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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Online Refrigerator Repair Manual
Refrigerator Diagnostic & Repair Guide
Problem Possible Causes
The fridge compartment is warm, but the freezer seems ok.
  • The defrost timer is stuck in defrost mode. Turn the little thumb screw CW and see if compressor starts. If compressor starts and temperature starts to pull down, replace the timer before your evaporator ices up...again.
  • If your refrigerator has an adaptive defrost control board instead of a mechanical defrost timer, the board might be fried.
  • The evaporator fan motor is fried. Open your freezer and see if you hear the fan motor running (on some models you need to hold down the door switch to run the fan). If not, you'll need to replace either the fan motor or the fan switch (if your fridge has one). How do you tell which one is bad? Kidneys.
  • The defrost heaters in the freezer are fried. How do you check? You got it: continuity. Another way is to put the fridge in defrost mode and measure the current draw with a clamp-on ammeter. Did I lose ya on that one, Hoss? You can also tell you got a defrost problem if you see a bunch of frost built up on the inside back wall of the freezer compartment. Read more about diagnosing defrost system failures.
  • The defrost thermostat is open. You know what to do.
  • Like 97% of appliance owners, you have the refrigerator cold controls set wrong.
Freezer keeps frosting up real fast.
  • Well, the defrosting system is crapped out. Check defrost timer, defrost heater, and defrost thermostat to locate faulty component. Read more about diagnosing defrost system failures.
  • A fried evaporator fan motor can cause this problem, too. Usually accompanied by a warming-up beer compartment.
The whole fridge just isn't as cold as it should be or it's warming up.
  • It ain't plugged in...duh!
  • No voltage at the outlet. Go ahead and check the simple things first. And make sure that circuit breaker ain't tripped.
  • Load of crap on the condenser coil. Pull the bottom grill off and get down on your hands and knees to look. And, Hoss, use a flashlight and a condenser brush if you need to clean the condenser.
  • The condenser fan motor (the one underneath) is fried. If it's not running, replace it even if it starts running when you start it off by hand. Oh, you may think you fixed it if you get it started again but, believe me, it'll crap out on you again real soon.
  • You should still check the stuff listed in the previous problem 'cause you might be in the early stages of defrost system failure and it just hasn't gotten that bad...YET.
  • The cold control is open (that's "thermostat" for those of you in Palm Beach). I like to jumper out the two wires on the cold control contacts. I don't know what you like to do but you're liable to get your gluteous flabeous shocked if you're not careful doing this.
  • The compressor ain't starting. This is the dreaded "hummm...CLICK" sometimes heard when a compressor can't start. There are several things to check if this is the case:
    • The compressor start relay could be fried. The newer solid state relays are especially bad for this.
    • One of the compressor motor windings is opened up. How do we check open circuits, boys and girls? That's right, we use our ohm meter. These should measure on the order of single digit ohms. The start winding should have slightly higher resistance than the run winding.
    • Current leakage from compressor motor winding to ground. You need to use a special instrument called a megohmmeter--a standard multi-meter won't tell you sh*t, Hoss. If you ain't got one or don't know what I'm talking about, forget it: call a pro 'cause you're in way over your head and I don't feel like 'splainin' it to your thick head.
  • You sprang a freon leak or you got an iceplug in the cap tube. You need to get some eyeballs on the evaporator to tell for sure. If this has happened, you're screwed. Go shopping.
  • The light could be staying on in the compartment. You'll need to check and replace that light switch.
  • Someone (kids usually) left the door ajar. "Oh no, I never do that." Yeah right, Bubba, I've heard it all before.
  • You sprang a freon leak or you got an iceplug in the cap tube. You need to get some eyeballs on the evaporator to tell for sure. If this has happened, you're screwed. Go shopping.
Fridge is leaking water all over the place.
  • The defrost drain opening or drain hose is plugged up with ice or crud. If the drip pan is bone dry, it's a sure sign that the drain opening or drain hose is clogged. Trace the drain hose back to see where it pick up the condensate in the refrigerator cabinet. Remove whatever pieces you need to to clean that sucker out.
  • Door gaskets are torn or not making good contact with the cabinet. No? Well then where's all that water coming from, Einstein? It can only come from the humidity in the outside air--your fridge can't make water, dontcha know.
[RV or Gas Refrigerator Only]
I opened the door and the smell of cat piss 'bout made me hurl that mess o' Spam and grits I just ate!
  • The cooling unit's rotten, Homer. Time to either buy a new cooling unit or have yours rebuilt. Word up: the cooling unit is 90% of the cost of your fridge, so plan out shelling out some serious jack if you buy a new cooling unit. Rebuilt means the cooling unit has been:
    • completely removed from the fridge cabinet,
    • stripped of urethane and had the boiler pack removed,
    • completely sandblasted,
    • repaired and rust-proofed/repainted,
    • reinstalled into the cabinet with fresh urethane.
[RV or Gas Refrigerator Only]
It cools fine on electric but doesn't get all that cold on gas.
  • Fouled or dirty gas burner. You should remove the brass orifice plug and clean it out with alcohol and compressed air. Brush off any crud on the burner face, too.

[RV or Gas Refrigerator Only]
Works on gas but not electric.
  • Burnt out heating element.
  • Corroded wire terminal connection.
  • Check for 120v AC or 12 v DC, depending on whether yours is a two-way or three-way fridge.

[RV or Gas Refrigerator Only]
Doesn't get cold on gas or electric.
  • Listen for a percolating sound in the boiler pack. If you hear it, your cooling unit replacement nightmare has begun.
  • Bad thermostat. Try jumping it out and see if the fridge will fire up.

Refrigerator Repair Revelations--REVEALED!

Common Problems with Refrigerators--EXPOSED!

Order Parts for Your Refrigerator--NOW!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 06:49 ET.  [permalink]
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Regarding ANY frig that runs a lot, or does't stop running, or runs but is not cold enough...

it is true that the light switch could be bad, (not opening with the door closed or has burnt together contacts or the wires to the switch contacts are touching each other or...

The door liner is not pushing in on a good door switch to open the contacts to the light, result: light stays on causing the frig to do all those bad thing already mentioned. Remedy: realign the door or replace a cracked or broken door liner, or... glue on a square of plastic to the liner to extend it so that it now activates the door switch plunger (pushes it in enough to make it disconnect power to the light)

Short cut: Quickly open the food section door and reach in and lightly touch the light bulb. If it is warm that means it is staying on all the time. Next press in the door switch. If light goes out, the door is not pressing in on the the light swich plunger, see above.

David Moses Techman

By Blogger Techman, at January 27, 2005 12:03 AM  

Good comment, Dave. Thanks for your contribution.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at January 27, 2005 12:06 AM  

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