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Thread: Refrigerator problem: freezer keeps defrosting

  1. #1
    DIY Member SD44's Avatar
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    Default Refrigerator problem: freezer keeps defrosting

    Guys,

    we moved into a new house and bought a used fridge. Everything works fine, but for some reason about once a week the freezer thaws everything out, then starts back freezing the next day. I figured there must be some defrost control somewhere that is on, but I've looked everywhere inside this thing and can only find the temp controls for the fridge side and the freezer side.

    What can I do to stop it from thawing out weekly?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Some freezers have a timer that defrosts things to make it "frost free". There is usually a switch that lets you turn off the "frost free" control. It will save electricity if it is off.

    Most refrigerators control the temperature of the freezer (which is the coldest) and then control the refrigerator section by a device that allows air to circulate between the freezer and the refrigerator sections.

    One problem with some is that there is a drain near the evaporator, which is usually behind a panel at the back or bottom of the freezer. Sometimes that drain gets plugged and must be cleaned out.

    Another problem is that sometimes the evaporator gets covered with ice which prevent it from operating properly. There are two ways to get the ice off the evaporator; the easy, slow way; and the harder fast way.

    The harder fast way is to remove everything from the freezer and get out your screwdriver and remove that panel that covers the evaporator. The, using a hair dryer and your fingers (sharp screwdrivers are not recommended because if you punch a hole in the coil you have ruined the refrigerator) remove all traces of ice in and around the evaporator coils.

    While you are at it, make sure the fan at the evaporator is working.

    If you find no ice then you have done all of that work for nothing.

    The slow and easy way is to remove everything from the freezer and pack it in insulated coolers or boxes with crumpled newspaper for insulation, unplug the refrigerator, and blow warm air into the freezer with a fan (slower) or hair dryer (faster) until you are sure that all of the hidden ice has melted. One problem with this method is that you usually can't get at the maybe-plugged drain.

    After you are done, turn the freezer temperature to coldest setting and use the refrigerator control to keep the lettuce from freezing.

    If this doesn't fix the problem, and your refrigerator is more than about 10 years old, you should replace it rather than try to get it fixed because the new ones are much more efficient and you will eventually save the cost by using less electricity.

  3. #3
    DIY Member SD44's Avatar
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    Are there any hidden areas that a frost free control may be hiding?

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    http://www.appliance411.com/faq/howdefrostworks.shtml

    The description at the link is better than my description and is probably closer to modern refrigerators.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default reefer

    Look up the make and model on the internet and see if this is a common problem, and maybe find the cure for it.

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    DIY Member SD44's Avatar
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    I went back to the place I bought it, and the guy said it sounds like the thermostat is bad. He told me that next time it cut out, to tap the thermstat with my fingers. It worked. I've had it to cut out a couple times, and i can tap or thump the front of the thermostat control and the light will blink and it will kick on.

    Is it alot of trouble to change the thermostat? I'm a modest handyman at best.
    Last edited by SD44; 04-21-2008 at 07:12 AM.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Try adjusting the thermostat (freezer setting). Crank it from lowest to highest to lowest a few times, and then leave it set on the lowest setting. That may get something unstuck. You could try putting a little light (low viscosity) silicone oil on the working parts of the thermostat. Silicone oil doesn't get thick at low temperatures.

    Changing a thermostat requires finding it inside the panel, disconnecting the power from it by disconnecting a pair of push-on connectors, dismount it with a couple of screws, install the new one, reconnect power, and put the panels back on. It will usually have a tube (sometimes a wire) that goes to the freezer that senses the temperature and actuates the thermostat. You must take care not to damage that tube of the fluid will leak out and the thermostat won't work.

    You may find it is a pretty expensive part, but you can search on-line. Then try to find it locally for near the same price. Some on-line places are no bargain when you include shipping.

  8. #8
    DIY Member SD44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH View Post
    Try adjusting the thermostat (freezer setting). Crank it from lowest to highest to lowest a few times, and then leave it set on the lowest setting. That may get something unstuck. You could try putting a little light (low viscosity) silicone oil on the working parts of the thermostat. Silicone oil doesn't get thick at low temperatures.

    Changing a thermostat requires finding it inside the panel, disconnecting the power from it by disconnecting a pair of push-on connectors, dismount it with a couple of screws, install the new one, reconnect power, and put the panels back on. It will usually have a tube (sometimes a wire) that goes to the freezer that senses the temperature and actuates the thermostat. You must take care not to damage that tube of the fluid will leak out and the thermostat won't work.

    You may find it is a pretty expensive part, but you can search on-line. Then try to find it locally for near the same price. Some on-line places are no bargain when you include shipping.
    Thanks, I'll try changing the settings everyday for a few days and see if that does the trick. If not, I'll bite the bullet and change it. So far, the average online price that I've seen for it is around $55.

  9. #9

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    You may try to adjust the thermostat on your refrigerator. Ukf8001axx

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