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Kenmore Fridge & Freezer Are Warmer Than Normal

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Howdy all, I have a Kenmore fridge - about 12 years old - that is eating my lunch! According to

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Old 11-21-2013, 08:23 AM
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Default Kenmore Fridge & Freezer Are Warmer Than Normal
Model Number: 363.78287891   Brand: Kenmore   Age: More than 10 years   

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Howdy all,

I have a Kenmore fridge - about 12 years old - that is eating my lunch!

According to the thermocouple on the DVM, the avg temps over a several hour period were: freezer is 25.2F and the fridge is 60.1F.

A couple weeks ago the ice maker (a "CAN9", in freezer compartment, not door) quit. Not filling ice tray. I tested and replaced the pressure solenoid because measured of spec. YouTube video said should around 500 - 1500 ohms. It was like 150, so I called it bad. Used a quality DVM for testing .

But wait! It gets worse! Probably within 48 hours of that time I noticed the fridge compartment was not as cool as should be.
Some additional symptoms:
Evaporator fan runs 24 x 7
Compressor runs " x "

I vacuumed coils on bottom of fridge, they were quite nasty. The coils are warm to the touch, but not hot. No big performance change after vacuum.

Two nights ago, in desperation I've "exercised" all controls (fridge temp, freezer temp, energy saver), then restored to max cool positions.

Yesterday, the fridge was down 10 to about ~ 50. Interesting... Still... not cold enough, and no ice is making in the freezer.

Does this sound like a replaceable "part" issue or a Freon level issue (or either / neither!?)?

So do I want to have a "trained professional" come (and possibly tell me a need a new fridge!) or am I better off to save my $ towards a new one? Or is there a replaceable component I should look at / test first?

All hints, tips, suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Advance thanks!!

Pete


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-21-2013, 08:25 AM
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I suspect you have an air flow issue. Can you hear a fan running in the freezer section? Can you see any frost on the back wall inside the freezer?
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appliance Ninja View Post
I suspect you have an air flow issue. Can you hear a fan running in the freezer section? Can you see any frost on the back wall inside the freezer?
Thanks for taking the time to reply, you're the one & only reply I got!

As of today, things are pretty much the same.

Fridge was averaging 50.5F and freezer air at duct is 21.8F. Ice cream near the front of the freezer compartment is semi-liquid. I checked the freezer compartment. Yes there is a fan blowing there, quite possibly all the time (every time I checked it). I didn't see any frost on back wall of freezer compartment (should there be?).

What's interesting to me, there's no real change. Not getting worse or better. I'm thankful for that, but would like to get things back to normal.

Any further comments, ideas, etc., are GREATLY appreciated.

--Pete
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appliance Ninja View Post
I suspect you have an air flow issue. Can you hear a fan running in the freezer section? Can you see any frost on the back wall inside the freezer?
Thanks for taking the time to reply, you're the one & only reply I got!

As of today, things are pretty much the same.

Fridge was averaging 50.5F and freezer air at duct is 21.8F. Ice cream near the front of the freezer compartment is semi-liquid. I checked the freezer compartment. Yes there is a fan blowing there, quite possibly all the time (every time I checked it). I didn't see any frost on back wall of freezer compartment (should there be?).

What's interesting to me, there's no real change. Not getting worse or better. I'm thankful for that, but would like to get things back to normal.

Any further comments, ideas, etc., are GREATLY appreciated.

--Pete
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:40 PM
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Can you remove the panel from the back of the freezer, inside the freezer section, please? Once removed, you will see an aluminum evaporator coil. Is the frost on that coil in one small area or evenly on the entire coil?
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appliance Ninja View Post
Can you remove the panel from the back of the freezer, inside the freezer section, please? Once removed, you will see an aluminum evaporator coil. Is the frost on that coil in one small area or evenly on the entire coil?
I will do this tonight and get back to you. I appreciate your patience and follow-through!

Cheers,

--Pete
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:02 PM
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Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kudzu_kid View Post
I will do this tonight and get back to you. I appreciate your patience and follow-through!
I managed to transfer all most of the frozen food from the freezer to a full size freezer ("spare") we have in the garage. I then got the back off (not an easy task for a non-appliance guy, but I did it!). Don't think I broke anything!

I had the freezer compartment door open for several minutes while I transferred food & disassembled (removed ice maker, etc). That said, once I got the back off, I would say the frost was pretty evenly distributed. I'm going to let the interior temp stabilize and see if I can snap a quick pict for you. As I recall, at least every "row" of the coil had frost on all or most of it.

What I don't get is, if it were a Freon prob as some amateur friends have commented on, wouldn't it have ALL leaked out by now? Even if it were a "slow leak". Not pretty suddenly go from "normal" op to mediocre op and just stay there. At least that doesn't make sense to me, but I'm still learning! I make my living in IT, not appliance repair. I do have fair mechanical skills and above average electronics skills and training. No refrigeration tools though.

One thing no one's commented on: Is it coincidence that the ice maker quit a day or two before we noticed the temp shift or is there something that tells the ice maker "Hey quit making ice, it won't freeze anyhow, it's too warm in here"? Or am I overthinking this (I do that a lot!).

Again my thanks for sticking with me on this!

Cheers,

--Pete
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:16 PM
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The ice maker will not run until the thermostat in it closes at around 15* F. If the frost pattern was even on the coil, it is not likely a refrigerant issue. Was the frost blocking the coil? Is the fan running fast to move the air?
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:10 AM
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Is the compressor running all the time except when the unit goes into a defrost cycle.
Note that during defrost the compressor, it's fan and the evaporator/freezer fan will all be off. defrost usually lasts about half an hour.
This may also be the case when the control thermostat opens.
You can usually hear it but should also be able to feel it vibrating.

Is the condenser/compressor fan running?
It should be on whenever the compressor is on.

If the compressor is cycling then it is probably a control problem.

If the compressor is on all the time then it could be :
A sealed system problem. Compressor or low freon see below.
A defrost problem. The coils get clogged solid with ice and frost so that the evaporator fan cannot pull air through them and therefore it does not cool down enough.
An evaporator/freezer fan problem either not running or not running correctly.
A large door seal leak.

Below is a link with info on a compressor running all the time.
Take a look at the example pictures half way down the page.
http://www.applianceaid.com/refriger...old-enough.php

Note when checking for frost on the evaporator coils make sure that the compressor has run for at least an hour. If you check them during or shortly afted a defrost cycle then you may reach the wrong conclusion.
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