Broken refrigerator
October 29, 2010 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Refrigerator trouble.

There was an unfortunate incident in my refrigerator involving a screwdriver and freezer. This is the kind of compact model that has a freezer combined with the main compartment. I know that freezer definitely won't work anymore, because all freon is gone, but is there a chance that the main compartment will still work?

I don't really need / use a freezer (since it doesn't work well anyway when integrated like that). I didn't try turning it on yet, because even if it works, I wouldn't know if it's safe to operate it like that at all.

If not, what's a good small refrigerator to get in 300-400 range?
posted by rainy to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Nope, you're boned. The cooling from these models all comes from the freezer unit. Buy a new one.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:52 PM on October 29, 2010

There is, unfortunately, no chance the main compartment will still work. There's only one refrigeration system in these things and it cools both the freezer and the main compartment. Yours now has zero refrigeration systems. Sorry.
posted by FishBike at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2010

I'm assuming you were "defrosting" it with a screwdriver and poked a hole in a coil. If so, maybe a local repair person could solder it shut and recharge it. It's worth calling around and asking. If so you'll come out way under $400.

Look in your yellow pages and look for little repair outfits named after their owner ("Joe Schmoe's heating and cooling"). Refrigerators have more in common with air conditioners than with other appliances, so try both air conditioning repair shops and appliance repair shops. Just describe what you did and what's wrong and ask if they can fix it. (What I mean is: stop being embarrassed before you call.)
posted by fritley at 1:42 PM on October 29, 2010

Response by poster: This model is actually available for $330 at some places (shipping included). At one place they said just coming and looking at it is $60 and the lowest fix charge (i.e. for simplest repair) is $190. I'll wait for other places to call back..
posted by rainy at 2:45 PM on October 29, 2010

Best answer: Disclaimer: I work for a major appliance manufacturer.

If you did what I think you did, and punctured the coil with the screwdriver, you are shit out of luck. My company does not recommend soldering shut and recharging a (formerly) sealed refrigeration system--it's too common that the soldering doesn't fully repair the leak, and a year or so later you're back where you started.

To really repair it, the entire sealed system would have to be replaced. Average cost to replace the sealed system: $450 USD.

One important note: nearly all home refrigeration systems get their cold air from the freezer compartment. It's generated there, and then circulated between the freezer and the fresh food section. Thus, it's important to note that no matter what kind of refrigerator that you get--a side-by-side, a top-mount, a bottom-mount, whatever--under no circumstances do you want to take action that could result in the sealed system being breached.

That means if you wind up with frost on the inside of your unit, DO NOT SCRAPE AWAY THE FROST. If it's manual defrost refrigerator, man up and defrost it the old fashioned way. If it's an automatic defrost unit, you have some kind of malfunction and should call for service.
posted by magstheaxe at 3:56 PM on October 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I decided to get a new one because I wanted to have a working freezer anyway, and I had other problems with this refrigerator..
posted by rainy at 7:24 AM on October 30, 2010

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