Refrigerator troubleshooting-defective freezer thermostat?


Old 08-23-13, 08:48 PM
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Refrigerator troubleshooting-defective freezer thermostat?

This is general question but, for those who may ask, specifically in reference to a Frigidaire Model FRT16NRGW2.

The problem seems a fairly common one: "Refrigerator freezer is cold but refrigerator/fresh food compartment is warm..."

The evaporator fan in the freezer was working. The evaporator coil was encased in ice which indicated to me a defrost system problem. I removed the freezer thermostat (both from the freezer when able to, as well as) from the circuit, tested with ohmmeter and got infinite resistance. I cooled thermostat down (to around 30 F) but continued to get no continuity. It actually even looked bad, as if water got inside, froze, causing it to swell and burst.

My understanding is that, if the thermostat were good, I should have gotten (low resistance) continuity when cool. I'm assuming the thermostat is faulty and most likely the cause of the problem but the soonest I can get a replacement part is tomorrow morning. After leaving the fridge off for an hour or so, using a hair dryer to thaw the freezer, bailing out the resulting water from the drain pan, I put everything back together (without the non-functioning thermostat), loaded up the freezer and turned it back on. My thinking was that, if I was correct, now thawed out, the fridge and freezer should function normally for the next 12 hours or so ...or however often the regular defrost cycle is.

However, after running for 2-3 hours, that doesn't really seem to be happening. The freezer is cool (but I don't think as cold as it could be) and the fridge, at almost the COLDEST setting, is only at about 50.

Is my theory (running well til the next defrost cycle) completely wrong?

Was my thermostat testing procedure wrong? Is a temperature below 30 required?

Does it take longer than 2-3 hours to get the fridge temperature cooler?

I do recall hearing an odd motor noise a day or so ago. Could continuing to operate the fridge for a few days with the bad thermostat-- either directly or indirectly --cause the failure of other components? (For example, I could imagine a build-up of ice could interfere with the evaporator fan movement, lock up and burn out the motor. In this case the fan motor seems OK.)

Any input/suggestions/assistance appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 08-23-13, 09:30 PM
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It actually even looked bad, as if water got inside, froze, causing it to swell and burst.
Good description as that is exactly what happens. A very common failure part. It's exposed to major temperature changes which causes fatigue and allows water to enter inside.

The regular defrost cycle can be every 8-10 hours. Usually, if you had a defrost problem, after unthawing the frozen coils the fridge would run fine for several days to a week depending on heat and humidity and then build up ice blocks again.

In 2-3 hours the unit should be pretty close to normal temps. Depends on ambient heat.

Does the compressor run continuously or is it cycling ?

The condenser coils are under the fridge. There should be a fan down there to help remove the heat. Is that fan working ?

Have you vacuumed out those coils and cleaned the fan recently ?
Should be done like yearly.

You should pickup a fridge/freezer thermometer for temperature testing.

Running the unit with a defective/missing defost thermostat shouldn't cause any problems other than allowing the coil to start freezing.
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