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fozngoof
Premium
join:2003-07-08
Temple, TX

Refrigerator not cold, but freezer is working

Just wondering where to even start.

I have a Kenmore with the fridge on top and the freezer on bottom. It is about 13 years old.

The top part is not cooling anymore, but the freezer is working just fine.
I have another, considerably older, fridge in the house that works, so I had put this on the back burner for about a week but I need to get it working.

Any ideas?

Thanks


joe40

join:2005-11-26
Danbury, CT
it can be a fan issue or just block up with ice
try de-frosting it
Is the coils on bottom free of dust?

but 13 year is a long time to a Refrigerator that only last 15 years

Crescent
Premium
join:2003-01-22
canada
reply to fozngoof
I fixed a fridge like that, same problem, warm fridge, cold freezer on the bottom, for a lady friend once.

There is a fan that moves the cold air around, you normally hear it if you fool the fridge into thinking the door is shut (switch, magnetic sensor, or what ever) You know you have the switch when the light inside goes out.

I just kept taking covers off on the back, insulation, what ever screws I could find until I found the fan.
A bit of masking tape on the covers, an arrow pointing up or to the front makes assembly easy.

A wire came off.
I think I found the fan under the bottom of the upper fridge part under some pre-cast Styrofoam.
It could be the fan motor, or a thermostat that runs the fan. Lucky for me I found the problem.

Each part you take off, get the wife to clean it inside and out, dry them, before you reinstall.

When finished, she got a working fridge, a clean fridge, clean under and behind fridge.
I did not have to drag a new fridge into her place or get rid of the old one.
Yeah she did thank me another way too, but no talking about that.

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
reply to fozngoof
Blockage or fan issue as said earlier.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to fozngoof
There should be a damper that allows cold air to go from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment. Make sure the damper is working properly and the air vent into the refrigerator compartment is not blocked.

My in-laws had a similar problem because they had a pack of Corona on the top shelf blocking the cold air inlet.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to joe40
said by joe40:

but 13 year is a long time to a Refrigerator that only last 15 years

A refrigerator should easily last 25 or 30 years.

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
reply to fozngoof
The bottom line, OP, is that likely there's no major problem with the fridge since the freezer is working and that's where the fridge gets its cool air. You just have to find the path from the freezer to the fridge.


joe40

join:2005-11-26
Danbury, CT
reply to Bobcat79
said by Bobcat79:

said by joe40:

but 13 year is a long time to a Refrigerator that only last 15 years

A refrigerator should easily last 25 or 30 years.


that would be great but i never had one in my apartments that went past the 15 year mark.
none of them was a bottom freezer type

Do you know one that lasted that long?.



Steve
I know your IP address
Consultant
join:2001-03-10
Foothill Ranch, CA
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to fozngoof
said by fozngoof:

so I had put this on the back burner for about a week

Isn't putting your refrigerator on top of your stove kinda counterproductive?



fozngoof
Premium
join:2003-07-08
Temple, TX
reply to fozngoof
Thanks guys.

I will pull stuff out of the freezer and let it defrost all the way, and while it is doing that it seems to be a good time to tear into the back and clean everything in sight. I can pretty much guarantee nothing but the inside has been cleaned in the past decade of so.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to joe40
said by joe40:

that would be great but i never had one in my apartments that went past the 15 year mark.
none of them was a bottom freezer type

Do you know one that lasted that long?.

I've had my Whirlpool top-freezer model for just over 15 years.


Tappedout

@cuyahogalibrary.net
We had a fridge growing up that lasted at least 20 years.


Anon9876

@teksavvy.com
reply to joe40
said by joe40:

Do you know one that lasted that long?.

I had a frigidaire that my grandmother bought new in 1948. After she died it went into my basement. Ran fine for ten years. I sold it (still working) in 2008. Also, had one in my kitchen that I bought new in 1973, and replaced in 2003 only because I couldn't tolerate the color anymore.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to Bobcat79
said by Bobcat79:

said by joe40:

that would be great but i never had one in my apartments that went past the 15 year mark.
none of them was a bottom freezer type

Do you know one that lasted that long?.

I've had my Whirlpool top-freezer model for just over 15 years.

I had a 2 prong, freezer top, non-self defrosting GE fridge from the late 1960s, magnetic door not mechanical, similar to this
»store.vintagepaperads.com/servle···t/Detail

Worked until its final day in 2008, when it was tossed for having a mold problem from lack of self defrosting, and having 30v AC from door handle to outlet ground pin. Nobody knew until one day I randomly checked pipes in the basement for stray amperage from boredom. I noticed .75 amp of power with clamp ampmeter on the natural gas line going to the kitchen, fridge was touching a capped off gas stub. Putting the fridge on a GFCI portable and shorting handle to ground blew the GFCI. The fridge never failed in cooling.


Archer0T8
aka UnrealArcher

join:2005-01-21
East York, ON
reply to fozngoof
Might seem like a stupid question, but... what is the temperature setting for your freezer?

I've discovered on my Frigidaire that, if I set the freezer to maximum cold, it closes off the air ducts to the fridge section to prevent the fridge from robbing it of cold air. Of course, I discovered this when everything in my fridge began to spoil.

Setting the freezer thermostat to about halfway opens the ducts back up again... and cools off the fridge.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by Archer0T8:

Might seem like a stupid question, but... what is the temperature setting for your freezer?

I've discovered on my Frigidaire that, if I set the freezer to maximum cold, it closes off the air ducts to the fridge section to prevent the fridge from robbing it of cold air. Of course, I discovered this when everything in my fridge began to spoil.

Setting the freezer thermostat to about halfway opens the ducts back up again... and cools off the fridge.

I agree. The labels are the opposites. The "colder freezer" knob is the mechanical damper. The "colder refrigerator" knob is the electrical thermostat. So if I set "colder refrigerator" to "coldest", the freezer gets cold, not the fridge. Who on earth made these dials? It must be a conspiracy by big agriculture to make the food rot in your fridge faster jk jk


fozngoof
Premium
join:2003-07-08
Temple, TX

1 recommendation

reply to fozngoof
Ended up opening it up and seeing lots and lots of ice.

So left it open for a day and a half to defrost everything. (Over a 100 here every day, so 1.5 days is probably overkill)

Cleaned ever thing real well, and restarted. Just like having a brand new fridge. Beer is colder than it has been in years!

Thanks for all the input. Turned out to be a very simple solution, for what I thought might cost an arm or two.

Appreciate it!!


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Now the big question...why did it ice up? Defrost timer, heaters? Unless the cause is found it will do it again.

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to fozngoof
Check your defrost timer, defrost thermostat, or heater coil. We went through this with our fridge. After about a week it would ice up and not cool well. Ended up being the defrost thermostat. Replaced it a month ago and it's back to normal. Part was about $40 and my labor was, well, free.

If you don't figure why it's not defrosting, it will happen again.


fozngoof
Premium
join:2003-07-08
Temple, TX
Ok...

where are those? (Defrost timer, thermostat, heater coil)

All the external covers had lint/dust/etc all on them. I cleaned them, and assumed that is why it froze up. But, you know what they say when you ASSuME


treetop1000

join:2003-11-07
Lexington, KY

3 edits
reply to fozngoof
READ ME
(rather long, but true)

You might have a defrost timer stalled. It's a tiny electrical switch driven by an old-style mechanical electric motor at really low speed.
Same type as runs most everything requiring a timer to run, typically seen as a large dial that advances thru different settings. In a clothes washer, it controls the time the wash cycle is on and then the rinse cycle, and so on. It's mechanical, so it does wear out. Switch longevity isn't a big problem, these timers have a life expectancy in the hundreds of thousands of hours.

Here's the fail point: when the timer above quits working, it may cause other stuff to stop as well. up to and including fans, compressors and the heat elements mentioned below.

a partial fix is advancing the defrost timer thru it's steps, until the switch controlling the process either closes or opens. as simple as using a small flat blade screwdriver to turn the little shaft that the switch is riding...
This switch will usually be located somewhere there's easy access to it, and mounted so it can be removed without disassembling the entire refrigerator.

The defroster will no longer work right after this timer goes out. six months down the road, you'll probably have to defrost the refrigerator manually...

The defrost timer controls the door seal heat elements. Ever notice how the edge of the frame where the door seal touches gets warm sometimes? That's by design. There's a low power heat element inside, under the edge that gets warm. It's made that way to dry off the water vapor (as in humidity) that condenses on the seal surface where warm room air touches cold refrigerator parts. Warming the seal area evaporates that condensation and eliminates the buildup of ice crystals that eventually cause the seal to fail and allow room air into the refrigerator (when the door is closed). (Then you have a non-Frostless freezer and you'll eventually have to defrost it the old way, with a pickaxe and dynamite)

That being said, I'd consider a good look at the overall condition of the entire system. Today's refrigerators are the best examples I can find of machines that nearly run forever, trouble free throughout their intended lifetime. There are exceptions and yours might be one of those that's just worn out. I do want to warn you that you could be looking at serious money replacing any/all parts in a quest to find the one bad part that could be causing this trouble.
It's not a crime to get rid of an old refrigerator. There are places to dispose of them.
I recently purchased a new unit and less than a week later, found the same identical model at a second hand shop for less than 25% of what I paid. It was a year older than mine, and came from someone who donated it to the second hand shop so they could buy a new, color-coordinated kitchen-matching model they liked.

You might want to check around and see if there's one out there.
Might be a whole lot cheaper than having the repair man over....