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Help me fix my refrigerator.
June 19, 2011 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me fix my refrigerator.

So I'm having a major problem with my refrigerator. When I first moved into my apartment, I noticed that the food in the refrigerator section (which is under the freezer section) was spoiling. So I got some fridge thermometers, and I noticed that the fridge section was way, way too warm to keep food good. Ouch.

So I opened up my fridge/freezer, and found out that there's this plastic "shield" in the freezer which kind of blocks the cold air that comes into the freezer section and keeps it in a small area that has some holes in it that lead down into the fridge section. I guess once the air there gets cold enough, it filters into the freezer too, keeping everything in the freezer frozen. Anyway, there are 2 little "holes" in this small area that lead down into the fridge section. The 2 holes had these styrofoam blocks in them initially, but the styrofoam was getting all plugged up with ice and the cold air wasn't feeding into the frigde section.

So I took the styrofoam sections out, and that did help get air down into the fridge section, which keeps it colder. However, these two holes are STILL getting plugged up with ice. I mean, things are better now, but I have to take a screwdriver and slam it up into the holes to make sure all the ice breaks up so the cold air keeps getting into the fridge.

Someone help me. Tell me what I can do to keep ice from forming in these holes. Should I set the temperature of my fridge down (not on maximum)? Layer something around the inside of the holes (i.e., aluminum, saran wrap, etc.)? Please, please, tell me what I can do.
posted by Ephilation to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you rent or own? Can you call your landlord?
posted by pink candy floss at 8:41 PM on June 19, 2011


Something like this happened to us recently -- the back of the freezer where the vents are were covering over in ice so the fridge was warm. We had to get a repairman out who replaced the defrost thermometer and the defrost control board -- apparently a common problem. It was a couple hundred bucks.

But yeah, this shouldn't be happening, and if it is it means something's broken. Call the landlord or a repairman, depending on your ownership status.
posted by brainmouse at 8:45 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


My landlord is completely useless in fixing this situation. I tried to get them to fix it to no avail.
posted by Ephilation at 8:46 PM on June 19, 2011


Interesting brainmouse. If I just call a repairman myself without talking to the landlord, will they repair it without dealing with the landlord and all that? I honestly don't care about putting in the money myself, I just want the damn thing fixed.
posted by Ephilation at 8:47 PM on June 19, 2011


I don't see why the repairman would know whether you owned the house/fridge or not, as long as someone is paying them...
posted by brainmouse at 8:51 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the temp of the freezer? It should be 0 - 10F. Icing up freezers usually mean the exhaust vents (the hot air) are clogged, or the freon is low. Because the freezer coils should never be above freezing, so the water vapor can't really "deposit" on it, because it is frozen. And because there should basically never be any air warmer that 32F in there, so there will no be any water vapor to freeze on the coils. (Or the holes.)

Is there a separate temperature control for the freezer and fridge portion? What I usually do is set the freezer as cold as possible, and turn the fridge one up until stuff doesn't freeze in the fridge.
posted by gjc at 9:00 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your defrost cycle timer is broken, lucky for you it broke during the *compressor on* part of the cycle, my cheap fix is plug the fridge into a timer that turns it off a few hours a day so the ice in those holes can melt and presumably drain out the bottom .
posted by hortense at 9:10 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoa, hold up. Do a little research on what these parts do before you start removing insulation and banging around with a screwdriver.

RepairClinic: Refrigerator
HomeTips: Refrigerator Troubleshooting & Repair
posted by desuetude at 9:14 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


gjc writes "Because the freezer coils should never be above freezing, so the water vapor can't really 'deposit' on it, because it is frozen. And because there should basically never be any air warmer that 32F in there, so there will no be any water vapor to freeze on the coils. (Or the holes."

Air warmer than 32F enters the freezer every time you open the door. Plus 99.9% of Frost Free refrigerators circulate the air from the freezing compartment into the fresh food compartment and then draw it back up into the freezer. Frost Free is a misnomer in this case. What it means is two or three times a day a fairly hefty element comes on to melt the accumulated ice off the freezing coil so it can drain outside of the fridge.

hortense writes "Your defrost cycle timer is broken, lucky for you it broke during the *compressor on* part of the cycle, my cheap fix is plug the fridge into a timer that turns it off a few hours a day so the ice in those holes can melt and presumably drain out the bottom"

There are a half dozen components that can cause this problem. From the rough description given it sounds like the problem is either a pan heater or plugged drain. Ephilation if you can post a picture of the ice build up I might be able to give you a better idea what the problem is and you could read this thread for some specific speculation. However you shouldn't be messing with this. Call you landlord and make them aware of the problem and if it isn't fixed in a couple of days take whatever steps are required to withhold rent and hire your own repair guy.

PS: you should never be jabbing around in a fridge with anything sharper than a rubber spatula as it is pretty easy to damage the sealed system and then you will be responsible for the repair rather than your landlord.
posted by Mitheral at 10:49 PM on June 19, 2011


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