I am pretty sure these don't belong behind my fridge's coils!
July 15, 2013 3:29 PM   Subscribe

My freezer (the one that's the top portion of my fridge) stopped working and I've called an applliance repair person. I just pulled the fridge from the wall and I noticed styrofoam (2 pieces) wedged behind the coils. The coils look like this. I am pretty sure they were there (as packing material?) when the fridge was new and the previous home owner did not remove them. I can't imagine there should be styrofoam wedged in there! Should there be?

I am taking the pieces out -- there are only two small pieces -- one at the top and the other at the bottom. It seems to me I should as they don't belong. Should I remove them?

I wonder if they have anything to do with the freezer not getting very cold? Is this possible?

I pulled the unit out to see if it was dusty or if anything was frozen back there. No on both counts. The unit is less than 2 years old. A low-end GE.

Final question: if the repair man does not come tonight -- it may be tomorrow, should I unplug it? I am worried it could overheat and be a danger.
posted by Lescha to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Depending on where the pieces are, they could be causing problems.

But they definitely shouldn't be there.

If it were me, I'd taken them out and save them to show the repair guy. Probably with a picture of where they are.
posted by theichibun at 3:34 PM on July 15, 2013

If they just come out easy, then yeah, they are probably just packing materials.

But they aren't the reason the freezer isn't getting cold.
posted by gjc at 3:35 PM on July 15, 2013

Two things come to mind, they might be there to prevent the coils getting smooshed against the main box, or they might be there to eliminate minor humming/ratteling. Ask the repair guy but I'd be surprised if they where the culprit
posted by edgeways at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

The only way the styro pieces could affect the operation of the freezer is if they were blocking airflow up and down the coils. But that would have been like that since Day 1. I agree they might be to prevent rattling.

If it's only the freezer section that's not working, I would leave the fridge plugged in. Unless something is humming loudly or smelling hot (like an overloaded fan) down underneath where the compressor is, I doubt the unit is a fire or shock hazard.

Check to be sure you didn't just slide or knock the temperature control, if there's one inside the fridge compartment.
posted by Kakkerlak at 3:38 PM on July 15, 2013

Unless you have a very expensive unit (and it appears you do not), the freezer and refrigerator parts are connected with an air duct. Many folks pack the freezer so full that air flow between the sections is impeded. That's not your complaint, but it is the most common hiccup I have seen.

If the freezer itself isn't getting cold, but it's cold enough to keep the lower section cool, it's probably either missing coolant (unlikely) or something wrong with either the evaporator or compressor. Evaporators fail, I know, and I recently had one replaced in my SubZero box. The entire system is hermetically sealed.

Some of these things can run basically forever, and in my adult life, I've had scores of them and I have seen exactly one failure and about 5 overpacked freezers. Happens, though. Moving parts and all.

I can't imagine many scenarios when a unit could be a fire or shock hazard. A food safety hazard, yes, but fire or shock? I am skeptical.
posted by FauxScot at 3:53 AM on July 16, 2013

Response by poster: Update: Freon leak. According to my repair guy, the cost of the repair was just not worth it -- an expensive job for a cheap appliance. Also, he told me the fridge had a safety feature and if the compressor got overheated it would shut itself off. He said on cheaper models the welding is not done very well and sometimes you'll get a lemon that leaks.
posted by Lescha at 7:56 AM on July 24, 2013

« Older Can I Eat It Filter: Refrigerator Left Open...   |   Why is eye contact so scary to me? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.