1996 Amana SXD22S2 Refrigerator has soft ice cream and seems to be
running a lot, so the usual drill:
1) Vacuum the coils under the front. No good: freezer still 15
degrees. More drastic measures required.
2) Pull it out and clean dust from fan exit grill (which is spinning
nicely), and do my best with a brush on a springy wire to clean dust
off of the nearly impossible to reach coils under the unit, still no
improvement. Hmm. Begin diagnostic phase.
3) Check fan inside the freezer is running (ok) and evaporator coils
(by the time I pulled the sheet metal) had no frost build-up (ok).
Running out of ideas.
4) Run defrost cycle by opening/closing the door 4 times within 8
seconds, verify heater comes on (ok). Unplug to stop the defrost
cycle (no frost to thaw).
5) Set the thermostat to max cool. Let it run an hour (it stays
running the whole time) and check temperature of evaporator coils with
non-contact instant IR thermometer. Inlet tube in the zero degree
range, outlet tube in the 25 degree range, but inlet and outlet are
both on the top. On the bottom (half-way through the path), the
temperature was 45 degrees! Temperature of coils under the toe kick
are 77 degrees, the room is 70 degrees.
So, I think I know the answer: new fridge, right? I know that
replacing a compressor is not a good idea, if that's the problem, but
any hope at all in adding refrigerant?
On 19 Mar 2007 18:32:36 -0700, " email@example.com"
There is a cold air transfer duct between your freezer compartment and
your main fridge compartment. That's what the fan is for, to transfer
the cold air. Check the plastic grille covers in both compartments to
satisfy yourself that there is such a duct running inside the fridge's
back wall. This duct can become blocked by a build up of ice. Just
do this. It will save a lot of explanations. Remove all the contents
in the fridge. Let the whole fridge thaw overnight with all the
fridge doors open. Use this opportunity to clean out the insides of
the fridge. Put a towel on the fridge floor to soak up the melt
water/ The fridge should work fine after the big thaw. Put your palm
against the plastic grille outlet. You should feel cold air coming
Thanks for the idea. I do agree that the fridge side is connected to
the freezer side, but when I discovered that the bottom 3/4 of the
evaporator had no frost (ie above 32 degrees) after running an hour
(and now 24 hours with the same result), I thought I could dismiss any
discussion of ice build-up anywhere. It can barely get below right on
next to the inlet side of the evaporator coils, much less maintain
less than 32 in the duct. I really want to believe you, since that
would mean no new fridge, but I'm struggling with your logic.
On 20 Mar 2007 16:54:56 -0700, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Oops. I forgot the part about switching off the power when you leave
the fridge doors open overnight. This will allow everything to thaw
throughly especially the ice in the transfer duct. Try it anyway as
it is relatively easy to do and costs nothing.
I had this trouble three or four times a year - cold freezer but warm
main compartment that soured my milk. My fridge is fairly empty most
of the time and everything looks OK. The final reason as to the cause
was a fridge door sligfhtly ajar. Sometimes I have a plastic bag of
something on the fridge door shelf. When I closed the door this bag
flops against the gallon milk container and pushed the door slightly
ajar but not enough to be noticeable. There was a constant supply of
warm moist room air into the fridge compartment. The compressor works
overtime and frost builds up in the transfer duct. The thermocouple
never opens (=compressor switch OFF) because the compartment never
gets to the desired 2 to 5 deg C for the main compartment. The
compressor seems to be running on very short cycles, etc. Anyway I
make sure that nothing in the fridge shelves sticks out just enough to
keep the door even slightly ajar. I haven't had any trouble since.
On Wed, 21 Mar 2007 01:09:32 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"
I doubt the OP is looking at the same part I am describing. The cold
air transfer duct is between the wall insulation of the fridge and
there is no way of looking into the duct to see anything let alone a
frost build up. All one can see are the two openings behind the
removeable plastic grilles, one in the freezer compartment and one in
the main compartment. Similarly you cannot see the frost buildup on
the outside of the freezer compartment cuz there's a plastic cover you
can't remove. That big thaw is a simple and cost free way of
eliminating the possibility of ice blockage as the cause of the
problem. If it fixes the problem the OP doesn't have to buy a new
fridge. If not he isn't out of money and he can save himslef a lot of
head scratching whether to recharge the refrigerant or buy a new
fridge. A fridge from 1996 should last another 20 years trouble free.
Methinks you are into scamming people to buy new fridges at the
If the only problem is a clogged duct (yes, I've seen clogged
ducts) then the freezer would be bitter cold, rock hard ice
What the OP is decribing sounds a LOT like low freon. As it's
past 1993 model, it's almost certain to be R-134A. No way to know
how fast the leak is, might leak out in a day or a year. But, if
this was my customer, I'd add freon and see how long it lasts.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
Thanks to all in this group for the advice and council. I ended-up
getting a new refrigerator (Amana bottom freezer ABB2522FEW) which is
supposed to use 475 kWh per year...pretty decent for a 25 CF unit.
I never did "call the man"*, so I didn't get an estimate for juicing-
up the freon. I suspect that would have worked, but I also suspect
I'd be looking for another fridge within a year, or maybe a month, of
that repair. So, having a higher weighting on sanity than cash flow,
I went with the new fridge.
* Remember the old Andy Griffith show where Aunt Bea wanted to squeeze
more mileage out of the old freezer, and Andy kept saying "Call the
On 19 Mar 2007 18:32:36 -0700, " email@example.com"
Sorry to say this, but I figure when a fridge has lost enough
refrigerant, it also lost enough motor cooling and oil to comprimise
the compressor. So you need to factor in the costs.
Keep your old applicance, replace compressor, and refridge
Get a newer more energy efficient fridge?
You might see some money savings on utilities with the newer ones,
plus check with your electric company. Some give cash for trading in
your old fridges, or rebates for geting new energy star appliances.
Just tossing out info, you have to figure how deep your pockets are.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
Thanks for the reply. I think the newer energy efficient fridge is in
the cards. I don't want to throw good money after bad. Consumer
Reports reported that for side-by-side refrigerators, "consider
repair" was from year 4 through year 7. After that, it was a
Good idea. I looked, but couldn't find any incentives, but your post
did get me to pay more attention to the yellow efficiency tags during
the selection process, so no instant money back, but a little money
back every power bill, eh?
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