Refrigerator freezer doesn't work

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Old 03-23-13, 07:00 AM
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Refrigerator freezer doesn't work

I have a White-Westinghouse refrigerator and the top freezer stops working randomly, spoiling food. I unplug it and then it works a while and the same thing happens again a day later. The bottom fridge part works fine. The model is MRT15DREW0.

Any ideas ?
 
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Old 03-23-13, 08:49 AM
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Do you see signs of the freezer frosting up around the coils? You may have a defrost element or sending unit gone south. If you pull up the schematics you will find defrost sending unit. Probably not that expensive. One for my Maytag wide by side was less than $20.

Frigidaire Appliance MRT15DREW0 | PartSelect
 
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Old 03-23-13, 11:39 AM
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As Chandler mentioned it sounds like a defrosting issue.

The fridge and freezer share a common evaporator coil and a small fan circulates the cold air thru both units. If the coil freezes up the cold air is blocked. Normally both fridge and freeze get warm.

There is a defrost timer that several times a day shuts off the compressor and turns on a defrost heating coil to unthaw the evaporator coil. The defrost cycle last from 6-10 minutes. There is also a defrost thermostat that keeps the defrost heater from getting to hot and melting the plastic housing.

You will need to remove the service cover in the fridge to check the defrost parts.
 
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Old 03-23-13, 04:18 PM
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thanks for the replies......re: the coils ..... where are they ?. I see a bunch of lines in the back of the unit....should I be looking underneath ?.

also re: air flow......when the unit is working, cold air is most definitely flowing inside the top freezer, and stuff definitely freezes.....what looks like is happening is that once the cycle ends, it never starts back up.....

how can I be sure it is the defrost sending unit ?. I mean, this thing is old.....I don't want to spend much money fixing it.....I basically keep it in my garage as my beer fridge.
 
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Old 03-23-13, 04:34 PM
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This is the inside of the freezer. I suppose the coils are behind the back panel ?.

Do you guys think it could be the switch in the back ?.

 
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Old 03-23-13, 04:59 PM
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That loaf of bread is sucking up all the cold air

Set the thermostat to a low number or letter. Wait an hour or so. The unit should have equalized at that temp. Turn the thermostat up all the way. Did the compressor immediately start to run. If not....did the thermostat make a click ? If not....it could be bad. If the thermostat did click then the unit is possibly stuck in defrost cycle.

Coil is behind the back plate in the freezer.

A better view of the inside of the unit. Click on "view full size" under the pic. It will open in new window. Click on the new window for an exploded view which you can move around.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 02:11 PM
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I put the switch inside the freezer (the one in the photo) down to its lowest setting for 2 hours. I also lowered the thermostat in the lower section. Went back and turned the top to max, and nothing happened. The lower section was still cold, so I turned the thermostat up (cooler) on that section and I heard the click and the compressor start up. I realized that when the lower section comes ON, the upper (freezer) does as well. I thought they were supposed to operate independently, but I guess that is not the case. Anyway, the pack of bagels froze solid within 1/2 hour, so the cooling part is certainly working. I don't understand why the top keeps thawing out if the bottom is working ok. Come to think of it, I've also had recent incidents where things like milk, which are stored on the bottom section actually froze.
 

Last edited by fxcarden; 03-24-13 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 03-24-13, 04:41 PM
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There is only one actual thermostat in most fridge/freezer combos.

The thermostat controls the freezer section and there is an actual air door that allows air to travel from the freezer to the fridge. Usually the actual operating thermostat is labeled in numbers and the damper is labeled by letters.

The knob in your freezer is just the air damper to the fridge area.

I left a link to your fridge in my previous post. I don't know where it went. I've re-posted it below.
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/part...Y2703271/00005

You'll need to remove the access cover in the freezer. Remove the screws to familiarize your self with that area. You'll see the evaporator coil, defrost heater, defrost thermostat, and I believe the fan.

Put the cover back in with no screws. When the unit gets warm again....remove that cover and see if the coils are warm to hot. If they are.....it's stuck in defrost. If they feel cool or room temperature then it's most likely the thermostat in the fridge.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 06:15 PM
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OK - NOW it makes sense.....thanks.

So, if the coils are hot, I've got a defrost issue. Then what ?.

The parts diagram (thanks) shows a "defrost limiter" . Is this what I'm replacing ?.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 06:32 PM
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No .......if the unit is stuck in defrost.....the compressor will be off and the defrost heater will be active.... then you would replace the defrost timer. If the limiter was bad the defrost coil would not get hot at all.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 06:38 PM
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OK, I see. I will try this test and post back.

One more question. I just watched the unit run for a while, and after maybe 20 minutes, I lowered the t-stat forcing it to stop. When it stopped, I heard noises for a while like a hissing gas noise, and what can best be described as water rushing thru a pipe. The noises were much louder coming from the freezer section, but after closing both doors you could still hear it going on. I have never paid attention to any of this, so I don't know if this is normal ?.

Thanks again.
 

Last edited by fxcarden; 03-24-13 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 03-24-13, 07:15 PM
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That is the sound of the freon equalizing pressure in the high and low sides of the system.
No cause for alarm.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 07:27 PM
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I think PJMax scared the unit, because it hasn't failed since I posted, and I didn't do anything.
 
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Old 03-31-13, 12:18 AM
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I do have "that" effect on large appliances.
 
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Old 04-08-13, 12:03 AM
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If your refrigerator is in a cold garage, then that is the problem. It has to be 50 degrees or more to work properly.
 
 

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