Amana BC20D-L Refrigerator Suddenly Not Cold Enough


Old 04-21-14, 01:54 PM
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Amana BC20D-L Refrigerator Suddenly Not Cold Enough

We have an "Amana 20" refrigerator, model BC20D-L, mfg number P74702-1WL. I'm not sure how old it is, as it came with the house 13 years ago, but given the time frame of other major installations in the (1962) house, I'd guess mid 1980s to early 1990s.

It was working fine when suddenly it stopped being cold enough. It does stay a little cold, about 57 degrees (main part) and 32 degrees (freezer), with both of its thermostats set to max cold.

I do hear it humming periodically as usual.

I found a lot of lint on the coils at the bottom and cleared it out, but that did not help.

So, given that the change was sudden, and that it still cools a little, any suggestions on how to troubleshoot?


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Old 04-21-14, 04:54 PM
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Old 06-18-14, 11:12 AM
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I know that this is an old thread, but someone may come across it nonetheless. I had the same problem. Initially, the problem was that the water dispenser ceased working. I determined that the water line in the door was frozen. I left the door open for an hour or so and the line melted and the water dispenser worked again. I did, however, think to myself..."Why did the line freeze?"

The next day, the water dispenser was again on the fritz. I did all of the obligatory maneuvers such as clean the coils, replace the water filter (I had an extra one that I had bought), and allow the door itself to thaw out again. Again, the water dispenser came back.

By this time, I noticed that the ice in the ice maker was melting and that the items in the bottom of the freezer were satisfactorily frozen. The temperature in the "Fresh Food" compartment had risen to over 50 degrees by now. Neither melting ice nor 50 degree milk was going to be acceptable.

I then went on a "Google Mission" and found several mentions of problems that sounded just like my issue. After taking ALL of the frozen food out of the freezer, I checked and found that the the coils behind the freezer compartment were cold. I did notice one thing, though....that the coils were "iced over" very heavily on the bottom and very lightly on the top!

One item that was mentioned was the "Defrost Thermostat" as an item that can go bad. If this item was bad, the circulation fan will not operate and the cold air that is being made by the coils does not circulate properly. What happens then is that the super-cold air merely drops to the bottom of the freezer, freezing the water dispenser line. But, due to lack of air circulation, the top of the freezer gets NO cold air and the ice melts.

When I took a look at the "Defrost Thermostat", I could immediately tell that it was bad. It was out-of-round and had an "exploded" look to it. There seems to be some tests that can be done with a VOM, but it was obvious in my situation that this unit was blown! They say, however, that just because it might not look blown, doesn't mean that it hasn't failed. It seems as if water can get into them. That water then freezes and expands and it blows it up! Mine was all bent out of shape.

The compressor was working way hard to try to keep things cold, but could not keep up due to the lack of air circulation. Hence, the top of the freezer got no cold air and everything towards the top melted. Additionally, the cold air that goes into the Fresh Food compartment actually comes from the movement of air from the freezer. So, no air movement, no cold air in the Fresh Food compartment either.

I replaced the "Defroster Thermostat", which is behind a panel in the freezer compartment. The Defroster Thermostat is a smallish round thing about 2 inches round that clips onto the top of the coils that get cold. The new thermostat had only two wires coming out of it. The old unit had two wires coming out of it also. After killing the power, of course, it was easy enough to merely cut the two wires on the old unit close to the casing and splice the new two wires onto the old two wires. I used a few wire nuts and paid special attention to make sure that those wire nuts were up and away from the coils and pointing UP so that no frost or water-melt would get into them after I closed it up.

NOTE: You could have a bad fan that is not working and will not circulate the cold air. An easy way to check to see if your fan is working is to simply splice the two wires that you cut right at the thermostat together (please unplug the refrig before doing this) and noting if the fan then operates. Mine did and this told me that the fan was good, but it was merely the defroster thermostat.

I put it all back together and everything works fine! Please note that you would have to put the panel back on as the panel itself directs the air to the proper locations. I read a few posts where someone left the panel OFF overnight and was disappointed in the temperature in his freezer and fridge the next morning. They had fixed their problem, but without the panel properly in place, they did not know it! Without the panel on, the air does not move correctly!

$35 replacement part and zero labor costs.
Old 06-18-14, 12:59 PM
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Thanks for the info Racuri. Unfortunately there are many things that can cause a fridge to run warm.
Old 06-19-14, 06:03 AM
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I certainly am not saying that this would fix every problem out there. But, it did fix my problem. One thing that I have discovered by taking on a few DIY projects with a microwave, a TV, dishwasher, and the control panel for an electronic oven, (all the same age items and they seem to be failing at the same time) is that these things are two things at once......simple AND complicated!

An update would be that everything is working perfectly now and the thermostat issue was definitely the problem for me. I fired up this comment in an effort to help as I had to cobble through quite a few "fixes" that had nothing to do with the real issue before I hit upon the problem. Those fixes, however, may have certainly been a fix for someone else. Just trying to give someone a POTENTIAL fix that they may be able to use.

Thanks, is nice to know that someone is seeing these posts!
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