View Full Version : OT - Fridge/freezer woes

08-05-2011, 10:38 AM
My freezer has an icemaker. Opened the freezer to find a combination of water dripping from the icemaker (but no leak that I can find - more like condensate running down vertical surfaces), ice accumulation and thawed or partially thawed food. Pulled the cover over the coil and it was completely clogged with ice/frost. Tested the door seal all around on a piece of paper -it grips enough to produce noticeable resistance to pulling it out but not enough 'hold' to prevent removing the paper.

The refrigerator part (side-by-side) is working normally - ie it cools with no frost/ice buildup. The door seal test gives similar results.

Have thawed out the freezer coil & removed all ice/water. Closed it up - no food & icemaker turned off - set thermostat to its usual setting & I propose to let it do its thing for several hours.

Frost buildup to me means poor door seal or low refrigerant charge (maybe both?) If low charge is to blame would there be a separate cooling system for the freezer? There is only one compressor.

Ideas, pls

08-05-2011, 10:51 AM
If your coil has frozen, your not low on refridgerant. I would check that the air circulation fan on the freezer side is operating properly. If your not getting enough airflow across the cooling coil, it can't pull the heat from the freezer box and could cause it to freeze up, which will reduce cooling ability even more.
Was the freezer in need of defrosting? Too much frost buildup over time can and will reduce the cooling capability.

edit: don't run the freezer empty - put a couple of jugs of water in there and see if they freeze. That will give you a better idea of how well things are working.

08-05-2011, 11:01 AM
I agree with the above post.

I had a similar problem with my top freezer refrigerator. The problem was the fan, no cold air getting into the freezer. I think the replacement fan was about 20.00.

good luck

08-05-2011, 11:05 AM
If its a newer model with the electronic control board
It probably is the controller chip board, computer and the chips cause the defrost cycling not to work correctly. In the last 6 years since we replaced the fridge. The controller that does the temps and defrost and all the other functions, has been replaced 3 times about every two years. The service guy that comes out we have house call service from the gas company(has been worth every penny) showed me that the software was on revision M stamped on the board, the old one was I or G Don't know if I have it still.
Being the new control board type there should be a small clear packet that holds the operating and trouble shooting pages for the board. Mine is under the front near and behind the air intake for the coils/compressor.

By the way these new fridges are crap. The compressors and other equipment are at the smallest limit possible and still do the minimal job on any fridge that costs under $1,400 bucks. according to a salesmen and the service man.

The service guy said they carry a dozen of the boards on the truck as it is the biggest problem.

The coil freezes up and then the unit doesn't cool I bought two thermostats one for the fridge section and one for the fridge section. So I can keep an eye on it.

The last time it quite it was two years to the day, that it was replaced.

If you can't find the packet, Look on the back side of the fridge looks l;ike a packing slip clear envelope try the makers web site they should have one on line.

Mike P
08-05-2011, 11:10 AM
Don't forget to check the defrost heater(s) themselves. Those are the glass covered electric elements that run across the cooling coils that turn on a few times a day to melt off the ice. It's an easy continuity check with a multimeter. The one I replaced was in the $40-$60 range.

08-05-2011, 12:08 PM
If you put too much food in the freezer and block the air flow of the fan it will freeze ice inside the walls and clog up air flow. Even with food removed ice in wall air passages will still have air flow stopped up. If the ice gets into the air circulating fan it can burn up the fan motor.

Pull the plug out of the wall turn the frig off and open all the doors for 24 hours. Let all the ice melt. Then turn it on see if the fan motor is running. If the fan is running see if air is circulating.

This is a very common problem that screws up the automatic defrost cycle. It can cause water to run down the walls and it can even make it look like it is raining inside the refrigerator.

It is rare that the defrost thermostate goes bad but it can go bad.

08-05-2011, 01:13 PM
At the back of every fridge freezer in the fridge compartment is a drain ..this drain gets blocked ..the drain takes condensate away and evaporates it in a tray on top of the motor.

The drain leads to a pipe that ends above the tray ..

The pipe grows mould ..then the problems start .

Once pipe and drain hole cleaned ..teaspoon of bleach or detol, down the pipe every couple of months will cure it ..

Magnetic seals ..these can get accumulations of dirt on them between the folded layers stopping them working right.

plus if its a "frost free fridge/freezer" check you are not obstructing the fan...or the fan is still working

all the best.markj

Ron of Va
08-06-2011, 06:58 AM
I have encountered this kind of problem on three different refrigerators.

I replaced the defrost limit switch (AKA defrost limit thermostat), and in each case it solved the problem. When it gets stuck, it keeps the defrost heater on, which is supposed to cycle on and off. Cost is about $15-$20. Here is a good link.

It could also be the timer keeping the heater on too long. But I first replaced the defrost limit switch and it solved the problem.

08-06-2011, 07:49 AM
Appreciate all the info. Will start working down the list.

08-06-2011, 04:58 PM
My fridge has the occasional defrost problem, which I have found is linked to the humidity in the air. When it's very humid, the erratic defrost cycle doesn't work well enough to get rid of ice on the evaporator. Once it builds up and disrupts air flow, temperature regulation goes out the window. The evaporator gets very cold and the fridge warms up. The motor continues to run because the fridge is warmer than it should be. The defrost cycle doesn't have enough btus in it to de-ice the colder-than-normal evaporator.

The odd time, the defrost cycle sticks on longer than normal. If the evaporator in not clogged in ice, I walk into the kitchen to a pool of water on the floor.

The upshot of all this is that my 'frost-free' fridge requires me to check the evaporator, especially in humid conditions, and do my own defrosting. Ice will build up very quickly when it's humid, and it's contributed to when I'm making ice cubes. I never knew before that ice cubes would fade away in the freezer if you didn't use them for a couple weeks. Where does that water go- it adds to the build-up problem on the evaporator.