Sears Hotpoint - Fridge Odor


Old 05-04-06, 11:59 AM
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Cool Sears Hotpoint - Fridge Odor

For the last month we've had an odor in our refrigerator - mostly in the freezer section. During the last two weeks, it got really noticeable.

I cleaned the grid(bottom on this model - a 1998 model), as well as the nook where the fridge is installed. I had to vacuum the other mechanical parts in the back - they were packed with dust! hen I unscrewed and removed some panels from inside the freezer - Damp paper towel and a few crumbs later it was spotless. Good news - the air circulation seems to be much better, the unit runs shorter cycles and cools much better.

The bad news...

The odor still remains, and has permeated our butter and some other items in both the fridge and freezer. It's not a STINK, more of a mediciny smell.

Last night - one of the guys who does odd jobs for the landlord in our apartment building stopped over after my many calls to the landlord about the smell. He smelled our freezer and then the butter and said yes there's something wrong.

I told him that at least we know it isn't freon because accord to the internet it's odorless. He gave me the funniest look and said, "Man, I worked for years around car AC systems and I think I know what freon smells like." Translation: "You guys've been inhaling freon for quite a while!"

Actually, my wife and I have been feeling drowsier than normal lately, and wonder if the fridge has something to do with it.

What do you folks think might be causing the odor?

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Old 05-04-06, 06:28 PM
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Don't have any worries about being poisoned by the freon. Most fridges have less than 1 lb. of freon in them. I just looked at the info sticker on mine & it only has 3.75 oz. of freon. Not near enough to harm you even if it all leaked out. Plus, if you had a leak, the fridge would not be cooling correctly & you would know that was the problem. As far as odors go, the odor you described kinda sounds like something like a piece of the foam insulation got against the defrost heating element located behind the back panel in your freezer section & is smoldering every time the fridge goes into defrost. Take off the back panel in freezer & find the heater located under the coils & check for something against it. After the defrost cycle is finished, the compressor & freezer fan come on & circulate the air over the coils & into the freezer & fresh food area. Along with the fumes from whatever is smoldering at heater. Good luck! Dave
Old 05-05-06, 07:00 AM
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Dave 6466 makes a good point in that something touching the defrost heater could cause an odor but it's possible it is simpler than that. Many, many times odors in refers are caused by uncovered foods in the food section. Generally people cover foods adequately in the freezer section but not always in the food section. As the air circulates through both freezer and food section it picks up odors and often is noticed in ice cubes in the freezer. I would check all food to make sure it is covered, wrapped etc. Also check under the crisper(s) to make sure it is clean.
Old 05-05-06, 01:32 PM
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Actually, dave6466, I did notice something when I removed the floor pan from the freezer. Looking towards the back, I saw what I thought was a reflection of the stove hood light against metal. I reached in and nearly fried my finger - that defrost heater was RED HOT!!!

Also, the back edge of the plastic floor pan I mentioned looked a little melted where it curves up to meet the back panel covering this heater area. That edge was not hot when I removed the piece, probably since enough of it melted away out of proximity.

So it seems that defrost heater is working *a little* over time...

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