Fridge compartment doesn't keep cold.


This is a recurring problem that appears regularly in this newsgroup. My 30 year old Moffat fridge acted up again. The fridge compartment won't get cold enough and the milk curdles. The veggies yellow faster. I don't eat the usual packaged foods so there's no problem of any spoiling.
For years the solution was to switch off the fridge and leave both the fridge door and the freezer compartment door open overnight to let it defrost fully. This time it didn't work and it was very obvious that there was still a chunk of ice behind the freezer compartment wall that didn't quite thaw even after 24 hours (room temp 66 deg F). This "fix" after defrosting but acting up again had been happening more frequently and between shorter intervals of late. I didn't want this remove the food and defrost routine again.
After 30 years service and I was willing to risk messing with it to get a permanent fix. At worst I will buy a new fridge.
The design philosophy of any consumer product is simplicity, easy to assemble and easy to disassemble and service. A good look at the freezer compartment suggested that the floor panel was snucked under the front bezel and held in flat by two plastic corner studs. I couldn't push in or remove the 1/4 inch studs but in the process pushed inwards the side panels. That's it. I pushed in the side panel far enough for the floor panel to pop up over the stud (repeat for the other side.) There were ventillation holes large enough to slip in two fingers to pull up the bottom panel and slide it out from under the front bezel. Another tug and the panel came off the back end too. The back panel was held in place by four screws and it comes off easily.
Sure enough. The bottom run of coils behind the back panel was solid ice. This took another four hours to defrost fully. I took the opportunity to clean up the fridge, (wet) sand off the rust at the panel line where the ice blockage was and seal that with a smear of white silicone. I had thought of spray painting that but decided silicone was more effective and actually cheaper and faster drying.
After reassembly the fridge works great.
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A new frige might pay for itself in reduced electrical costs in only 4 years and you wont have the headache, where else can you get 25% on your money and have less of a headache.
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On Mon, 10 Dec 2007 19:05:43 +0000, PaPaPeng wrote:

It's a bit low on freon and the ice will build up again.
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wrote:

How does that work out? Low on freon means low on heat transfer fluid (freon). That is less heat is drawn out of the freezer compartment. The compartment and therefore the fridge doesn't get cold enough within a resonable time, the compressor runs longer than normal.
Anyway ice buildup is due to condensation from moist air and has nothing to do with freon or freezer temperature (as long as it is below freezing point.) I think the ice buildup in my fridge was due to having the door slightly ajar. Sometimes the milk jug or a box abuts the door. Other times a floppy bag of food slumps against the door pushing it slightly ajar.
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On Mon, 10 Dec 2007 20:13:17 +0000, PaPaPeng wrote:

Lower freon = lower pressure = lower temp in the first few coils. That and what is in place to defrost? If there is no automatic defrost, ice is inevitable over a period of time.
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wrote:

The logical progression of your argument will mean that the less freon there is the faster the first few coils will be cooled. Ergo minimum freon is best. Thus a larger and more effective heat sink will spread out the temperature gradient and can therefore take advantage of this faster cooling. We should get a more efficient fridge.
I'll let others weigh in before I make my rebuttal.
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PaPaPeng wrote:

Forget it. He's right. Low freon, low pressure, depressed temp at points in evaporator, icing. Anybody familiar with refrigeration equip will confirm this.
John
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wrote:

Two to one. OK. I am easy. I'll see if the fridge ices up again. It paid itself off already (30 years) and I can do with a new one in white. That almond decor looks so retro 70s. The compressor I can modify for a silent compressor airbrush set up.
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I really don't think it sounds like low freon.
--

Christopher A. Young;
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"PaPaPeng" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Remember, John, we're talking a refrigerator. That's a whole different piece of equipment, compared to an air conditioner.
I believe it's got nothing to do with low freon.
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Christopher A. Young;
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"John Barry" < snipped-for-privacy@nothere.nul> wrote in message
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If this diagnosis is correct, you need a repairman.
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Christopher A. Young;
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"Meat Plow" < snipped-for-privacy@petitmorte.net> wrote in message
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And it will work great for a couple weeks. You have a defrost problem. That is typically one of three parts that often break. With a 30 year old fridge, it's relatively easy to figure out WHICH part, and then order and install the replacement part.
The fact that it is cooling is a good sign. Means your compressor is working, and your system has freon.
It's fixable. Call the repair man.
--

Christopher A. Young;
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"PaPaPeng" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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wrote:

Is the refridgerator in question supposed to be a "frost free" model??? About a year ago I had the same problem with the fridge compartment not staying cold enough. My fridge is a Sears Kenmore "frost free" model. It turned out to be a burned out defroster heater located behind the freezer compartment wall that caused the problem. The coils were all froze up. If you still have your instructional booklet that came with the fridge, there should be a schematic diagram with parts list to show where the heater (probably two of them) are located. It cost me about $50 to replace mine myself. Not sure if this will help you or not but hopefully it might. Good luck! Steve
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wrote:

Thanks . Now this is a piece of information I can use. There is a schematic at the back of the fridge. If the fridge acts up again I'll pull the fridge out of its nook and look up that schematic. I am pretty handy at repairing anything given the right information what to look for. Now that I feel comfortable about taking apart the panels the rest should be easy. I am usually reluctant to start on something I am not sure of as I hate to break anything. Small plastic parts are costly or impossible to replace.
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As stated by someone earlier, it will work fine for a couple weeks after manually defrosting and then slowly keep getting worse and worse. The heaters (two on mine) looked like long narrow clear glass tubular shaped parts with a spring or coil inside. I had one good one which looked clear and clean and the bad one looked all clouded up inside the tube. Another clue as to when your problem is starting again is that the compressor will be running almost steady. Don't mess with the temp controls inside the fridge compartment or it will only make the problem worse. Good luck! Steve
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