Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do You Really Need a New Refrigerator?



Before we Begin:

1-Is the receptacle hot and is the plug plugged in well. Either a meter or a lamp plugged into the same receptacle will determine if it is hot. Pull the plug from the receptacle
and check it for scorch, brown burn marks, or rough arc on the connecting prongs.

2-Check the inside of the freezer and cooling compartment and determine if the food is not permitting air flow through the vents for the evaporator fan. This has embarrassed many homeowners. An intake vent at the bottom of the freezing compartment and a vent into the cooling compartment must be free to allow air circulation.

3-Pull the toe plate (front bottom at floor level) and check the condenser coil for lint and foreign matter stopping the air flow under the refrigerator. Air must circulate.

4-Do the door seals really seal or are they broken or cracked.

5-Is the back panel of the inside of the refrigerator or freezing compartment iced. There may be frost on this back panel indicating a frozen evaporator coil.

Now we Begin:

The evaporator coil and fan (in a two compartment refrigerator) will be located in the rear of the freezer compartment. Remove all food from the freezer. Remove the racks and the ice maker if applicable. The ice maker is held in place by three tie points. Normally one is under the tray and two above. Either a Phillips #2 screw or ¼ or 5/16 nut driver will be needed.

The evaporator compartment is hidden by a back panel inside the refrigerator. This can be opened by removing the screws securing it. Is the evaporator coil frozen solid? Is the small circulating fan running? Often the circulating fan will be frozen in place with ice on the coil. If so free it and check that the fan operates. This fan can be unplugged and a continuity check made through the two motor leads to determine the condition of the fan motor. An inexpensive meter for $10 or more is all that is needed. Air over the coil keeps the evaporator coil free of ice and circulates the cold air into the cooling compartment. If the fan is bad, replace it, defrost the coil and resume the operation of the unit. This is normally all that is necessary.

Refrigerators (as with air conditioners) have two coils involved in the refrigeration process. Air must circulate over both of these coils for the unit to operate and cool. One

In these tests remember that air must pass over both coils to create a lower temperature.

Listen for the compressor. When the thermostat is lowered below the temperature present in the refrigerator the compressor should start and run until the temperature of the thermostat is satisfied. Often the sound you will hear is the fan that blows air across the condenser coil under the refrigerator.

It may be necessary to pull the unit from the wall and remove the black (normally cardboard or plastic) panel by removing the either ¼ or 5/16 hex screws. Feeling the compressor vibrate should enable one to determine if the compressor is running. One can normally hear the compressor and it will be warm to the touch. The smaller of the tubes leaving the compressor will be warm to hot.

If the condenser coil is under the refrigerator, there will be a small electric fan that pulls air across the coil when the compressor is running. It will be visible from the rear, inside the compartment exposed by removing the panel. This fan must run for the unit to operate. At this point check the coils for obstructions. Many times lint and other matter will block the air flow across the coils disallowing a good air flow. Air must circulate freely.

If this fan is not working, check the continuity of the wiring with an ohm meter and rotate the fan blade by hand to determine if a bad bearing in the motor has frozen. Disconnect refrigerator by unplugging the cord from the wall. The leads for the fan can be disconnected and continuity checked. No Continuity - bad motor. Frozen Bearing - bad motor. This motor is a sealed and self lubricated. A replacement will be available at any refrigeration supply house for $15 or so. I normally get supplies at First Choice.

Check out my website I carry many tools needed for appliance repair.


About The Author
Eddie Ellison - I am an electrician by trade,but have been involved in many types of construction and appliance maintance for most of my life. I am now retired, but have stayed involved in all of these activities on a part time basis.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home