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Freezer only cooling to 20 degrees F

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I am troubleshhoting a 9 year old Kenmore refrigerator (model 596.79279993) with the freezer on the bottom. The freezer will

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Old 11-24-2008, 08:35 AM
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Cool Freezer only cooling to 20 degrees F
Model Number: 596.79279993   Brand: Kenmore   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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I am troubleshhoting a 9 year old Kenmore refrigerator (model 596.79279993) with the freezer on the bottom. The freezer will not get below plus 20 degrees F, even when thermostat in both the fridge and freezer are set to maximum cold (7 on the dial). The condenser coils are totally clean, conderser fan is running, evaporator coils are clean (no ice) and the evap fan is running, air flows into fridge from freezer like it is suppose, lights in fridge and freezer shut off when doors are closed (like they should), compressor runs continuously, sounds normal, slight hum can be felt when placing your hand on it. Compressor surface is about 10 degrees above ambient, condenser coils feel like they are at ambient temperature. Auodefrost timer rotates over time, it shuts off the compressor and runs the defrost heater as it should.

I think the uit is either low on refrigerant (takes 4.5 ounces of 134a) or the compressor is going bad. Am I on the right track? I see on your web site a compressor kit Part Number: AP3179962
Manufacturer's Number: 8201558 (10927206) made by WHIRLPOOL. Does this kit come with installation instructions? How do I know what the high and low side pressures should be when properly charged with the right amount of refrigerant?


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Old 11-24-2008, 10:14 AM
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It sounds like a freon leak, which will require a EPA certified technician for repair.

Nat
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts. Woudl you attempt to have someone find the leak or send this unit to the landifll and spend $2000 to buy a new one?
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:22 AM
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I would have a tech check it out and if it is a sealed system problem it's still cheaper to repair than replace.
Nat
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:40 AM
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If the tech. can find a minor leak with flourescent die, it's worth fixing. If a bad compressor plus leaky evaporator, a $600 repair cost would be more than the fridg. is worth.
There is still a probability it may fail again from some other problem; so for many customers, it's not worth it.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:59 AM
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Here is a site with indicators of low freon
http://www.applianceaid.com/frig_notcold.html

Check out the Example pictures at the bottom of the main text.

Try checking the coils after the unit has been running for 2 or 3 hours without a defrost.
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