Refrigerator Malfunctioning

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We have a G.E. 2-door refrigerator that's about 15 years old. It's never had any problems. Recently, I noticed that the contents were warming up, and the ice began melting. When I turned the main temperature control wheel to "off" and then "on", the compressor started up, and it worked fine for a few days. Today, it warmed up again. I turned it "off" and "on", and it started working.
Any idea on what's going on?
Thanks! Scott and Bo
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Scott wrote:

Perhaps the switch contacts on the thermostat dirty and are sometimes not making contact.
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Scott wrote:

however, the symptom does point to the defrost cycle. I had a similar problem. The "cold" coil is usually behind the back panel in the freezer. It has a heater that turns on at some prescribed interval to melt the ice. There is usually a timer and a temperature sensor. Check out for icing. If there is a lot of ice on the coil, that is probably your problem. BTW, I had to replace the timer unit on mine. It happened to be located above the unit, but this was a built-in, so all of the mechanical stuff was above.
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Scott wrote:

Have you ever cleaned out the dust bunnies from the condenser coil which is usually underneath the refrigerator? There are long skinny brushes available for this task at many hardware stores.
TDD
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Brush in one hand.
Shopvac hose and flashlight in other hand. Lay on side. Not easy to describe.
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Cold control going bad, sounds like.
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It's dying and it's time to get a new one? My experiences with refrigerators is that at 15 years, it's time for a new one, and unless you are an expert at diagnosing these and fixing them, spending money on them is throwing it down a rat hole.
YMMV, of course
Steve
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Update,
After a week and a half of the refrigerator stopping, it reached the point where turning the temperature control "off" and "on" did nothing. It was dead. Talked with repairman on the phone, and we determined the fridge has the old style refrigerant, so fixing the compressor is not an option. I went to Sears and bought a 20 cubic foot LG with French doors. It will fit our 30" width perfectly. It won't arrive for 2 weeks, but Sears was nice enough to deliver a "loaner" to us. They're great people to deal with!
Scott
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Scott wrote:

The sales department bucket (who arranged for the loaner) is not connected to the delivery bucket. In two weeks, Sears will retrieve the loaner. Your new fridge will be delayed and arrive two weeks later.
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Interesting expression (Buckets!); from that company friends bought a new two section sofa about a year ago. Having had very good experience with 'microfibre' products while living in an another country the new one was supposed also to be.
But within months it became unsatisfactory. It stained very easily in normal use and the construction did not seem sturdy etc.
Arrangements were made with Sears to replace or exchange it. While not involved in whatever financial arrangements (warranty/credit adjustment etc.) were made, I was enlisted to receive one phone call about one hour before the arranged delivery on a certain date in order to provide the delivery driver and helper entry to friends house when the replacement arrived and allow removal of the unsatisfactory item. The replacement was to be available on a date in late November, then in early December. Neither of those delivery dates were met.
Several days after the second missed date I received a phone call from their delivery bucket (driver) to allow entry 'To pick up a sofa'!
"But no"; I said, that was not the arrangement.The total amount of wasted time being spent by everyone was now increasing.
Fortunately friends had mentioned to me that the arrangement with the sales/warranty buckets was that the old one be taken away as the new one was delivered. Otherwise it would have left them without a sofa for Christmas!
Why the delivery bucket felt it was necessary to make two trips, was unclear; maybe the info. placed by the sales and/or warranty buckets into the Sears delivery computer was unclear?
The replacement units finally arrived (third date was met) and the friends were now home.
But the two units do not have their 'chair arms' in the same locations as units being replaced! So they will have to be replaced again!
Friends who are extremely busy people, are expecting more time, phone calls and delivery shenanigans! Whatever is wrong with Sears internal communications does not seem to do that company any credit. At least here in eastern Canada.
Perhaps it's one of those data systems designed/delivered by some IT type who has no experience of what actually happens in the real 'sales/ delivery' world?
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That's ridiculous. It was the owner of the Sears store who decided to deliver us a loaner, free of charge. They contract directly with a local delivery guy, who does whatever they tell him, when they tell him.
I've dealt with this Sears store before, and they do what they promise.
Have a Happy New Year! Scott
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Number one get different repairmen! old refrigerant are still on market! new compressor can be retrofitted if needed! have you clean under and around the unit? does defrost timer work properly? mine is 30 years old and still going!

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My thought, was it didn't sound like the compressor or refrigerant was the problem. Sounds more like a bad cold control.
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to replace than repair.
Scott
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He's got a problem with a cold control, sounds like. The compressor is irrelevant, at the moment.
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$800.00 is for 30 lb. your refrigerator as most may take one lb. Refrigerant and filter dryer $60.00 should cover it. However everybody to his own!
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Typical household fridge from that age, contains about 6.25 ounces or so of R-12. If it's leaky, the fridge runs all the time but never quite gets cold. I've been known to top them off, juice in enough to get it good and cold. The old style gas and go. Don't bother with the dryer unless you open the system for a while. Piercing valve, gas and go, and we're happy.
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Sounds like the problem is the cold control. New or old refrigerant, doesn't make a difference when the problem is the cold control. I sense that you've been misled by the Sears folks. Rather than repair a refrigerator that could be fixed, they sold you a new one. I don't like LG. Far too complicated. You'd have been better served by having your old fridge repaired by someone who knew how.
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I called an independent repairman recommended by a friend. Then, I went to Sears on my own to purchase a replacement. Sears had no input on whether to repair or replace.
Scott
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From here, it sounds like either we don't have complete info, or the independant guy isn't giving very good advice.
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