Some items in refrigerator are freezing

Frigidaire Refrigerator/Top-Mount Freezer, Model Number FRT21P5A.
I got a call from a tenant who is saying that some items in the refrigerator are freezing up -- milk, vegetables, etc. Apparently, the freezer part is working fine. However, she said if she turns the refrigerator temp setting down (from "colder" toward "cold"), things in the fridge do not get cold enough.
She said this is not an urgent problem, but she thinks it has been getting worse over the past 6 months and she is concerned that maybe the refrigerator is getting ready to fail. I am going to head over there in a day or two.
My question is, does anyone have any suggestions of what I should look for or try while there? If it is not a simple fix or it needs a part replaced or something like that, I'll have an appliance repair person come out. I don't actual refrigerator repairs since I don't know enough about them. But, if there is something I can try adjusting or cleaning or whatever, I'd like to give that a try first.
Thanks.
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RogerT wrote:

    The first thing I would do is defrost the refrigerator completely. It is probably a frost free one, but there still could be a lot of ice build up that is not being removed during the defrost cycle. Check to see that water is flowing via the rubber tube to the pan where the defrost water evaporates. If the tube is blocked, then the water will simply refreeze after the cycle.
    Next check to see if the fan that blows cold air from the freezer compartment to the refrigerator compartment is working well. If there is any noise when the fan runs or obstruction due to ice build up so that cold air is not being sent to the refrigerator compartment, that could be the problem.
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Yes. Likely probems. Also check door seal is god & not letting humid air in which freezes. Also putting in lots of wet, unwrapped food can cause excessive icing..
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Thanks all for the suggestions. I'll probably be going there tomorrow (Friday) to see if I can figure out what the problem is. I'll try looking for what everyone suggested.
One thing that I am not sure of is why, if some of the problems suggested are present, the refrigerator section would be colder than normal and cause freezing rather than warmer than normal. I do see how if the door seal is a problem maybe the more humid air would freeze easier in the refrigerator section.
My guess is that I won't be able to figure it out on my own, but I'll post back here either way just to follow up.
RogerT wrote:

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RogerT wrote:

    This may be a moot point since you are going to check out your refrigerator, but since you asked: Most frig/freezer units have the cooling coils in the freezer compartment, and they blow cold air into the refrigerator compartment in order to cool it. If anything obstructs the free flow of cold air into the frig compartment the thermostat (located in the frig compartment) keeps the compressor running, even though it is plenty cold in the freezer section.
    So a fan blowing cold air that is not working properly, or any obstruction to the flow of air would restrict the flow of cold air. Additionally the unit has a defrost timer that starts the defrost cycle expecting any ice that has accumulated to be defrosted during that cycle. When this happens the melted ice is supposed to drain through a hose into a pan sitting over the compressor motor. The heat from the motor causes the water to evaporate. If the ice is so great that not enough time is given for it to melt, the ice simply builds up even more. The built up ice might even restrict the air flow.
    Now there may be some variations to your unit, but the principle is similar. Unplug the unit for a couple of hours and watch to see if water is draining into the pan. If none is draining, you might have a clogged drain hose or a large accumulation of ice.
he door seal is a

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My first thought is the settings. She can fix this without you going over. Assuming that there is a separate knob for the freezer and the refrigerator temp controls, set the freezer to one notch colder. Wait a day and see what happens.
The refrigerator temp control controls the thermostat that turns the compressor on and off. The freezer temp control simply adjusts the amount of cold that goes from the freezer to the refrigerator area. Setting the freezer knob one notch colder will let less cold air in the freezer pass into the refrigerator and thus make that compartment warmer. It takes a day or so for the temps to balance, and getting the adjustments right is a trial and error exercise which may take several days to complete. It can be made more accurate if you buy her two refrigerator thermometers, one for the freezer, one for the refrigerator compartment.
--
Peace,
BobJ


Good luck, this may be simpler and cheaper than you think.
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I had that problem with stuff in the freezer blocking the ports. The freezer was trying to work too hard, freezing the fridge.
Greg
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gregz wrote:

See if the refrig maker has a help line or website. Could be an airflow problem in either the freezer, as Greg says, or the refrig.
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Weird coincidence, the fridge part of our bottom-freezer "dual temp" Maytag has been getting too cold over the past week, too. While I was coming up with an improbable, over-complicated explanation about condensation and evaporative cooling, my wife took it apart and figured it out.
On this model, the airflow from the freezer into the fridge is moderated by a rectangular spring-loaded damper, way at the top back of the compartment, which is moved by a plunger driven by a mechanical thermostatic mechanism offset by the fridge's temp dial. This is all hidden behind plastic bezels.
What had happened was the damper's spring had come unhooked and the damper was hanging wide open, allowing freezer air to flow freely into the fridge.
(On these models the freezer has its own temp dial, which controls the actual compressor cycle; so no matter how we dialed the fridge the compressor kept running and freezing both compartments. On a single- dial appliance, turning down the dial will reduce compressor operation, which is why your tenants can get it into a not-cold-enough mode if they dial it down enough.)
My wife hooked it back up (without dropping it into the air channel, as I would have) and hey presto, back to normal.
Chip C Toronto
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On 8/12/2011 9:35 AM, Chip C wrote:

does she make house calls?
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Bitch! <BSEG>
Buy her a beer-- and bring it to her.
Jim
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On Aug 12, 4:52pm, "Stormin Mormon"

Sears just fixed a similar problem in our Kenmore. Don't know what they did, as only my housemate was at home.
BUT, fridge started making funny noises later that day. They were intermittent, so I put off calling for service. Last night, the fridge and freezer temp began to shoot up. We called Sears at 11:30 PM, and a live human answered, promising service for today, Saturday, while simultaneously saying that someone would call the day before, to confirm. We pointed out that there were now only 10 minutes left in "the day before," and the person on the phone finally seemed to understand and promised someone would be here this afternoon.
About 6 AM today, Sears sent me an e=-mail saying that my fridge would be fixed....Monday morning. And that "You'll get a confirmation call the day before."
So much for all the food in there!
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On 8/13/2011 8:27 AM, Ivan wrote:

(sorry for the direct reply- Tbird is still randomly sending to author instead of group)
Too late now, I guess, but no gas stations near you sell bags of ice?
--
aem sends....

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..
Gas stations don't, but convenience stores do. Right now, we have ice bags in the fridge, the freezer, and a picnic cooler (which seems to be doing the best job).
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On Aug 13, 5:42pm, "Stormin Mormon"

Sears called back later in the day, saying I should call them about rescheduling. Now they're sending someone on the 23d!
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Thanks again to everyone for all of the suggestions. I finally got over to the house to really check out the fridge and I couldn't find much of a problem. "Maybe" there was a tiny bit of slight icing up on one bottle of Coke that was there but I couldn't find anything else frozen. The tenant pointing to a pot of rice-and-something that she said was frozen, but it was actually something with some fat-type product in it and the fat had solidified but wasn't "frozen".
I did check everything out that everyone suggested (I printed out all of the ideas before going there and checked them all) and nothing seemed to be a problem -- nothing was blocked, nothing covering the thermostat, etc. The freezer thermostat was set at the middle "recommended" setting and the fridge thermostat was set to the coldest setting. I turned the freezer thermostat more toward the colder setting and backed off the fridge thermostat one notch back from the coldest setting toward the less cold setting. We'll see what happens after the fridge adjusts to the new seetings, but I think it will be fine.
RogerT wrote:

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RogerT wrote the following:

First, you must know how a refrigerator/freezer works. The freezer is the sole source of the cooling in the fridge. If the valve between the freezer and fridge freezes up, cold air will continue to flow into the fridge, and it will become as cold as the freezer. The only fix is to pull the plug and let the valve defrost and be operationable.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I don't think my situation would involve the valve you described being frozen since the items in the fridge are not really freezing.
Someone here and/or something that I read in the Frigidaire manual suggested turning the freezer thermostat to a colder setting and moving the fridge thermostat to a less cold setting. So I tried that for now and I have a hunch that will work.
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