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mrs5388

05:43PM | 07/31/08
Member Since: 07/30/08
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I have a Kenmore Side by Side Refrigerator 596.58642891 that cools but doesn't freeze.

When we found the freezer food thawing, initial inspection revealed a mouse had built a huge nest in the condenser coils, blocking air flow.

After removing the mouse nest, the 'fridge temp would not get below 58* in either 'fridge or freezer sides.

Further inspection shows the evaporator coils to have a back side top tube temp of about 25*, then gradually warming as you follow the tubes down, reaching a temp of 58* at the bottom, then following the front set of tubes back up to the top, they gradually cool back down to the top front tube having a temp of about 40* (I would assume "heat transfer" from the rear set of tubes). The defrost unit is not on, and it does turn red when activated by the timer.

I have lots of experience with automotive A/C, and some with household A/C units, but when it comes to the 'fridge, I seem to be lost. One thing I don't follow is why frost is expected on the coils of a 'fridge, but we look at automotive and household A/C applications as being a sign of low freon or restricted air flow when frost occurs on the evaporator coils. I haven't taken the time to look to see if any of my gauges will connect to the 'fridge yet (the "drink" 'fridge has taken on the job of preserving food), but what would be expected Hi and Lo side pressures be for a 'fridge?

Could anyone shed a little experience on this?

Thanks in advance.

DanO

09:23PM | 07/31/08
Member Since: 11/11/02
2274 lifetime posts
** evaporator coils gradually warm as you follow the tubes down **

Uneven cooling of the evaporator coil is usually a sign of a refrigeration system problem. If the condenser was blocked for a long time, internal damage to the compressor could have resulted.

** I don't follow is why frost is expected on the coils of a 'fridge, but we look at automotive and household A/C applications as being a sign of low freon or restricted air flow when frost occurs on the evaporator coils. **

The evaporator of a freezer is designed to get much colder than an air conditioner evaporator is. So much so that any moisture that formed on it freezes instead of dripping off like occurs in an air conditioner.

JMO

Dan O.

www.Appliance411.com/parts/?ref411=Kenmore+Fridge

The Appliance Information Site

=D~~~~~~

mrs5388

09:56AM | 08/01/08
Member Since: 07/30/08
2 lifetime posts
Dan,

Thanks for the reply.

What you say about the temps running colder in a 'fridge vs. air conditioning makes sense as moisture is being pulled from the air on both systems, only running cold (to freeze) would not give the moisture time to escape as would air conditioning - therefore frost (and the need for "frost free")

Without a proper diagnosis, I am probably looking at a new compressor ($290 Sears) and labor to install, so roughly 1/2 the cost of a new unit. Leaves the age old question, fix an 8 year old fridge or buy new ...........

DanO

05:20PM | 08/01/08
Member Since: 11/11/02
2274 lifetime posts
** so roughly 1/2 the cost of a new unit. Leaves the age old question, fix an 8 year old fridge or buy new **

That repair cost would make it a borderline decision between repair and replacement but in the case of a refrigerator, replacing it and getting a more efficient model in the process would probably be the way to go, however...

I don't usually suggest consumers scrap an appliance on just a guess or diagnosis from afar. At the cost of a new refrigerator actually having the unit inspected by a professional first to confirm the failure would be prudent IMO.

PS. I have been told that if you purchase an extended warranty from Sears before they confirm a problem with your appliance, they will repair it for just the price of that warranty. In such a case repair could possibly be advantageous. It might be a route to investigate?

Dan O.

www.Appliance411.com/parts/?ref411=Kenmore+Fridge

The Appliance Information Site

=D~~~~~~

Keagan

04:40AM | 07/01/09
Member Since: 06/30/09
1 lifetime posts
What did you ever do about this? Ours is also 8 years old and the same thing has happened...minus the mouse nest. However, the night before we vacuumed the really dusty coils.

Please let me know!! Your input is appreciated! Thanks!!!

DanO

10:44AM | 07/01/09
Member Since: 11/11/02
2274 lifetime posts
** the same thing has happened **

... resulting in the same thing, partially frosted evaporator coil??

... and on the same make and model number of appliance?

Dan O.

www.Appliance411.com/parts/?ref411=Kenmore+Fridge

The Appliance Information Site

=D~~~~~~

bevoboy

08:54AM | 07/02/09
Member Since: 07/01/09
2 lifetime posts
... with the freezer being cool but not freezing. I can feel the cold air in the back but my food was thawing out and would not make ice. I could feel the cold air blow into the milk storage compartment in the frig. This went on for about a day or so then last night...boom, it was making ice and cold. My wife did notice some water puddled on the floor around the frig yesterday afternoon. A buddy said it could possibly have something to due with the heater switch/solenoid that keeps the freezer frost free. I am cleaning out under the frig the 8 years of dust that has accumulated.

Any ideas before replacing parts or calling someone out?

I have the same make and model.

DanO

09:05AM | 07/02/09
Member Since: 11/11/02
2274 lifetime posts
** Any ideas before replacing parts or calling someone out? **

You can read about cooling problems at the following link. They have to be tested/inspected *at the time of the failure* and before any sort of manual defrosting, etc.

- My refrigerator is not cooling properly. What might be the problem?

LINK > www.appliance411.com/links/jump.cgi?ID=659

** then last night... boom, it was making ice and cold. **

A service technician would also need to see it *in its failed state* so if you were going to call one, it would have to be while it was actually malfunctioning.

JFYI

Dan O.

www.Appliance411.com/parts/?ref411=Kenmore+Fridge

The Appliance Information Site

=D~~~~~~

bevoboy

04:08AM | 07/06/09
Member Since: 07/01/09
2 lifetime posts
Guess I will have to wait until it happens again.
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