Question about Kenmore 53642 / 53644 Side by Side Refrigerator

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Refrigerator and freezer not cooling but lights are on and motor

My 5yr old Kenmore Elite refrigerator's warranty was up in Nov., the motor is very loud and the freezer and refrigerator defrosted and is not cooling. Would you know what the problem is?

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  • larrycmathis Dec 29, 2008

    I have this same problem but when it starts making funny noises the compressor stops working I wait about 3 hours and turn it back on it would work for about 8 hours and then the same process is repeated. my model # is 599.52673202 Kenmore

  • Anonymous Apr 09, 2009

    same problem as stated, lights on, motor dead. fridge is two years old.

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It's not cool If the refrigerator isn't cool, you need to answer some questions, then see if the compressor is running.

First, answer these questions:

  • Is the refrigerator completely dead? If so, see “It's stopped completely.”


  • Is the thermostat knob turned to the proper setting? If not, reset it.


Next, see if the compressor motor is running

The compressor is a football-sized case with no apparent moving parts. It's on the outside of the refrigerator at the back near the bottom. If it is humming or making a continuous noise and your refrigerator is still not cooling, there may be a more serious problem with one or more of several different components, we recommend contacting a qualified appliance repair technician for further help.

If the compressor is not running but you do have power to the refrigerator, there may be a problem with one or more of these:

  • The compressor


  • The Thermostat


  • The overload, relay, or capacitor


  • The defrost timer


  • The condenser fan motor


Cooling is poor For an overall understanding of how refrigerators should work, read about refrigerators in the How Things Work section of our website. A refrigerator or freezer that is cooling, but cooling poorly, may have a problem in one of several areas:

Evaporator coils
Condenser
Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils or a condenser that is clogged with dust, lint, and dirt. 

Evaporator coils Poor cooling is often the result of a heavy frost build-up on the evaporator coils. You can't see these coils without removing a panel on the inside of your freezer. A sure sign that there is a build-up is the presence of any frost or ice build-up on the inside walls, floor, or ceiling of the freezer. Such a frost build-up usually indicates a problem in the self-defrosting system or damaged door gaskets.

The refrigerator is supposed to self-defrost approximately four times in every 24 hour period. If one of the components in the self-defrosting system fails, the refrigerator continues to try to cool. Eventually, though, so much frost builds up on the evaporator coils that the circulating fan can't draw air over the coils. There may still be a small amount of cooling because the coils are icy, but with no air flow over the coils, cooling in the refrigerator compartment is quite limited.

Here's an inexpensive, though inconvenient, way to determine if the problem is with the self-defrosting system. Remove all of the perishable food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn the thermostat in the refrigerator to Off, and leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours. (Be sure to have several towels ready in case the melting frost and ice causes the drip pan to overflow). This allows the refrigerator to defrost "manually." When the frost and ice build-up has completely melted away, turn the thermostat back to a normal setting. If the refrigerator then cools properly, it indicates a problem with one of three components in the self-defrosting system:

  • The defrost timer


  • The defrost thermostat (also called the bi-metal switch)


  • The defrost heater


If it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level or the compressor. You may need to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician to further diagnose the problem 

Condenser Self-defrosting refrigerators all have a set of coils and a cooling fan, usually under the refrigerator, that need to be cleaned regularly. If these coils get coated with dust, dirt or lint, the refrigerator may not cool properly. The coils may appear to be a thin, black, wide radiator-like device behind the lower kick-panel. To clean them, disconnect the refrigerator from the power source, use a refrigerator condenser brush (see the Appliance Accessories section) and your vacuum cleaner to clean the coils of any lint, pet hair, etc. You may not be able to get to all of the condenser from the front, it may be necessary to clean the remainder of the condenser from the rear of the refrigerator

Posted on Dec 06, 2008

  • masterexpert Dec 06, 2008






    It's noisy

    Noise can come from these areas:

    The inside of the freezer
    The outside back of the refrigerator
    The bottom of the refrigerator



    The inside of the freezer

    Self-defrosting refrigerators use a circulating fan to move the air through the freezer and refrigerator compartments. This fan runs whenever the unit is cooling. The fan is located in the freezer, as follows:



    • If the freezer is on top, the fan is on the back wall, near the top or bottom, in the center of the freezer.



    • If the freezer is on the bottom, the fan is on the back wall, near the top of the freezer.



    • If the freezer is on the left, the fan is on the back wall, halfway up or near the top.


    Over time, the fan may become noisy--usually making a chirping or squealing sound, though it may make a loud groaning noise instead. 

    To find out if the fan is causing the noise, just open the freezer door and push in any fan/light switches. If the noise is louder when the door is open, the evaporator fan motor is the cause. You can't lubricate or repair this motor. You must replace it.




    The outside back of the refrigerator

    There are three components on the outside back of the refrigerator that may become noisy: the compressor, the condenser fan motor (if self-defrosting), or the defrost timer (if self-defrosting). 



    • The compressor is a football-sized case with no apparent moving parts. You can see it on the outside of the refrigerator at the back near the bottom. It is usually black and has black or copper-colored tubes and various colored wires attached to it. If the compressor is the device making noise, there is probably no repair that will reduce the noise. You will have to replace it--which can be quite costly.



    • If the condenser fan is making noise, there may be a build-up of lint or other debris on the fan blade. The fan is located near the back of the machine, sometimes behind a thin panel. To clean it, first unplug the refrigerator, remove the thin panel, and use a soft bristle brush to clean it. If there is no lint build-up or debris on the blade, you will have to replace the motor.



    • The defrost timer is often located at the bottom of the refrigerator, near the front and behind the kick plate. Occasionally the electric motor inside the timer may become noisy. The timer must be replaced to solve this problem.





    The bottom of the refrigerator

    Noises detected at the bottom of the refrigerator almost always originate from the back of the refrigerator. However, sometimes the drain pan under the refrigerator will rattle. You may need to tape the pan in place to stop a rattle. Also see the “Outside back of the refrigerator.”


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