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We have an Amana refrigerator with bottom (frost free) freezer drawer. There is ice build up inside the freezer on the back wall and food is not freezing. The refrigerator is about 6 years old. any suggestions.

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Your fridge is probably suffering from a defrost circuit failure. One (or possibly more) of the following components has failed: 1) the defrost terminator or sensor, 2) the defrost heating elementor 3) the defrost controller / timer. Items 1 & 2 will be found in the freezer compartment - behind the back wall. The 3rd item can often be found in the toe space at the bottom of the fridge - behind a kick plate.

Before we go further - check and clean the condenser coils on the bottom of the fridge with a vacuum. They may be clogged with dust and dirt. Listen for the compressor and fan - are they running? Since everything inside the fridge is warm and getting warmer - the compressor should be running to try to cool it. If left to run like this for a long time however, can cause the compressor to fail. This is usually a deal breaker for repair due to cost. if the fan or compressor isn't running - you should probably call a repair person.

If you don't know how to work with electrical meters and tools or are not comfortable working in tight spaces (back wall of the freezer) with live electric parts, you should call a repair person. Also, refrigerants are very dangerous. If allowed to escape from the tubing, coils, etc. there is a very real danger of instant frostbite if it comes in contact with your skin. You can be blinded if it contacts your eyes. These reasons make me believe that this is a complicated DIY type job and really isn't a good one for a beginner or intermediate to attempt. On the plus side, parts are relatively inexpensive, and a qualified person should be able to quickly diagnose the problem. Labor rates and parts markups can bring this repair up into $100 - $200 and up range, however.

If you can't swing that amount of money right now, unplug the fridge, empty the freezer (& fridge if needed) and completely defrost the the freezer. If you access the freezer coil behind the inside back wall, you can greatly accelerate the defrost process by leaving the freezer door open - or even faster still by directing a blow dryer at it. Once all the frost is melted, plug the fridge back in, allow to get cold & reload the freezer. Depending on how humidy it is in your kitchen, you can put off the repair at least a month or more.

When you do finally call, for service, have the freezer emptied & defrosted already - will save the defrost time by the repair person.

If you are comfortable performing this work, let me know and I'll get you more information. I hope this was helpful and good luck. Please rate my reply - thank you.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011

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