chemical smell in home and freezer not as cold as before


Hello all,
Yesterday morning we noticed a very strong chemical smell in the 1st floor of the house. It was hard to tell where it was coming from.
Then I noticed yesterday that the freezer section of our side-by-side whirlpool refrigerator is not as cold as it used to be, i.e not freezing temps.
I'm not entirely sure if a problem with the refrigerator would emit a chemical odor throughout the home.
Can anyone advise please and how to diagnose this further?
Thank you!
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lora wrote:

Refrigerant leak? Air circulating fan inide the box not working? Is the fridge section cold as usual? No gas detector in the house?
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Fridge appears cold as normal, but freezer is warmer than before, i.e temp is higher than freezing.
I don't think it's gas as we had the fire dept come out yesterday with their meters for gas and Carbon monoxide and they couldn't find gas nor CO.
Pls advise on how to troubleshoot further.
Thank you!

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lora wrote:

Refrigerant has a kind of oily/sweet smell to it, somewhat mild, but definitely chemical. If you are leaking enough coolant to smell, you'll know pretty soon.
Jonx
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lora wrote:

I once made the mistake of leaving the fridge shut off and closed for several weeks. It got incredibly mildewy in both sections - the odor was so strong it was like a potent chemical smell, sharp and acrid. Even after it was cleaned up and in use for a while, it still smelled. Could your defrost line/tray be moldy?
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Based on how a fridge works, you could have lost some refrigerant. The freezer section usually supplies a portion of its coolth (new word, eh?) to the other section. The fan between the sections is perhaps running constantly to keep the service side cool enough, and the system no longer has the capacity to keep the freezer temperature in limits. Better call a Whirlpool expert for diagnosis/repair as needed. Some parts of the appliance may be under warranty so check that out.
Joe
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Thanks for the responses. We've turned the freezer section temp lower than before and will check to see if the temps will actually lower.
Now, would a refrigerant leak cause the smell to permeate the whole 1st floor of the house or would it be perceptible just near the appliance?
Today, the smell is not as pungent as yesterday but there is still a smell that now seems like ham/peas soup cooking or something.
Also, refrigerant is same as freon? I did some google checks and some folks say that freon leak does not cause a smell.
Thank you!

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Turning the thermostat on a broken fridge, is like stomping the gas pedal of a car that's out of gas.
Refrigerant is a generic name. Freon is a brand name, and should be capitalized. Like Isotron, Genetron, Forane, which are other brands of refrigerant.
Most refrigerants are odorless, or nearly odorless.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

If I sniff it and it burns the hair out of my nose, I tend to believe there was a compressor burn out.
TDD
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Hey, nothing like decomposing freon to stink. I mean, I had a freon die behind the water heater one time, the cat musta put it there. Wow, that took weeks for it to finish decomposing. You just can't believe how awful it was, that freon that dried up and all the mollecules started to go bad. But, at lest it wasn't out in the field behind my place, reproducing. One freon can destroy up to 100,000 ozones, we had to learn that for the EPA test. Ozones are on the endangered species list. If you are digging for a cellar or something, and you find ozones, you got to call the EPA and have the area green tagged.
Yow, that was fun to write. I havn't been so full of blitering idiocy since my last post to news. Which some how ended up on Usenet by accident.
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Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on what they use as a refrigerant. I believe it is some sort of alcohol.

They don't use freon in refrigerators. Haven't in decades. EPA banned it.
Freon doesn't smell, but the refrigerant they use now, does.
Just call a refrigerator repair person.
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Hmm. I hear a bit of ignorance, here. But, that's OK. Ignorance can be found in most grocery stores and hardware stores. Even, occasionally, on Usenet.
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Most refrigerants are odorless. They usually leak along with some lubricating oil, which has odor. I'd suggest to call a refrigerator or appliance repair company near you, and ask them to come check it out. You might have had a major freon leak. It's happened before.
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If it was the refrigerant that leaked out , you would have lost it all in a day or less. Probably lost it all in a few minuits. After that you wold not have any cooling.
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I've seen cases of slow leak (months or years). But, a typical household fridge holds about 6.5 ounces of refrigerant. So, if it's enough to smell, it's a FAST leak.
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