Kenmore refrigerator capacitor melted down

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Old 01-17-10, 10:11 AM
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Kenmore refrigerator capacitor melted down

Sears Kenmore Refrigerator #106.53582300 made in 2003.

I woke up to the smell of an electrical fire this morning. After checking every appliance I heard the refrigerator turn on and then I heard it crackling and shorting near the bottom.

The parts diagram says that the capacitor and the starter relay on the compressor are the guilty parties.

There was a small flame just beginning to flare up when I pulled the plug. If I had stayed in bed any longer, I might be talking with an insurance adjuster and a fire chief right now instead of typing this.

So the question for the experts is: can I replace these parts and run this refrigerator without fear of another fire situation? Or do I have to junk the fridge and buy a new one?
Thanks in advance. This forum and you experts are the greatest.



 
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Old 01-18-10, 08:32 PM
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Chances are you can replace the relay/overload and be back up and running as long as it hasn't damaged the pins on the compressor. I have seen relays short out and weld themselves to the compressor pins. Make sure the pins are clean.

You should make sure the compressor hasn't shorted to ground by taking an ohm meter and measure between each of the three pins on the compressor to ground (should be no resistance).
 
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Old 02-17-10, 05:10 PM
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Update: I purchased and installed the two replacement parts - $157

After the shock of waking up to a smoky kitchen, I'm nervous about going to sleep with this thing running. It is running now just fine, so I guess I'll just have to relax and trust the new parts.

I've read about a Sears refrigerator recall for this exact same problem, but just not for this model number. My question for you all is: Why does this happen? Faulty parts? Bad engineering?

This refrigerator was only six years old when this happened. I'm still a little freaked out about it since I actually saw flames begin to flash when I unplugged it.
 
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Old 03-21-10, 12:43 AM
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Capacitor/Relay FIRE RECALL

I just had a fire in my Maytag. Turns out there is a RECALL on the capacitor/relay for Maytags only. Kenmore uses the same part but will not issue a recall on the item. Weird thing is Kenmore bought Maytag. Kenmore has to resolve ANY issues Maytags have regarding safety but they don't HAVE to resolve their own. Reason being; not enough people have complained to CPSC Home Page
My repair guy said only 43 out of 1.5 million Maytags had fires.... Seemed low. Am I number 44? No, my house didn't burn down so I don't count! Either do you! Anyway, the recalled part is the exact part used in the Kenmore's. If fact, they still use it in the units they build today.
They tend to catch fire, burn the relay/capacitor and the wire harness, often ruining the contacts on the compressor, rendering the entire refridgerator junk. FILE YOUR COMPLAINTS!!!!!!
 
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Old 03-21-10, 07:34 AM
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Kenmore does not own Maytag. Whirlpool bought Maytag. Kenmore is just a name that is owned by Sears. Sears is now using mostly LG but that is a different topic.

The relay pictured is not the same as the recalled relays on the Maytags. This type of problem can happen to any refrigerator. Maytag just happened to be tagged with a recall on them.
 
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Old 03-21-10, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gdoug View Post
You should make sure the compressor hasn't shorted to ground by taking an ohm meter and measure between each of the three pins on the compressor to ground (should be no resistance).
No resistance would be a dead short...the meter should read infinity to ground
 
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Old 03-21-10, 10:20 PM
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Thank you for correcting me, It should read open circuit.
 
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Old 03-22-10, 09:52 PM
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no problem...... :PH:
 
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Old 03-23-10, 06:07 AM
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I had the same thing happen to a Kenmore by Whirlpool about 5 or 6 years ago, at the time I was unable to get the relay and replaced it with a hard start device. I finally replaced the refrigerator a few months ago. I think these overload relays are
a problem that the manufacture needs to redesign. My daughter had the same thing fail.
 
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Old 06-25-12, 10:57 AM
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Same issue with a Kenmore

Yesterday (6/24/12) my family had the same frightening experience: the relay attached to an Embraco compressor of a Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator, made in Oct 2002, started to burn. It quickly engulfed the kitchen in white smoke and the stench of electrical fire. I quickly ran to shut off the home power supply and subsequently unpluged the fridge. Relays burn out all the time, but in general the go out in a benign manner. The huge problem here is that if you google search you will see a lot of reports of these Kenmore relays, like the Maytag ones, going out and almost taking out homes and lives with it. My family and I were very lucky that we were all awake and next to the fridge when this happened. I bet this will very soon have critical mass for a law firm to pick it up. Everyone who goes through it and survives is horrified by what could have happened.
 
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Old 06-26-12, 06:48 AM
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White smoke

The white smoke comes from the burning of the aluminum inside the capacitor. And, boy, is it white! Cap burned on our air handling unit and white smoke began coming out of all the registers. What a surprise, but a simple fix. Just replaced the cap and no more problem. Dixieflash
 
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