Keeping an old fridge running

I am moving into a house that was empty for over a year. The refrigerator
must be at least 20 years old, a side-by-side 18 c.f. When I cleaned it out
and plugged it in, it worked fine. After a few weeks, it got very warm. I
emptied it out and left the doors open. A few days later, just out of
curiosity, I plugged it in again. It worked right away, and got plenty cold
in both sections - then failed again after a couple of days. The compressor
anfd fan are one, and I noticed that the door was warm.
I'd replace it immediately, but it's an odd size and I haven't found a new
one to fit. I'm pretty handy with tools. Is there any chance that it's the
thermostat, defrost control or something else I can easily replace? Even a
few hours' work would beat tearing out cabinets to fit a new one.
Thanks-
Theo
Reply to
Theo
"Theo" writes:
From what i've heard, it's a losing battle fixing old fridges... the payback period for a new one is usually fairly short, considering how inefficient the old one likely is.
If it's an odd size, perhaps you can buy a smaller one and be handy making shelves (for say cookbooks or such) or just a faceplate to fill the gap.
Good luck.
Reply to
Philip Lewis
this is Turtle.
You sound to have a Defrost System Failure. This is not a big fix but can get a little tricky and you might call a refrigerator repair service to have them look at it. If not some of the posters here have some website that trouble shoot the refrigerator yourself. I think it's Jeff or Dan-o and they maybe posting here too. For a starter here. Most of the time it is the ''' defrost timer ''' that goes out when you set a box up for a long time and have this problem.
TURTLE
Reply to
TURTLE
Easiest thing to do here, is replace the tank. Its 20 years old for cryin out loud.
What has probably failed, is the defrost timer, or the elements...and depending on the unit, you might find a new fridge is about as cheap.
I dont get that comment about the compressor and the fan being one....being one what? They are not one unit...
Reply to
CBHVAC
refrigerator
one....being
It may be as simple as the defrost thermostat..We have a frigidaire that was doing the exact same thing..It would ice up every two or three days, then I would defrost it and it would work for a while longer..the timer was working but it would not allow the elements to turn on..Replaced it for about 12.00 and it fixed it..The thermostat is usually attached directly to the evaporator coil... John
Reply to
John
one....being
Errp - sorry! I meant to write "on" - i.e., both are running.
Though I haven't fixed a lot of fridges, I'm pretty sure it's something like that. Thanks for the support - I'm going to go ahead and open up the control box. Can't break it any worse!
And to other comments: I'd love to just replace the box, but any modern unit would force me to cut out some built-in cabinets that I value and would stick out into a key passageway. Also, money is tight at the moment.
Thanks-
Theo
Reply to
Theo
It it is 20 years old, chuck it. If you have been to 6 or more appliance stores and can't find a new refrigerator the same size, chances are they don't make one that size any more. Just buy a new refrigerator that will fit and worry about filling the space later. It is simply not worth the aggravation of fiddling with a 20 year old refrigerator that is not working properly. Des
refrigerator
plenty cold
Reply to
Des Perado
Hi,
Some common trouble makers.....
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Make sure the condensor ( hot tubing ) is clean and not overly covered with dust and if used on your rerigerator....that the condensor fan motor is running ok.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid
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Reply to
jeff
refrigerator
Could be a couple of thing, but the fact that it started to work OK after sitting, leads me to believe the evaporator coil is freezing over. One possible cause is the fan between the freezer and fridge compartments. If it stops, it will not circulate the cold air. It will also allow the evap coil to freeze. Sitting allowed it to defrost and start the cycle over again.
I'd at least check that out. You may have to do some digging behind panels to find the location of the fan. Ed
Reply to
Edwin Pawlowski
If you're sure both compressor and fans were still running at the times of failure, I agree that your symptom could be caused by a problem in the defrost system. You can read about how that works at the following link:
How does a frost free refrigerator's defrost system work?
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If that's the cause it would likely be well worth it to fix until the time you can find an appropriate replacement and/or do remodeling to accept a currently available model.
It the compressor happened to stop and cause the warming, it could have just overheated until it had a chance to cool down again.
The front perimeter of the fridge is suppose to be warm to prevent condensation from forming there. It may be exasperated (get hotter than normal) by a plugged condenser (which should be thoroughly cleaned) or feel hotter because the fridge's cold couldn't offset that area's heat.
JMO
Dan O. - Appliance411.com
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Reply to
Dan O.

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