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Frost Free stopped working

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My friend's mother is 91 years old, a clean nut, and extremely fussy. Every year she insists that I unplug

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Old 06-07-2008, 03:08 PM
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Default Frost Free stopped working
Model Number: RT186EC01   Brand: White-Westinghouse   Age: More than 10 years   

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My friend's mother is 91 years old, a clean nut, and extremely fussy. Every year she insists that I unplug her fridge, place the fridge on a rug (so as not to scratch her ugly floor), pull the fridge forward (it doesn't roll on the rug), remove the fiber access panel (after unplugging the fridge) and manually wash the compressor, fan and everything that I can reach. (I wait at least 90 minutes for everything to dry from the damp rag before I plug the fridge back in.) I humor her, though I feel that if it isn't broke I should leave it alone. Anyway, a month ago I did my annual duty and she just informed me that her defrost isn't working. I'm assuming that it isn't working because there is approximately 1/2 inch of frost on the floor of the freezer. However, both the refrigerator and freezer are working just fine. Also, there is no water accumulating in her drip pan. My research shows that it might be a thermostat problem, etc. but I thinking that my cleaning may have done something. She wants to buy a whole new fridge and if she does I will never hear the end of it. Also, she say that she is going into a home "next year" so a new fridge would be a waste of money. I inspected the freezer's gasket and it seems to not be perpendicular on the hinge side of the door. But I did not feel any cold air leaking anywhere along the gasket. Is it possible that I pulled a wire from something? I can't find a wiring diagram anywhere.

What I felt and saw when I was facing the back of the box was the round black object which I assume is the refrigerant tank on the left, further to the left and behind was the fan assembly, and an empty space to the right of the tank. No coils are visible.

When I plugged the box back in, the fan immediately started and so did the compressor.

The freezer is set on 2 and the refrigerator is set on 3. And the dampness switch is set to on.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2008, 02:11 PM
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Remove the evaporator cover (back panel in the freezer) and check the drain (under the evaporator coil) for any clog. If it's frozen, you can use a hair dryer to defrost it.

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Old 06-08-2008, 11:27 PM
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Ok, I'm confused. A plugged drain can cause frost? Ok, how did this happen? The box was only unplugged for about 2 hours and the freezer was not opened. Where can I get a schematic for this box? I hate poking around blind.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:46 PM
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As soon as you will remove the evaporator cover and the freezer floor you should see what is going on there. The model number you posted does not come up and I'm not able to provide more accurate advise. Verify and repost the model number.

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Old 06-10-2008, 01:06 AM
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I called Electroluxe who inherited White Westinghouse and the tech says that the box was built in 1981. The Model is RT 186EC01 and the SN is REJ36648. How do I get the back wall out as I do not see any screws? There is a fan like diffuser in the middle from which the cold air emminates. This plastic must be real brittle by now. The tech had no further information for me. BTW, thanks for all of the help.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:13 PM
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Well, the evaporator cover was not at the back of the freezer but it was the ceiling of the refrigerator. The drain also snaked from the ceiling to the refrigerator's back wall. I pulled the drain cover off and there was indeed a frozen plug of water. It took about 5 minutes with the hair dryer and a good poke with a screwdriver to dislodge it. But that's the good news. The bad news is that my friend's mother greeted me with the news that her food wasn't freezing and that her ice cubes were water. After removing the plug, the freezer and refrigerator were pretty warm so cranked up the freezer setting from 2 to 7 and closed the doors. The compressor didn't shut off for three hours. I told my friend's mother not to open the freezer until tomorrow. If the ice cubes are frozen and the frost is gone, then everything is good. If not, she may want to buy a new box. Oh, after the compressor shut off, there was no other sound. My friend's Mom commented upon the loud sound, which I presume to be the defrost fan, which hadn't been heard for quite a while. It must be pretty loud since she is partially deaf. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:34 PM
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Sounds like there is a problem with the cooling (sealed) system. It could be low on Freon or a restriction in the line. Such problems must be fixed by an authorized tech. Due to age and relatively small size of the refrigerator I believe it is not worth to fix it.

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Old 06-14-2008, 11:31 PM
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Yeah. I agree. I bought her a new box on Friday. Did you receive my call?
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:31 PM
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Yes, I received your message. Sorry, I did not return your call because this phone number is for service purpose only.

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:12 PM
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I was calling for service. We were willing to pay for a service call and parts but when we didn't hear we decided that a new box would probably be best.
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