Refrigerator: Fix or Replace ?

Hotpoint 2.18 ft3 NoFrost CSX22G.
25-30 years old.
Stopped working some weeks ago, found solid ice behind freezer side back wall, defrosted, and all was well....
...until yesterday, and now it's all iced up again.
I am thinking high probability that the self-defrosting mechanism is out to lunch and my conundrum is whether to get it repaired or replaced.
I'm thinking $900 for a new replacement, minimum $300 to repair... maybe more?
"Conundrum" because, before I realized it needed defrosting the first time, I spent some hours on the phone trying to line up a repair guy. Wound up trying Sears: $155 just to come out to the house, and then more as parts/labor dictate. Luckily they never showed up - but also never called to say they were not going to make it......
So much for Sears...
But I wasn't having any luck lining up any other vendors. Is large appliance repair becoming a lost art?
Am I trying to fool Mother Nature by getting this thing fixed?
Or is 25-30 years a good time to start thinking "New" ?
--
Pete Cresswell

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Mine frosted up due to a leaking door seal. I'd guess this is much more likely than any other cause.

If I remember right, mine was fixed by a Sears contractor. Many years ago.

If the thing is otherwise showing it's age, might be time to replace.
--
Dan Espen

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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 03 Feb 2018 13:49:43 -0500, Dan Espen

My seal is splitting in one area (or more) at the outer side and nearest the door, but it doesn't actually open up and when the door is shut, it's squeezed even tighter, so I don't think that's a problem yet**.
Dan, yours was worse, I suppose??
**No frosting. Even when I've failed to shut the door to the fridge, 2 or 3 times, all night, there is water condensed inside it, but no frosting. Oh, that was another thing I thought might cause the compressor to burn out, but it is still working fine.

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Put a piece of paper in the door and close it. You should be able to pull it out but you'll feel pretty strong drag. Try in a few places.
My door was mounted a bit off. The hinges needed to be adjusted.
--
Dan Espen

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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 03 Feb 2018 19:12:57 -0500, Dan Espen

Okay.

That's even cheaper!
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On 2/3/2018 1:44 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Maybe $300 today and the compressor goes the next day. At that age, time to replace. You'll save a few bucks on electricity too. I save $10 a month with a new fridge and that will cover the $600 difference is five years.
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[snip]
"Sears" service is sub contracted out, usually to a group called "A and E". And yes, they charge something like $75 - $100 to just look, and then another $75 - $100 plus parts to do the repair. Minimum.
In my case it was the light switch that's in the door frame. I picked up the replacement via Sears Parts [a] for $10 or so. Reasonable.
But it was _very hard_ to pop out the old one so I figured better to pay $100 (my initial guess) to their service rep to do the 10 minutes of work.
The service tech who showed up insisited he had to enter in the dual charge...
After he left I wrote a firm but polite note to Eddie's office stating that I felt, and was comfortable, paying the basic $100. But nothing more.
They called me back and agreed to cut down the bill.
Anyway, enough of that. If you've got a 20 y/o refrigerator the simple answer is that unless it's a trivial repair, such as cleaning and recleaning the coils - including the hidden ones - and double checking the door frame for leaks...
Unless it's something that simple, then dump it.
Note that in many areas you can get a free pickup and maybe even a rebate from your local utility.
[a] searparts.com is a superbly arranged repalr parts warehouse/web interface. A great many of the parts which you'd think should just be $5 to $10 are, indeed, $5 to $10.
Many are more of course.
Not just Sears but lotsof other, semi associated and affiliated, brands
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On Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 2:07:06 PM UTC-6, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I think you nailed it.
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On Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 1:44:29 PM UTC-5, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

IMO, it's either fix it yourself, which you might be able to do if it's just the defrost, or get a new one. If you're OK with it otherwise and can diagnose it, you can figure out what the cost of the replacement parts are.
Otherwise, I'd look for a new one. If you can get a few weeks out of this one, might be able to find a great deal. I found a Kitchenaid stainless, side by side, for $1300 at BestBuy a few years ago. Regular price was twice that. It was floor model and had a couple tiny dings.
The new ones draw just 90W or so when running. So you;ll save on electric over the years too.
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Per trader_4:

Just ordered a replacement for the obviously-funky defrost heater. Replacement includes thermostat.
I'll put those in, expect to get at least a couple weeks out of it even if that's not the problem, and start pricing replacements.
Replacements are a little tricky in that it is a smaller unit and the space it has to fit in just barely accommodates it.
--
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On 2/3/18 11:31 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Amazon lets one sort them out by size. That would help narrow your choices.
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says...

I hate the houses that have only a certain small space for the refregerator and stoves. The house I bought only had a small space and could not fit in much of a frig. That is for a 4 bedroom house. As it is just me and the wife it is ok, but for a large family the frig would be on the small size.
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On 2/4/2018 9:40 AM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

You solution is to marry off the kids once they hit 16.
We are limited to a 33" fridge. We got a nice Samsung but the size severely limits the choices. I also had to cut the bottom of the cabinet above it. The one that has not been opened in 20 years anyway.
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On 2/3/2018 12:44 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

[snip]

At that age, I'd just go for new. As others have said, the new are more efficient and cheaper to run. Then too, fix the auto defrost and the compressor will take a hike within a week. ;)
One other consideration, check with your electric company. Here in IL, Communist Edison is offering a bounty of $100 for older, non-green units. They come out, pick it up and give you $100. Only caveat is that it must be in working condition. So. . . defrost it and give them a call and have them snag it when it's running.
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says...

Anything around the house is a throw away when it comes to repair costs for items less than $ 1000 or so unless you can do the repair yourself.
Being frozen up tends to indicate a bad fan motor, self defrosting mode messed up or part controlling it bad.
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On Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 3:56:17 PM UTC-5, Ralph Mowery wrote:

You got me thinking. How about some paper or something blocking the path where the air is supposed to flow? Might as well start with the easiest, cheapest things first. He could go to one of the online parts sites and look for diagrams of how it's put together and how it works.
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On Sat, 3 Feb 2018 13:01:41 -0800 (PST), trader_4

I'd try some DIY items before scrapping it : : completely thaw it out : thoroughly clean coils & fan & air-flow areas : thoroughly clean the chamber/tube that joins the freezer to the fridge compartments : thoroughly clean the condensate drainage : check the price of a new defrost timer and replace it if it's a cheap one. < can be under $ 20. or well over $ 100. >
https://www.amresupply.com/part/5304491321-Frigidaire-Refrigerator-Defrost-Timer
https://www.amresupply.com/part/215846604-USE-CC922
John T.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 03 Feb 2018 16:37:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

Real easy repair, whether it's the one just below the freezer, or the one at the bottom. My bottom one is right near the back, and I think most of these things are built the same way, regardlss of brand.

Good idea. After about 30 years, I finally cleaned my coils with a brush** or a vacuum cleaner, alhthough for some strange reason they weren't dirty. They must be the only part of my house that isn't dusty.
**They sell special coil brushes, narrow enough to go between them iiuc, but I'm not sure they'd be any better than a vacuum, especially a shop-vac. You should be able to see the dust, and how much less there is after you clean.

good idea.

Amazing. Yours are either $13 or 134!! And they look about the same.
(Even the connectors look about the same, though the cheap one doesn't have a color code. I wonder if it uses the same code as the expensive one, 1=blue,2=red. 3=brown, 4=black. )
Is there a heater that does the defrosting? If so, the contacts are probably 2 AC contacts and a normally open switch for the heater. Would that leave cooling competing with the heating or would the 40 or 50 degree warm freezer walls not really compete with the cold air?
Or is the compressor turned off when the defrosting is going on?
Isn't there a wiring diagram on the back of a fridge, or somewhere else? And once the OP knows the wiring, can't he test the AC supply to the defrost timer, the defrost timer itself, and the defrost heater coils, if any?

My mother had a self-defrosting fridge that I think my father bought in 1953. She woudl still have it but decided it was too expensive to move when she moved in 1966.
She always complained that it didnt' defrost when she wanted it to, and the last year she had it I read the label that surrounded the knob (behind a metal panel) and she was supposed to set that knob to the current time, instead of the time she wanted it to defrost. So I guess it always defrosted at whatever time it was when she had set the knob.
Other than that it worked perfectly.

"This timer will activate for 21 minutes every 6 hours."
My mother's only defrosted once per day (at 3AM, if you set the clock right).

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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 03 Feb 2018 18:46:24 -0500, micky

- Well, almost. It was supposed to defrost only once per day at 3AM.
Say it was 4PM when she adjusted the knob, which she set, say, for 2AM. Now the fridge thinks it's 2AM and it plans to defrost at 3AM, which it thinks is an hour later, which is in fact 5PM. So it defrosts at 5PM, just when she was most likely to notice it.
So it always defrosted within an hour or two of the time she set the clock.
I guess one should read the manual, and the plate that surrounded the knob.

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wrote:

I would suspect the door seals too. Also make sure the circulation fan is running and the ports are clear. Don't stack things in front of the louvers. Beyond that I agree I would not spend a lot of money on a fridge that old.
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