Fridge Broke, Food Soggy
December 3, 2009 7:06 PM   Subscribe

My landlord finally replaced my tiny old fridge today. Yay! However, the new fridge isn't doing it's job. AT ALL. Help me save my food!

The maintenance people for my building came by this morning to replace my ancient fridge. After they had left, I put all my food back in the fridge and left for work, assuming the fridge would cool down to a reasonable temperature by the time I came home. I was wrong.

When I came home from work, I opened the freezer to get something for dinner. I found it strangely warm, but I always kept my old fridge turned way low and so I chalked this up to "high efficiency" refrigeration. When I noticed that the ice cube trays were full of water, I pulled out the thermometers. Two different thermometers measured 13C (!) - that's 55F. In the FREEZER.

It gets better, though. The instructions I got with the fridge (and found online) do not match the controls! The freezer control is a slider between the endpoints "Strong" and "Weak". I have it set all the way to "Strong". I have the fridge temperature control all the way at "Colder" (vs. "Cold"). I'm scared to turn them all the way the other way and completely ruin all my food.

The compressor runs, though quietly. The fan runs. The light is very dim, though it does say "15W max".

My question: is there anything I can do to fix this? The fridge is brand new. Is there some step in the setting-up process that the maintenance people might have missed? Is this normal for new fridges? If the conclusion here is that it's broken, I'll call the landlord. It will take them a few days to get here, though, so I'd like to see if there's something I could do before all my food goes bad. Thanks!

(Oh, and it's a GE GTR12.)
posted by wsp to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
5-6 hours to reach the desired 3C temp. At this point there is a good chance that there is something wrong with the unit. Transfer your food to a cooler/ice chest until this is all sorted out.
posted by saradarlin at 7:17 PM on December 3, 2009

Generally you're supposed to let the fridge sit unplugged for a day or two after it's delivered, to let the freon or whatever it is settle to the bottom, where it's supposed to be. If they plugged it in right away, which it sounds like they did, that could be the problem.
posted by Dr. Send at 7:21 PM on December 3, 2009

I see you're in Canada and also that it's December - keeping your frozen food from going bad shouldn't be too hard...

(Sure sounds like a bad unit to me.)
posted by fritley at 8:18 PM on December 3, 2009

The unit was bad. I called, and surprisingly enough, they sent someone over right away. Best answers all 'round, and a wasted question for me. Thanks all!
posted by wsp at 8:56 PM on December 3, 2009

As an aside ,Dr. Send I've heard about the leaving a new fridge unpluged for 24 hours but I believe that is no longer the case. Only old models with old compressors need this TLC. Anyone that you can buy (at least in NA and Western Europe) should be just fine.
posted by saradarlin at 9:39 PM on December 3, 2009

Yeah, a few months ago my landlords replaced my broken cheap fridge with a new cheap fridge and I had ice cubes within a couple hours. One thing I learned in the process, though, was that you can feel the rack of coils on the back of the fridge to figure out if it's actually broken or not. If they're not hot, the fridge needs work or replacement. Also, if you there is a problem, unplug the refrigerator because it will just blow warm air if you leave it running.
posted by rhizome at 11:12 PM on December 3, 2009

Turns out the compressor was bad (which is why it was so quiet). They replaced it with the exact same model and the freezer dropped below freezing within the first 10 minutes.

Also: Fridges are much easier to move than they look.
posted by wsp at 5:09 AM on December 4, 2009

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