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My Whirlpool refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer works. My husband had packed the lower shelf of the freezer

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2013, 07:28 PM
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Exclamation Whirlpool Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Works
Model Number: ET1P87HKXPT02   Brand: Whirlpool   Age: More than 10 years   

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My Whirlpool refrigerator is not cooling but the freezer works. My husband had packed the lower shelf of the freezer and blocked the air vents. I am go to college out of town and am not home during the week. When I came home Thanksgiving weekend I found that the refrigerator was not cooling but the freezer seemed to be working. There was a great deal of frost and ice build up on the vents and the back wall of the freezer so I defrosed the freezer. It seemed to help with the cooling in the refrigerator for about 4 days but now the refrigerator is not cooling again. Could the build up of ice have caused one of the parts to go bad? I really can't afford to buy a new refrigerator or pay a large repair bill so any help or suggestions would be appreciated. This refrigerator was purchased new in 2004 or 2005.

Thank you in advance for any help.
Jacki


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 12-05-2013, 04:52 AM
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I cannot find any info on the given model number.
Please check it.

Are you sure it has the "87" in it as there is a unit without it that comes up.

Sounds like it may be a defrost problem.
The evaporator coils are clogged solid with ice/frost so that the evaporator fan cannot pull air through them.
Your manual defrost cleared them but the frost built up again over 4 days due to no auto defrost.
The symptoms show up first in the fresh food section and later in the freezer.

This is usually not that expensive to repair and if you are handy it is a DIY job.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:15 AM
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Thank you, denman.

I am not at home so I cannot double check the model number, but will do that when I get home this weekend.

What is the repair fix for this situation? Can we force the refrigerator to defrost or do we need to replace a part? I don't think that we completely defrosted the coils as it only took about 30 minutes to defrost the freezer (I only got rid of the build up in the freezer). My husband is going to completely empty the freezer and fresh food sections and unplug the unit to try to defrost it completely today.

Thank you so much for your help.
Jacki
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denman View Post
I cannot find any info on the given model number.
Please check it.

Are you sure it has the "87" in it as there is a unit without it that comes up.

Sounds like it may be a defrost problem.
The evaporator coils are clogged solid with ice/frost so that the evaporator fan cannot pull air through them.
Your manual defrost cleared them but the frost built up again over 4 days due to no auto defrost.
The symptoms show up first in the fresh food section and later in the freezer.

This is usually not that expensive to repair and if you are handy it is a DIY job.
My husband removed the food in the freezer and said that the back wall is covered with ice again. He is going to unplug the freezer and defrost it now.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:06 AM
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Check the model number and I should be able to help you troubleshoot the problem.
Remove the back panel in the freezer if the coils are clogged solid with frost/ice then it is a defrost problem.

Finding the model is important because some units use a defrost timer and others are electronic.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:11 PM
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My husband says the model # is ET1PHKXPT02. The refrigeratore is a top freezer model and it is bisque color. We bought it at Home Depot in 2004 or 2005.
He said the back wall of the freezer was covered with ice this morning. He cannot get the back panel off because the shelf will not come out.

Last edited by stefannsgirl : 12-05-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:13 AM
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Here are your parts
Parts for Whirlpool ET1PHKXPT02 Refrigerator - AppliancePartsPros.com
If you click on a parts picture or description a new page will open with more info about it.

See the attachment for the tech sheet.

Try the following.
If we assume that it is a defrost problem then try the following.
Do not let it defrost.

Manually force a defrost cycle by turning the defrost timer cam (Item 4 in Section 03) till the fans and compressor turn off.
There is usually a hole in the cover to let you do this without taking anything apart.
Now check the defrost heater to see if it is on.
You may be able to see a red glow or hear the water sizzling as it drips onto the heater.
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.
Do not let it stay in defrost for too long. If it does defrost but does not restart after 30 minutes then manually turn the timer to force it to start cooling again, otherwise too much heat can be produced.

If the heater does not come on.
Unplug the unit.
Remove the wire for one side of the heating element (Item 4 in Section 04) 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 (Item 34 in Section 03) 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.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf ET1PH.pdf (531.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:52 AM
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Thank you so much for the information, denman. We have already defrosted the refrigerator so we will wait and see if the problem happens again. I think the problem may have been my husband over-loading the freezer, but if it happens again we will know what to do.

Thank you for all of your help and your patience with me.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you.
Jacki
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