Question about Jenn-Air JCD2389G Side by Side Refrigerator

3 Answers

Increasing ice AND temperature paradox

Things aren't getting or staying cold, especially the fridge. I opened the housing in the back of the fridge, defrosted the extensive ice accumulated around the refrigerant coils, and everything ran great for a couple of days. Now we're back in the global warming pattern: steadily rising temperatures and thawing where we keep our stuff, and I see accumulating ice behind the blower vents in the freezer. I'm not feeling too happy about Jenn-Air these days. The only thing keeping the fridge above room temperature is the buckets of ice we have been buying and putting int here while we sort this out. "Ice box" indeed.

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  • klbrisby Jul 16, 2008

    Wow, you have a ton of information there, Dave. The exact model is JSD2789AE. I'm guessing it's about 7 years old, though it might be 9 or 10--just don't remember. There may be a small leak at the bottom on the fridge closure, but I didn't find anything around the freezer. I just manually defrosted the thing, so maybe if it's colder in the morning I'll be better able to assess that.

    And by the way, I'm not especially stubborn about diagnosing or repairing this myself. If there's something easy I could and should be doing myself, that's the base I'm trying to cover. The fridge seems a bit young and pricey for catastrophic failure, doesn't it? But you have persuaded me that if things quickly fall back into the frosty failure of before, we'll call in a local pro.



  • bronte1 Jul 16, 2008

    We are model JCD2389DES. Last year, had this problem once, and we were lucky enough to have a friend who was a Maytag engineer. He told us to take off the cover and see if there was ice built up in the condensing "fins". Yup. He said we might have a problem with some sort of a defrosting timer located in the main frige cabinet, but that just unplugging the frige for an hour or so while we defrosted the condenser could reset everthing. We did it, and hoped, and it worked...for a year. I should also say, we have never been able to keep veggies in the crisper or anywhere near the wall of the frige next to freezer. They just freeze up. Also, the door of the freezer on the outside is always covered in moisture in the summer, the frige is supposed to warm the door somehow to prevent this. It's July again, and we are having the same problem, with an additional problem we never noticed the last time. I'm smaller and was able to climb into the freezer better and noticed a melted area next to the "defroster coil", in the plastic wall of the cabinet between the freezer and frige. It looks as if the coil has melted the cabinet (the coil is not touching the cabinet). There is also a crack extending from the melted area about an inch upward. We have defrosted the condenser twice this month, and today will be the third time. Should we order and replace the defroster coil, the "defroster timer thing" in the main frige cabinet, or get someone in here to work on it. The frige is only about 7 years old, and I don't want to have to replace it but...the last frige repair man said over the phone it was the compressor for sure which to me equals new frige. The next closest repair man is an hour away which means $, which equals new frige.

  • klbrisby Jul 18, 2008

    The freezer and fridge have been behaving, since the last manual defrost. Dave, is there a way to trigger a defrost cycle if things freeze up again? Or is that strictly for someone with real tools and training? As I stood there with my daughter's hair dryer, it occurred to me that there might be another way.

  • klbrisby Jul 25, 2008

    The cycle began to recur, so I called in a pro. After double-checking a heater, he concurred with your diagnosis that the adaptive defrost module was the problem. He defrosted the freezer and replaced the module and was all gone inside an hour. It didn't look like something I could have readily done myself, so I am pretty satisfied all around. THANK YOU for your most informative feedback. Aloha.

  • agall2 Aug 18, 2008

    I am having the same problem. Mine is JCD2289AT, and it's 8 yrs old. We have very hot summer days now. Recently the freezer compartment became a refrigerator (not freezing but cooling), and the refrigerator compartment is almost at room temperature. The appliance store guy said that the adaptive defrost is the most common problem ($70 part). Checked out repairclinic.com they recommended manual defrost to diagnose the problem. Consistent with the above case. I'll try it tonight and let you know.

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After reading this forum and other places I was pretty sure that luck of defrosting is a symptom and the defrosting timer relay is the most likely problem in my case. I must say that my Jenn-Air JCD2289AT refrigerator was occasionally creating rattling sounds in the upper right corner under the panel. I suspected some relay malfunction. This sound lasted for almost a year and then stopped. Refrigerator lost the temperature while working continuously without turning off. I went to a local parts shop and they had this defrost timer in stock. They said that the item is very popular and they always keep it in their stock. Calling technician would cost me $80 and the part was also $80 (not returnable). I’ve made my best bet and bought the part. I removed the panel and found the timer small board (2x3 in) in the upper right side. Make sure unplug refrigerator from power before changing it. The new part is coming in a plastic case, while the old part was without a case. I removed the cover to take picture and compare. My old part had a relay with a bulge on a side apparently due to burned contacts inside (see photo),
Increasing ice AND temperature paradox - cbf6fab.jpg while the relay on the new one was perfectly square.
c49b9ad.jpg This is a picture without a cover.
I turned on the refrigerator and didn’t see any difference. Obviously, it needs defrosting. I was afraid that automated defrosting at a random time would flood my kitchen, so I opened up the panel in the freezer part to expose coils. Here I took an opportunity to check heating element with a relay. The relay was in “on” position, as supposed to while immersed into ice. The heater showed a resistance of 22.6 ω, and I thoughIncreasing ice AND temperature paradox - e207d3c.jpg.
e207d3c.jpg This is partially thawed situation (I used a hair drier).
On the bottom left of the compartment I discovered a 2x3 inch opening connecting the freezer and refrigerator compartments. It was initially completely clogged with ice. That’s why the temperature in refrigeraIncreasing ice AND temperature paradox - 05b8f22.jpgs so high, while the freezer stayed cold.
05b8f22.jpg This is a veiw from refrigerator compartment. The hole is ~ 6 inches above the bottom on the left side. It provides cold air from thIncreasing ice AND temperature paradox - 7aee4b8.jpgompartment. If I checked it first, it would give me a clear idea what was going on.
7aee4b8.jpg I tried to collect water as much as possible not to overfill the tray under refrigerator.
Still the water spilled onto the floor. I pushed down on the front side of the tray and made a controlled spill. Now the tray had extra room for any residual water.
Refrigerator is working normally now.
This was the second strike. I am planning to move it to the garage and buy another brand. I think Jenn-Air/Maytag engineers are not smart enough to use old fashion electromagnetic relays. Technology offer more reliable electronic switches now for at leas several decades.
Happy end

Posted on Aug 19, 2008

After reading this forum and other places I was pretty sure that luck of defrosting is a symptom and the defrosting timer relay is the most likely problem in my case. I must say that my Jenn-Air JCD2289AT refrigerator was occasionally creating rattling sounds in the upper right corner under the panel. I suspected some relay malfunction. This sound lasted for almost a year and then stopped. Refrigerator lost the temperature while working continuously without turning off. I went to a local parts shop and they had this defrost timer in stock. They said that the item is very popular and they always keep it in their stock. Calling technician would cost me $80 and the part was also $80 (not returnable). I’ve made my best bet and bought the part. I removed the panel and found the timer small board (2x3 in) in the upper right side. Make sure unplug refrigerator from power before changing it. The new part is coming in a plastic case, while the old part was without a case. I removed the cover to take picture and compare. My old part had a relay with a bulge on a side apparently due to burned contacts inside (see photo), while the relay on the new one was perfectly square.

Posted on Aug 19, 2008

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Let me say that 'solving' refrigeration problems on-line is really quite difficult. There is rarely an easy fix. Also the ice you are buying is likely costing, where the money might best be put towards a new fridge or a repair man.

Having said all that, there are a few things you might look for, that are within the ability of the average home owner..

Ice accumulation (sometimes) means that you might have air & moisture getting into the fridge due to a faulty door seal? It can also mean that there is moisture (& a leak) in the refrigeration line. How old is the fridge? The door seals might be the cause, and the home user can & has been able to buy & replace them, but like most things relating to fridge repair, it can be an awkward job.

Another thing to look for, is if the particular model fridge has a duct (usually with a fan) between the fridge compartment & the freezer? If this is closed or blocked, it might explain the ice buildup.. But most likely, it's due to a refrigeration leak, where moist air has been sucked into the low side of the refrigerant line.. (called the 'low side', because it operates at a low suction level.) If thats the case, it's necessary to use specific equipment & knowledge to repair the fault. Sometimes it's even cheaper in the long run to buy a new fridge. What model do you have & how old is it?

Another possibility is that the defrost cycle is not working correctly. If that model fridge has a defrost timer, and it's faulty, then the normal defrost cycle might not be taking place. This might also explain why you get the ice build-up and might be causing the loss of cooling ability. If there is a defrost timer and it's easy to get to, you might test it and replace it. (Ask me if you help with this, but you might need some electrical knowledge here)

If you have easy access to the back of the fridge, there will be at least 2, maybe 4 lines connected to the compressor. The motor at bottom back of the fridge that pumps the refrigerant gas around the fridge. One will be quite hot (careful, you might burn your hand), the other should be cool to fairly cold. The larger of the two will be the cold one, the smaller the (discharge side) the hotter. Experience can tell you if the temperatures are nearly correct.. (If you do check this, please be careful of loose electrical wiring, it can be dangerous to play with this stuff)

Well, I guess you might be a bit bewildered by all the above. Sorry about that. I guess of all the faults posted on FixYa, fridges are the most difficult to repair, mainly because you need all kinds of special equipment to diagnose & fix the problem.

Anyway.. Please provide the age & model of the fridge.

Check your door seals
Have you got a defrost timer?
Is there a trunking/airflow (fan forced) between the freezer
and the fridge? If so, is it obstructed?
Are the coils (outside of the fridge) clean. Dust and fluff buildup can cause strange symptoms.
Have you recently moved the fridge or shifted a new appliance next to the fridge?

Let me know how you get on..
Good Luck.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008

  • 3 more comments 
  • Dave117
    Dave117 Jul 16, 2008

    OOPS, now I see what model you have.. I'll do a bit of research on that model & see if I can spot similar problems.. Still, please respond to my previous questions & we see if there is an easy fix. Rgds, dave.

  • Dave117
    Dave117 Jul 16, 2008

    Done a bit of research.. It's hard to find anything specific on your model, but it appears as if there might be a temperature & defrost control board in the fridge somewhere? Also, another question, how long does the compressor run for? Is it running for a long period of time..? If so, it would seem as if the thermostat is never satisfied, as the temp. is never getting to the correct level.. It may be an indicator of a gas leak. You really need pressure gauges to be sure about that. Anyway, please comment on the suggestions above.. Rgds

  • Dave117
    Dave117 Jul 17, 2008

    Hi Folks,

    Good input from you ' bronte1' - Yes, it's a bit of a worry with (some) fridge techs, to make money & make their involvement in the job worthwhile, lots immediately say they have to replace the compressor.. Often they never actually do that, just charge you for it.. Sad, but true. I'm sure there are lots of honest techs who do the right thing though. In their defense, the job is very time specific, the major reason I got out of the trade. Therefore very difficult to make a living, without cheating.. However, everyone wants to get good value for their money.. I really think that it's quite difficult to replace a compressor in the field and do an expert job and if thats the case, you should buy a new fridge. In fact, the unit is built under controlled factory conditions when new and quite often a replacement compressor does not last very long. Although it seems that if there is still 'cooling' taking place, the compressor is actually OK, but they do run less efficiently after years of service, due to valve wear and piston/piston ring wear.. That can be measured if you have the right equipment.



    Anyway, ( bronte1) your moisture in the lining of the fridge is most likely due to a crack in the plastic, inside the actual fridge. (As you have probably guessed) There is a heater element, (we in Australia) call a'mullion heater'. It's job is to keep the lining free of moisture, therefore stop ice forming on the outside of the fridge. If the heater is faulty, the lining gets moisture in it, which freezes, then moisture in the atmosphere is attracted to the outside cabinet, which freezes & allows ice to buildup on the metal ouside cabinet. Looks kinda odd, actually. You can quite often feel heat from outside the fridge, by putting your hand on the cabinet. See http://www.fridgedoctor.com/fridge-docto... - It becomes quite difficult to fix this and may be beyond the average home owner. As with all things electrical, there is an element of danger if care is not taken to disconnect the power before any work is done.



    klbrisby - In your case, I really feel that there might be a reasonably simple answer to your problem, the difficult thing is to prove it and fix it. Especially as some test equipment is required.

    I really thing that the only thing to do is try what bronte1 has suggested, let the fridge defrost over a period of time, so that all ice has gone. If that fails, it's probably worth replacing the defrost timer, although they can also be quite expensive. Just another question: Does the compressor run for what might be called excessively long periods of time? It may indicate low gas (therefore leak) or a faulty thermostat or a faulty defrost timer. Any of these can cause similar symptoms. The defrost timer might be causing the fridge to be in constant defrost, therefore the compressor is running a lot of the time, trying to beat the temperature rise. As above there are lots of possibilities and you need to test things to prove whats going on. As you can see, no easy answers with fridges. pls let me know how it turns out. Rgds, dave.

  • Dave117
    Dave117 Jul 19, 2008

    Once the freeze-up has set-in, it's probably difficult for an electrical defrost system to deal with it.. However a fridge that uses a reverse cycle compressor system should still defrost affectively. The fact is, I have never worked on this brand or model of fridge before, so it's a bit difficult to be specific.. But generally speaking, the defrost cycle should be adjustable from the controls. I did have a look around the internet, to find something specific to assist, but came up empty. Can you take a picture of your defrost control & send it to me..? I'd like to see exactly what options they give you. If the defrost cycle has failed, it would probably be due to an electrical fault. The 2 most common systems are (1) an electrical solenoid near the compressor, to reverse cycle the hot gas or (2) an electrical heater, used after the compressors normal operation is shutdown by timer or sensor. But, if nothing else, it appears as if you do not need to replace your compressor, the most expensive bit.

  • Dave117
    Dave117 Jul 19, 2008

    Actually, I didn't really answer your question.. Yes, you should be able to manually initiate a defrost cycle from your fridge controls.. As previous comment, please post or send me a pic or two of your controlls and maybe the compressor area of the fridge. I might be able to point out the solenoid that manages the reverse cycle. - dkahlbaum@bigpond.com

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