Question about Refrigerators

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Amana bottom freezer refrigerator - only freezer is working

Only the freezer is working... is now starting to build up frost in freezer. Have swept the coils and checked the air flow in fridge - nothing is blocked. When I open the freezer, cold air flows into fridge. When we close freeze, air flow stops. Any place on the freezer that can be blocking the fridge getting cold air? We have an Amana Model #BC21VL.

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  • 3 more comments 
  • linda488 Dec 21, 2008

    If there was a freon leak, I don't believe the freezer would be working either. Any other ideas?

  • linda488 Dec 21, 2008

    Your answer says "If the temperature inside the refrigerator is cold enough and the thermostat still does not cycle off, the thermostat may be defective". My fridge isn't cooling at ALL... this has NOTHING to do with answering my problem!!!

  • linda488 Dec 21, 2008

    Ronnie... I appreciate your help, and I got an answer that obviously wasn't from you talking about the fridge temperature (I quoted it in my response). After reading online posts about
    Amana fridges I'm thinking I may be better off going and buying something new instead of spending money to try and fix it, only to have something it go bad again. Have you heard bad things about Amana?

  • linda488 Dec 21, 2008

    I realize that I will need professional help with this problem, but after reading about Amana fridges I am hearing too many horror stories and am considering just buying a new fridge. Thank you for your help though...

  • linda488 Dec 22, 2008

    Our fridge is at least 5 years old... maybe more. Sorry to say I don't remember exactly. I understand that I should look into getting it fixed, but my worry is that the soonest I can get Sears in is 5 days from now... and we're going into the holidays and getting a part will probably take another week at least. Who knows how much it will cost? And as I said, I've heard horror stories about throwing good money after bad, not even including replacing all the food that goes bad over and over. And we don't have a 2nd fridge... so how does one live for 2+ weeks without a fridge?



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Turn your fridge off for 1-2 days if it work after that then this just means your evaporator in the freezer was iced up. So you have more work to do as you have a defrost fault.
It's likely you have either a open circuit heater or fuse, or a faulty defrost thermistor on the freezer evaporator.
Could be a faulty control PCB too.

Posted on Dec 22, 2008

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Hello Linda488
Welcome to Fixya

I have made a list of five of the most common reasons for your fridge to be warm,
while your freezer is building up ice!

There are too many variations to this problem for most people to repair this them selves..
Unfortunately it will be necessary for you to have a hands on tech with their equipment to diagnose this problem and create the solution!

Faulty Defrost Timer / Control
Some models use a mechanical timer while others use an adaptive control which is a computer board. Regardless which device is used, the purpose is the same. The defrost control is used to send power to the defrost heaters at the proper time. If power is not reaching the the defrost heater circuity, it is most likely the fault of the defrost timer/control mechanism.

When the defrost timer is in the defrost cycle, the compressor and fans will cease to operate. If the timer fails to advance from the defrost cycle, the machine will not operate. Mechanical style timers can be manually advance both into and out of the defrost cycle.

Faulty Defrost Heater
The defrost heater is located on the evaporator coil (located in the freezer compartment) and is designed to melt the frost from the coils. If there is power getting to the heater and it will not get hot, the defrost heater is most likely faulty. It should have a resistance of 20-50 ohms in most cases.
Faulty Defrost Thermostat
The defrost thermostat is designed to turn the power off to the defrost heater once the coils are clear of frost. It is a temperature actuated switch and once the coils are clear, the thermostat will open and the heater will be turned off. If the thermostat does not reset once it gets below freezing, it is most likely defective.
Faulty Defrost Thermostat
The defrost thermostat is designed to turn the power off to the defrost heater once the coils are clear of frost. It is a temperature actuated switch and once the coils are clear, the thermostat will open and the heater will be turned off. If the thermostat does not reset once it gets below freezing, it is most likely defective.

Thank you very much for trusting your appliance questions to us. Sincerely, Huum
Please remember to leave a solved rating before you sign out!

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

  • Neil Golan
    Neil Golan Dec 22, 2008

    I have my Amana bottom fridge BS22X for 18 years with no problems.
    And we sell them every day in our family store. Not a problem with any of them. Compared to Whirlpool,GE,Frigidaire that are all good manafactures, but have their problems once in a while.
    Not one Amana that we sold in the last year had a service call!

    How old is your fridge?

    Below is an article I wrote!

    Repair or replace?

    When to pull the plug on your old refrigerator

    It nearly always makes sense to undertake simple do-it-yourself repairs,
    such as replacing a gasket on a refrigerator or a freezer.

    Typically, you'll also find a troubleshooting section for more-serious problems
    in the owner's manual.

    Should you pay for a repair or buy a new model?
    The answer depends mostly on the age of your refrigerator,
    how much you bought it for,and the cost of the repair.

    Follow these guidelines:

    When a repair makes sense.

    If your refrigerator is under warranty or less than four years old (three years for top-freezers),
    paying for a repair makes sense.
    Note that refrigerators under warranty might require service from a factory-authorized technician;
    readers have found them on a par with independent repairers.

    When a repair might be a wise choice.

    If your refrigerator is out of warranty and is four to seven years old,
    it might make sense to pay for a repair. Customers generally pay $100 to $200 for a repair.
    But you might want to buy a new model even at this stage,
    given that today's models are quieter and have added features.
    Higher energy efficiency is another plus: Energy Star-qualified models made after April 28, 2008,
    are 43 percent more efficient than conventional models built before 2001 and 56 percent
    more efficient than those built before 1993.

    When it pays to replace.

    The repair costs more than half the price of a comparable new refrigerator.
    Data also shows that it doesn't pay to fix a less-expensive top-freezer refrigerator
    six or more years old or a bottom-freezer or side-by-side eight or more years old.

    Thanks to better recycling programs, less than 10 percent
    of a refrigerator you replace is likely to end up in a landfill.

    Please remember to enter a Solved rating before you sign off!
    Thank You, HUUUM


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Have you checked the thermostat settings do refer to you manual for the default setting.

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

  • Maanita Chadha
    Maanita Chadha Dec 21, 2008

    Evaporator coils
    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

    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.

  • Maanita Chadha
    Maanita Chadha Dec 21, 2008

    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

    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


    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.


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The thermostat cycles the refrigerator on and off. The refrigerator normally runs as long as the temperature inside the refrigerator is higher than the set temperature. If the temperature inside the refrigerator is cold enough and the thermostat still does not cycle off, the thermostat may be defective. If so, you need to replace it, because it cannot be repaired. If the thermostat is not defective, you may have a problem with the sealed (refrigerant) system, in which case you should contact a qualified appliance repair technician.

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

  • classyexpert Dec 21, 2008

    Years ago, all refrigerators had to be defrosted manually. You would turn the refrigerator off, open the door(s), and allow any frost build-up to melt. When the frost had completely melted away, you would turn the refrigerator back on.

    Today, all but the smaller, apartment-sized refrigerators are self-defrosting. Self-defrosting means what it implies--though frost continues to accumulate inside the refrigerator, it melts automatically. The self-defrosting system has three functional components: 

    Defrost timer
    Defrost heater
    Defrost thermostat. 

    Defrost timer

    The timer is like a clock. It continually advances, 24 hours a day. Every 6 to 8 hours, the timer turns off the cooling system of the refrigerator and turns on the defrost heater. 

    Defrost heater

    The defrost heater is similar to the burners on an electric stove. It's located just beneath the cooling coils, which are concealed behind a panel in the freezer compartment. The heater gets hot. And, because it's close to the cooling coils, any ice or frost build-up melts. 

    As the frost and ice melt, the resulting water drips into a trough. The trough is connected to a tube that drains the water into a shallow pan at the bottom of the refrigerator. The water is then evaporated by a fan that blows warm air from the compressor motor over the pan and out the front of the refrigerator.

    Defrost thermostat

    The process ends after either the amount of time specified on the timer or when the defrost thermostat near the cooling coils senses that the heat near the coils has reached a specific temperature.


    You'll more quickly understand refrigerator cooling systems if you think of their action as "removing heat from the air in the refrigerator" rather than "cooling the air in the refrigerator." All residential refrigerators work on the same principal for cooling. They all have:

    A Compressor
    A Condenser
    A Metering Device (Capillary Tube)
    An Evaporator


    The compressor is the motor (or engine) of the cooling system. In built-in refrigerators the compressor is located on top of the refrigerator behind a grill or grate. In all other units it's normally at the bottom of the refrigerator in the back. It's almost always black and about the size of a football. If the refrigerator is self-defrosting, the compressor may be behind a thin panel.

    The compressor runs whenever the refrigerator thermostat calls for cooling (and the defrost timer is not in a defrost cycle, for self-defrosting units). It is normally very quiet. When running, it is compressing a refrigerant that is in a low-pressure gaseous state to a high-pressure gas. 


    The condenser is a series of tubes with fins attached to them, similar to a radiator. It's always somewhere on the outside of the refrigerator. It may be:

    • A large black grid mounted to the back of the refrigerator

    • Folded and placed under the refrigerator

    • Coiled up and placed near the compressor

    • Integrated in the liner of the refrigerator

    If the condenser isn't a big grid on the back of the refrigerator, it will always have a cooling fan nearby to draw room air over the tubes and fins--to dissipate the heat from the tubes and fins. 

    The high-pressure refrigerant gas, coming from the compressor, flows through the condenser and becomes a liquid. As this occurs, the refrigerant gives off heat. The heat is conducted away from the tubes by the fins. 

    Metering Device (Capillary Tube)

    The metering device in most household refrigerators is a capillary tube, a tiny copper tube. The capillary tube is attached from the end of the condenser to the beginning of the evaporator. The capillary tube controls the pressure and flow of the refrigerant as it enters the evaporator.

    Once the liquid refrigerant has traveled the length of the condenser, it is forced through the capillary tube. 


    The evaporator is always located on the inside of the refrigerator, usually inside the freezer compartment. It also resembles a radiator. 

    When the liquid refrigerant comes out of the small capillary tube, it’s injected into the larger tubes of the evaporator causing a pressure drop. This pressure drop allows the refrigerant to expand back into a gaseous state. This change of state from liquid to gas absorbs heat. The gaseous refrigerant travels through the evaporator tubes, back out of the refrigerator and down to the compressor to begin the circulation process again. 

    Because the evaporator is absorbing heat, it is very cold to the touch. The coldness causes any humidity in the air to freeze on the evaporator as ice or frost. (See the Automatic defrost section). The fan inside the freezer compartment circulates the air of both the refrigerator and/or freezer to keep the temperature constant.

    Temperature control

    All refrigerators have a thermostat to maintain the proper temperature. These are usually very simple devices. When the refrigerator reaches the set temperature, the thermostat interrupts the electricity flow to the compressor, which stops cooling.


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You have a freon leak in the line somewhere thats allowing the frost to build up

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

  • Ronnie Houston Dec 21, 2008

    the frost in the freezer would tell you there is a freon leak in one of the lines. it would be the thermostat has gone out as a second guess.but i dont know.they seldom go bad. have the thermostat checked to make sure its working properly

  • Ronnie Houston Dec 21, 2008

    i won fridgidare myself...ive had my fridge for 15 years and never a sigle problem. id buy new if you can afford to you get a warranty with it and you know it will work for a long time to come.


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