refrigerator and freezer not cooling properly


Refrigerator & Freezer Repair

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Refrigerator side and freezer side are not cooling properly, and noticed ice buildup on freezer side at the back. Since

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-13-2011, 07:18 AM
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Default refrigerator and freezer not cooling properly
Model Number: 2538685894   Brand: Kenmore   Age: More than 10 years   

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Refrigerator side and freezer side are not cooling properly, and noticed ice buildup on freezer side at the back.

Since this unit is 13 yrs. old, is it worth repairing? What do you think is the problem?

Thank you.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-13-2011, 12:36 PM
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I cannot find any info on the given model number. Tried here, the sears site and the Frigidaire site.
Please check it.
If this is a non USA model info may not be available.

Try to see if it uses a defrost timer or an adaptive defrost board.
Timers may be located in the machine compartment under the unit often at the front.
They also mount them in the control console at the to[p of the fresh food section. There is often a hole to allow you to turn the cam with a screw driver.
The cam only turns in one direction.

For a timer system
First remove the evaporator cover in the freezer so you can see the coils.
Do not let them de-ice.
If they are heavily iced/frosted over you have a defrost problem.

If yes.
Manually force a defrost cycle by turning the defrost timer cam till the fans and compressor turn off.
Now check the defrost heater to see if it is on.
Be careful you do not want to burn your fingers.
If the heater is on then the timer needs replacing, re: it is probably stalling during it's rotation so is never getting into a defrost cycle.

If not on.
Unplug the unit.
Remove the wire for one side of the heating element from the wiring and measure it for continuity, usually around 20 ohms or so.

If the heater is OK
Remove one wire to the defrost thermostat and measure it, should be 0 ohms when frozen. Note that it opens just above freezing so must be frozen to check it. Also inspect it, if it is bulged at all replace it even if it measures OK.

If both the above are OK then odds are the defrost timer contacts are toast.
Best way to test this is a live test to see if you have 120 volts across the heater/defrost thermostat combo.

If you do not own a meter, I would suggest you purchase a one. You can get a decent digital multimeter for under $20.00. You do not need fancy though it is nice if the leads are a couple feet long.
If it saves ordering one unnecessary part it has paid for itself and you end up owning a useful tool.
Most places will not let you return electrical parts so if you order it, you own it.
A couple things to watch when measuring ohms and continuity
1. Always remove power from the machine otherwise you could blow your meter.
2. Always disconnect at least one side of any device you are checking. This eliminates the possibility of measuring an alternate/parallel circuit path.
3. When checking for closed contacts and continuity use the lowest scale (Usually 200 ohms). Then try higher scales. This scale is 0 to 200 ohms so if the device you are measuring is 300 ohms this scale would show an open circuit which it is not, you are just measuring outside the scale's dynamic range.

There is a good STICKY at the start of this forum about it's use.

Also here is a good link with basic fridge repair info which should come in handy. It has how to force a defrost with an adaptive board on most Frigidaires who actually made your unit. See #30.
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