Question about Refrigerators

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On September 26, 2009 we purchased a Frigidaire refrigerator, model FPHC2399KF. The temperature variation inside the refrigerator is 8 to 13 degrees. The middle shelf can read 32 degrees (with frozen food) and the top shelf 40 degrees when the controls are set to their lowest. When set at 38 degrees the middle shelf is 35 degrees and the upper shelf is an unsafe 47 degrees. We have had 4 service calls but no resolution.

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HI, you will need to inspect the compressor to make sure it is cycling in intervals. if the compressor is not cycling, this will confirm compressor failure. The evaporator fan blows cold air into the freezer and from there it vents into the refrigerator. Occasionally the vents between the freezer and refrigerator can become clogged with ice, food or other debris. In most refrigerators the cold control (diffuser) for the refrigerator opens and closes these vents. That mechanism may become inoperative resulting in the vents becoming stuck open or closed.

Inspect the vents to determine what is preventing the free flow of air. An overcrowded refrigerator or freezer may be the cause. In other cases the vents may need to be cleaned or ice melted away. To remove a build up of ice, use a hair dryer set to "low". Using a higher setting may damage the freezer. WARNING: Do not let melting ice drip onto the hair dryer. In some models, the vent is located under the temperature control console. The housing either snaps into place or is held in place with screws. Remove the screws, or gently depress the retaining clips with a small screwdriver. Allow the housing to hang by its wiring. A freezer vent control may also have to be removed to access the vent. In some freezer-on-top models, it may be necessary to remove the floor of the freezer to inspect for obstructions.

The condenser coils dissipate heat. If dust and debris accumulate around the coils, your refrigerator may not be able to cool properly, it may run continuously or it may stop completely as a result of an overheated compressor. You should clean rear-mounted coils once a year. Unplug the refrigerator before cleaning. Refrigerators are heavy, never tip one forward or backward. Never attempt to move a refrigerator without an assistant. Vacuum or brush the coils. If coils have a filmy build-up, use warm soapy water to clean them. Take care not to spill or drip water onto the components of the refrigerator.You should clean floor level coils at least twice a year. Unplug the refrigerator before cleaning. Vacuum or brush the coils. Remove the grill from the front of the refrigerator and use a vacuum with a wand attachment to remove any dust and debris. The grill should snap off and on. Pull firmly toward you and possibly upward to remove the grill. If it does not come off with a modest effort, check for screws or retaining clips that may hold it in place.

Another inspection point will be the door seals. This is a easy way for the cold air to escape from your unit as well. thsi will cause the temperature to rise. The seal should make smooth continuous contact with the refrigerator case. When the seal does not seal completely, warm air enters the appliance. This results in more frequently compressor operation and possibly the inability of the appliance to maintain proper temperature. To test the seal, use the dollar bill test. Place a a dollar bill or a piece of paper between the seal and the refrigerator and close the door. Now pull the paper out. You should feel tension as you pull. Retest along the entire door seal. Replace the seal if the test was unsuccessful.

Next will be the door switch. The interior light in most refrigerators, and the fan in some, are controlled by a door switch. When the door is closed, the switch is depressed and the interior light goes off and the fan resumes normal operation. If the door is misaligned or the switch malfunctions, the refrigerator may become warm as a result of the non-operation of the evaporator fan and the heat generated by the interior light. Test the switch for continuity using a multimeter. Set the multimeter to the ohms setting X1. Place a probe on each terminal. The multimeter should change from a reading of infinity to zero when the probes touch the terminals. With the probes still touching the terminals depress the switch, the reading should change back to infinity. If it does not pass both of these tests, the switch should be replaced.

Be sure to confirm evaporator fan function as well. if the fan is defective, it will prevent proper cooling as well.

This will conclude the most common issue with a under preforming unit.

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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