Refrigerator seems to be struggling

An approximately 20-year old Hotpoint refrigerator seems to be having issues - I've noticed the refrigerator section doesn't seem to keeping things as cool, and seems to be running constantly and there's some sweating on the inside. The refrig coolness control has been set on 5 for the entire time I've had the refrigerator.
The freezer section seems to be fine - keeping things frozen. I checked the coils behind the back wall of the freezer, they're not iced over. The drain tube doesn't appear to be blocked.
What could be causing this? If the freezer is working, shouldn't the refrigerator section be working?
This refrig came new with the house in '88. The compressor had some kind of factory bearing lubrication issue and was replaced in '95. Had the defrost control replace once at some point and I replaced the door seal once, which seems to be in good shape.
Thanks for all input.
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My crystal ball says it's time for a new refrigerator.
Did you know that the life expectancy of your appliance is 12-15 years??
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Mine, too. Newer refrigerators are more energy-efficient, too, so even if you have to pay a little more to get a new one vs repairing the old, you'll likely get the money back on your electric bills before too long.
-Sandra the cynic
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It's probably some small thing then, because almost all fridges have only one cooling system, in the freezer I think, and some way to get some of the cold down to the fridge part.
I don't think so but conceivabley the food is frozen but still warmer than it used to be. Somewhere I inherited a fridge/freezer thermometer, but I don't remember what the proper temp for a freezer is. I also don't see why zero for example woudl be better than 30.
The most important aspect seems to me to be how hard the ice cream is, but that's a mixture, so it doesn't freeze at 32 anyhow, I thihk.
You don't need a special thermometer. You can use any outdoor thermometer that goes down to 10, which they all do. I think even indoor thermometers usually go that low (because they use the same glass part and only change the holder, in some cases). Mine is special because it has hooks that hook on the wire racks, and because it marks where the normal temps are supposed to be.

Did you dust them? Probably.

Generally yes.
CAn you eat your frozen food and your milk and just defrost the whole thing for a day or two and start all over again. I gather there is sometimes ice that gets in the way somewhere, that may be hard for one to see.
But if someone contracicts me, take him seriously if not conclusively.

Mine's 28 years old, never needed any repairs except when the mouse got caught in the fan, I had to take the dead mouse out. I don't think that counts.
My door seal is getting old too, but doesn't leak yet.

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wrote:

Why don't you stick with commenting on things you know?????
A freezer's temp is normally 0-5 degrees (so a thermometer that goes down to 10 is inadequate) and the fresh food is normally 36-38 degrees. The colder you keep your food, the longer it will stay fresh.
Please do some research before you just start posting crap!
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Thanks for pointing out my errors. I appreciate it. That's the advantage of a newsgroup.
I looked at my thermometer and it says my freezer is 10 which is quite a bit lower than I thought. I may make it a bit warmer if I get ice cream though.

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10 is not cold enough for the freezer. things will spoil in weeks rather than months.
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Rich Greenberg N Ft Myers, FL, USA richgr atsign panix.com + 1 239 543 1353
Eastern time. N6LRT I speak for myself & my dogs only. VM\'er since CP-67
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On Sun, 8 Jul 2007 00:56:42 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Rich Greenberg) wrote:

BTW, I didn't mean that everyone's should be like this, only that it might account for why I said 10 degrees. I go through periods where I eat ice cream and periods where I don't.

Nothing has spoiled yet. 20 years. Only 3 or 4 cases of freezer burn in that time, probably things I rewrapped myself, and that was on the surface and the food was still good. It's rare I would keep something for more than 2 months. I try to eat things in the freezer so if there's a sale on meat or anything, I have room to buy a lot and freeze some.
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Evaporator fan may not be working. That is what moves the cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator section. If not that, don't spend a lot of money diagnosing a 20 year old appliance.
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wrote:

Agreed, and ALSO
Are the fins clean under the unit? Is the fan working down there?
Check these things....
If all of them are fine, you are likely low on refrigerant. Getting that recharged can be costly, so you may be better off getting a new fridge. But fans can be replaced by the homeowner and fins should be cleaned regularly.
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Where would the evaporator fan likely be located?
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wrote:

Usually some place between compartments or in the back of the unit, behind a vent opening. You may find more information of your particular model at www.repairclinic.com
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IMHO: Try helping it, allow for air space around it, and clean the coils.
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
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Replace this beast right away. New refrigerators are dramatically more efficient than they were 20 years ago. Not only will you help save the environment, but the reduced cost of operation will quickly pay for the new one.
-john-
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refrigerators is much lower than it used to be. Anticipated life span of a new one would be a big factor to consider before someone buys a new one.
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The sweating means warm air is getting inside, and the moisture in warm air is condensing.

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