My parents have a refrigerator that is nearly 20 years old. There was a
problem with the door so my father tried to fix it. He ended up taking
the plastic part off the door where the food goes but left the gasket
loosely hanging on the door. We closed the door as tight as possible
but it most likely wasn't sealing correctly and allowing the cold to
I noticed three months later that the refrigerator was running nearly
constantly. The temp. would fluctuate between 40-60 degrees and the
inside was sweating but there were also ice formations in the back. My
father claims it's because the door isn't on tight. He got another door
without the gasket and put that up there to test, and it formed nearly
an airtight seal (better than before). However, the refrigerator is
still running constantly.
What we can't figure out is if it's running constantly because the
proper door isn't on there or because it's old and on it's last legs.
Any thoughts? The answer is what decides if we should get a new
refrigerator or not. I figure that with new refrigerators being more
energy efficient, we'll end up saving more money in the long run. My
father doesn't think about/understand things like that so he disagrees.
I'd love to hear opinions on this.
It's running constantly because it's struggling to keep up.
A 20 year old unit is probably not a efficient as a new but your old
unit can be "fixed"
IMO it's probably loaded up with frost, beyond the abiltiy to self
Top or bottom freezer?
Anyway remove all the frozen food, turn off (unplug) the unit, Open
up the frezzer & remove the interior screws that will allow access to
the condenser coils.
My guesss is that they're loaded up with ice. Use warm water & a
wet/dry vac to melt & suck up all the frost.
When all the frost & water is gone reassemble & fire it up.
I resurrected my mom's garage fridge this way......now it run normally
& keeps everything at the proper temp She was thinking she needed a
Let us know how it works out.
A refrigerator running constantly without cooling is just an enormous
waste of energy. You will see your electric bill increase, plus the
refrigerator will put out more heat. If you leave the frig as is, it
will burn out, perhaps catch fire, and you'll have to replace it.
To test a refrig seal close the door on a dollar bill. It should grab
the bill when you try to pull it out. Test the seal all the way
your better off buying a new fridge, nice shiney new purchase that will
save you big bucks on electric. of that doesnt happen at least get a
appliance repairman to service it and fix it right.
DIY is great but if youre not successful pay the price and get it fixed
The poorly fitting door seal likely allowed enough moisture to get in to
form so much ice that it is now blocking air flow. All that ice needs to be
melted before it will start functioning properly. The last time that
happened to me it took several days to thaw out properly. If the new
current seal is not properly sealing it may just freeze up again.
Frankly your father has spent more time and money on the frig than I
would have. A twenty year old fridge would not get much effort on my part.
I would be looking for a new more efficient one.
To let a frige run constantly from bad door seals is dumb , an old frige
pulling 500 watts would cost me 50$ a month, a new highly efficient
frige can cost only 4-7$ a month. New refrigerators, ones made after
2003 are 60 -65% more efficient than 20-25yr old units. Use an amp
meter to confirm it to yourself. Do you also leave your doors and
windows open with heat or AC on. That old junker is waisting maybe 500$
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 06:56:06 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org (m Ransley)
Now I'm confused. By 60 to 65% more efficient, do you mean that the
new ones use 40 to 35% of the electricity of the 20-25 year old ones?
If so, how would your bill go down from 50$ to 7-4$ dollars? Isn't
that 86 to 92 percent more efficient?
Here too. If the old one costs 600 dollars a year to run, if the new
one saves 500 dollars a year, wouldn't it have to be 83.33333% more
If his door is open as he said, it does not seal 100%, and as he said
its running continuosly, being an old unit pulling 400-500 watts it
could easily cost him 50$ a month since it is not operating correctly. A
new 19.5 cu ft Sears, the most efficient made 3 years ago costs me apx
3.5-4$ a month verified by me with a Kill-A-Watt. Average efficiency
increases on new units over 15+ yr old units is 66%, often you save much
more from old units not running at their peak, as in leaking doors or
not being cleaned
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 07:42:32 -0500, email@example.com (m Ransley)
Ok, I get it. We were still talking about one with a bad seal.
If they didn't clean the old one, they probably won't clean the new
one. Of course it will take a long time to get as dirty as the old
one, if they never cleaned the old one. People should get in the
habit of cleaning the old ones and the new ones.
Why couldn't you just screw the gasket on right?
If the holes are too big, use bigger screws. If the holes are too
small, use smaller screws and washers. I don't get it.
None of the tests below are any good as long as the door gasket is
What was it like 2 days or a month after the repair? If it was
better, what changed? The gasket?
Nearly only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Why not take the gasket from the first door and put it on the second
door? OTOH, how could the second door fit even nearly tight without a
gasket? Most gaskets are a half inch thick. Was it the wrong door?
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 07:44:28 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org (m Ransley)
I haven't replaced mine yet, but when one does, there must be a way to
attach it, instead of leaving it loosely hanging on the door, as the
OP described his.
(So whatever is done to attach a new gasket can be done to reattach
the old one, or if not, some other method can be used.)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.