KitchenAid (KSRB22FKBL14) Refrigerator on fire/smoking - Embraco compressor

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Old 08-09-10, 10:41 PM
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KitchenAid (KSRB22FKBL14) Refrigerator on fire/smoking - Embraco compressor

Good Evening,

This afternoon I got a frantic call that stated the kitchen was filled with smoke and that the fridge was on fire!

I told them to pull the plug.

When I got home, I smelled the putrid smell of an electric fire and started to inspect the refrigerator by removing the back cover.

I could not see anything out of the ordinary...so, doing the dumb thing, I plugged it back in. Within a minute, I noticed this starter/relay next to the compressor start glowing and smoking. I immediately secured the power.

Here are the specs on the fridge:

KitchenAid - Model: KSRB22FKBL14
Serial #: SR1150419
Mfg Date: 03/04

Compressor: Embraco EGY 80HLP
13 LRA, R 134a 1 PH
115-127V 60Hz
513700158 Fab 25/JAN/04 J04DH7JC


Does anyone know what this white module is next to the compressor? This is the part that was smoking (white) and glowing orange (I did not see a flame).









Here is the compressor model info and fridge info stickers:








Where do I begin? Or will this repair require professional equipment (I.e. freon, etc...)?
 
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Old 08-10-10, 06:43 PM
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The start relay I would say. Probably such poor contacts inside it that when the compressor was trying to draw full amps, the badly pitted or otherwise shot relay was acting more like a fusible link that started to burn, since it could not handle the amp draw through it's poor connections.

I recently bought one for only $10, but the price varies by mfg. It is worth the shot in just replacing it and seeing what happens. There could also be either a run cap or both a run cap and start cap that you could remove and take to a motor shop and have them test. These also do not cost very much. (A motor shorp likely will have the start compacitor on hand, but not the usually rectangular run cap that secures to the start realy often in a special way.)

You can also DIY test your 3 compressor pins by pulling off that start relay and test between each pin, and also between pins to ground, to see what the electrical condition is of the compressor. That does not always tell you everything, but if the readings come out bad, then it will at least tell you the compressor is bad, for sure.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 08:55 PM
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It was the start relay.

Here's some pics of the burnt out one...










Here's pics of where the starter connects to the compressor.








I've also filed a report with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC) as this type of issue appears to be behind a similar recall issued last year by the US CPSC.
There was also an expansion of the recall later on which included more models.

How KitchenAid refrigerators (which I believe are built by Whirlpool/Maytag) are not included in this recall seems strange to understand.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 08:59 PM
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Oh, to follow up, I filed a claim with my home warranty company. An appliance tech came out and said that he had to replace the compressor because of the part basically welding itself to the compressor contacts and prevents him from just putting on another starter. They are supposed to call back by Friday after they get a hold of a compressor to reschedule.
 
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Old 10-04-10, 07:16 PM
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Lightbulb KitchenAid Refrigerator fire/smoking

I have the same exact problem. KitchenAid KSRB25FKSS03, manufatured 03-03. The fire melted one of the 3 compressor pins, and so the repairman said it was unfixable because of this. I asked him if I needed a new compressor and he said it wasn't worth it. I have no home warrenty, but I was hoping you could tell me what you paid for a new compressor-and installation, and if you are satisfied.
 
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Old 10-04-10, 08:58 PM
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Kitchenaid refrigerator on fire.

I have a model KSRS27I that started smoking on Saturday. Fortunately I was in the kitchen and was able to unplug the fridge. The starter relay and wires are damaged but the compressor pins seem to be OK. I have a repairman coming tomorrow. The appliance is a mid 2002 model. Same compressor.

I already replaced a kitchenaid dishwasher for a dead panel (smoked first but went out by itself) that was only 4 years old. My trash compactor fails regularly but I figured out how to repair it myself. No more Kitchenaid for me.
I filed a report with the CPSC.
 
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Old 08-14-11, 08:37 PM
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Beware Kitchenaid Refrig-Fire

My 10 -12year old Kitchenaid refrig used in our garage recently caught fire and caused extensive damge to our garage and home. The refrigerator was moved into the garage a few years ago b/c the shelves broke and the crisper draws broke. It was taken by the fire investigators to determine what was defective in the refrig. The fire seemed to have started within the refrig. burnt the entire inside and up into the freezer area before igniting wood shelves and workbench nearby. Sorry I did not write down the serial number of the unit bit Iknow the investigators did.
 
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Old 08-20-11, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by betsy529 View Post
My 10 -12year old Kitchenaid refrig used in our garage recently caught fire and caused extensive damge to our garage and home. The refrigerator was moved into the garage a few years ago b/c the shelves broke and the crisper draws broke. It was taken by the fire investigators to determine what was defective in the refrig. The fire seemed to have started within the refrig. burnt the entire inside and up into the freezer area before igniting wood shelves and workbench nearby. Sorry I did not write down the serial number of the unit bit Iknow the investigators did.
You need to get ALL the pertinent information, model and serial numbers and pictures too, and file an incident report with CPSC yourself. They need that information to watch for trends across the country in a particular make and model. When they see a trend, and obviously there is one here, they initiate a mandated recall by the manufacturer. The report can be made online, it isn't difficult, just takes a little time. Be sure to get your facts all straight and numbers correct and you'll probably be contacted by a Federal Investigator. I helped a friend do a report and he even had a visit from the investigator for an interview.
 
 

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