Refrigerant issue for my Maytag refrigerator?


Old 08-23-12, 12:20 AM
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Refrigerant issue for my Maytag refrigerator?

My 10 year old Maytag Performa PTB1949GRQ was not cold enough in both the freezer and the fresh food compartment. After I found and melted a chunk of ice around the capillary tube connected to the evaporator coils, the freezer is working for now. Prior to that, I cleaned out the dust on the condensor and compressor. However, even though temperature in fresh food compartment also drops but it is still not cold enough (50 degrees at coldest temperature control setting and room temperature at 90 degrees). A week ago, I went to an appliance parts store and chatted with a clerk about my situation. He turned to a refrigeration tech sitting nearby for his opinion. The tech think it is a refrigerant issue that can be serviced for 2-3 yrs of further use and he said he has been in the business for a long time (he is 40ish). Today, after around 3 weeks since I melted the ice, I opened the cover to the evaporator and found the ice forming again in the same spot although it is flaky right now (was smooth solid 3 weeks ago) but the freezer is still OK at about the same temperature of 30 degrees.

Do you think that the tech is correct about this being likely a refrigerant problem (also would appreciate a short explanation on how low refrigerant causes icing if it is)? What are other likely causes? Thanks!
Old 08-23-12, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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It MAY be a low refrigerant problem or it may be a thermostat problem.

Several decades ago, prior to the USEPA requiring licensing of people using refrigerants I was able to add a tap valve to my mother's refrigerator and then add R-12 refrigerant that was easily purchased from any automotive store. That kept that refrigerator going for at least another ten years. Alas, you can no longer do that. You cannot purchase anything but R-134a refrigerant without the EPA license. You likely cannot purchase even a tap valve, if they still make them, without the EPA license. Getting a tech to come out and service your refrigerator would likely cost a few hundred dollars.

Also, 30 degrees is way warm for a freezer compartment. If your refrigerator's compressor is running constantly and only getting down to 30 in the freezer and 50 in the refrigerator compartments I think you need to bite the bullet and replace it. If the compressor is only running 50% of the time (more or less) then it is likely a thermostat problem. Unfortunately, replacing the thermostat,especially with an OEM unit may prove to be rather costly. You might be able to cobble up a generic refrigeration thermostat but it would look like crap and probably still a fair amount of money.

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