 years ago I replaced a 15 year old fridge with a new one. LG french door, with 2 freezer drawers. We love the configuration, and I love the icemaker that I have never had before. I figure we save about $10 a month on electricity.
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holeinthewall View Post
I have a 1938 GE refrigerator that my grandfather bought for 15 dollars in 1964 for the camp. It still runs fine, I do have a separate under counter freezer hidden to keep the ice cream frozen, but the old 38 keeps my beer nice and cold and I have never had to do anything in the way of maintenance. My wife is lobbying for a new frig but I am afraid that it won't last.
Before you get rid of that old Antique, you might want to check the going price for one in "As Is" condition, and the price for one in restored (operating) condition. NB

http://www.antiqueappliances.com/mon...rigerators.htm

OR this style: 1938: http://www.onlineauction.com/index.p...ion_id=1305766
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