Amana Refrigerator SCDT22H problems

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  #1  
Old 09-22-17, 04:13 PM
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Amana Refrigerator SCDT22H problems

Full Model No: SCDT22HW-P7836011WW

This is an old refrigerator/freezer, circa 1987-88. I am trying to determine if it is best to try and fix this thing, or move forward with a new purchase. Any help will be appreciated.

The freezer in my side-by-side has stopped cooling. This is the 2nd time this has happened in the past month. The 1st time, I was out of town, but according to my spouse, it just stopped working all the sudden. All the ice melted and everything began to thaw. The in-door water dispenser stopped working also. When I returned from out of town, the freezer was cooling again, and everything appeared fine through yesterday evening.

Fast forward to yesterday. I discovered that the in-door water dispenser would not dispense water. You can hear it trying, but no water comes out. I opened the freezer and just as my spouse described, the ice was melting and everything else was thawing. The refrigerator/freezer sounds normal, as if everything is working. The refrigerator, although cooling, doesn't seem as cold. I cleaned the coils (underneath). They were very dirty.

I have read that these symptoms could be caused by any of the following: dirty coils, bad condenser fan motor, bad evaporator fan motor, bad start relay, bad temperature control thermostat, or a bad compressor. I could be wrong, but I think the in-door water dispenser not working is a significant/telling symptom. I am fairly handy, but other than cleaning the coils, I'm not sure what else I could do without detailed instructions.

Can anyone give me some ideas on what my problem might be or how to narrow it down for a diagnosis and where to start?

TIA - Rodney
 
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Old 09-22-17, 05:47 PM
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Not sure where the first W came from in your model number but it doesn't belong there. I've corrected the title to reflect the correct model number. SCDT22H-P7836011W

The fridge/freezer not cooling is a very common problem however none of those problems would affect the water dispenser. The evaporator (cold coil) is in the freezer. Air is circulated thru the coil and into the fridge. That means if the freezer was melting or warm.... the fridge should have been warmer.

The cold set thermostat as well as the defrost timer could both cause the unit not to cool. If the unit was stuck in defrost.... none of the fans would be running. If it were a thermostat problem.... the fans could be running but the compressor would not be.

I see a control board and display in the parts list. Is there some kind of digital readout and if there is... what is it doing. I also see an automatic damper in the unit but that would usually cause a fridge issue and not affect the freezer.
 
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Old 09-22-17, 10:50 PM
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Thanks Pete.

No digital readout that I can see, but I haven't opened anything up.

I just noticed that the bottom of the freezer still has ice in it. In fact, there are plastic containers of water in there that are still frozen over 24 hours after the freezer stopped working. I just took a thermometer and measured the temperature in the top of the freezer. It read approx. 72 degrees. The thermometer on the bottom shelf of the freezer reads approx. 32 degrees (No wonder ice is still there). I'm thinking that something is frozen up (including the water line for the in-door water dispenser), but the cold is not being transferred to the top area of the freezer. Does this information help?

Oh, and the refrigerator is definitely not cooling like usual. I turned the thermostat in the refrigerator all the way down several hours ago, but the temperature in the refrigerator reads 70 degrees. Thinking the thermometer may not be registering the correct temperature (it's a meat thermometer), I took the temperature of my 2nd refrigerator and it measures approx. 48 degrees.
 
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Old 09-22-17, 11:36 PM
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If you can confirm the fan under the fridge is running and the fan inside the freezer is running.... then the evaporator coil may be frozen over.

If you don't want to do anything to it..... turn the power off and leave the doors open overnight or for almost a day. Restart the unit and see if it starts and cools again.

If you want to be proactive you can remove the cover from the coil in the rear of the freezer. That's what I do when servicing. I check for ice. I make sure the coil is cold because if the compressor is running and the coil is not cold..... the unit could be low on refrigerant due to a leak.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 12:11 AM
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Thanks again Pete.

Due to the late hour, I don't want to start taking anything apart or unplugging it, which would involve cleaning out what's left in the refrigerator; however, I did notice lots of ice on the back lower wall (probably the coil cover) of the freezer. I also noticed that the fan underneath the refrigerator is running, and for as long as I've been at the freezer with the door open, I haven't noticed the fan in the freezer running. This makes sense to me, as if the fan inside the freezer was running, I think it would circulate the cold air at the bottom of the freezer to the top. Could it be that the fan inside the freezer is frozen?
 
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Old 09-23-17, 12:49 AM
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Could it be that the fan inside the freezer is frozen?
Yes..... extremely possible,
 
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Old 09-23-17, 11:41 AM
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So, what could be the cause(s) of a frozen freezer fan?

A couple other points of information:
(1) By leaving the freezer door open for an hour or so, I believe the water line to the in-door water dispenser thawed out and we now have the in-door water dispenser working.
(2) The lower back wall of the freezer is full of frost. It's as if the "defroster" is not working. Could a bad/frozen fan cause this, or could it be that whatever makes a freezer frost free is bad?
 
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Old 09-23-17, 12:50 PM
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I took off the panel covering the coil in the freezer. The coil is definitely frozen up. See the image below. The fan is not turning, but I could turn it manually and it turned freely and easily.

After letting it sit with the access panel removed and the freezer door open, the ice has melted significantly, but the fan is still not turning. I'm not sure where to go from here. Any advice will be appreciated.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 01:07 PM
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The fan wouldn't turn until the thermostat was calling for cooling and possibly the door needs to be closed or the button pushed in if it has one.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 02:22 PM
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Thanks again, Pete.

I was closing the door and/or pushing the button in, but the fan was still not moving.

Fast forward about 30 minutes or so . . . After significant thawing and melting of ice around the coil, the fan kicked on. I left the access panel off and the freezer door open so I could monitor it and let more of the ice melt. After another half hour or so, more of the ice has melted, but it looks like the coil is starting to frost up a bit. I don't know if this is: (i) normal, or (ii) due to the freezer door being left open, or (iii) it starting to freeze up all over again. Any advice here?

Additional questions:
1. Do you think it is advisable to unplug the unit at this point to let it thaw out completely?
2. Could the dirty coils underneath cause the coils inside the freezer to freeze up like it did?
 
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Old 09-23-17, 03:10 PM
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Put a hair dryer in there will speed things up. Yes I would unplug it.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 03:30 PM
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Yes and yes.

You tested the fan and it works. Unplug it and unthaw it completely.
Put some towels at the bottom to soak up the water. The drip pan underneath is not equipped to handle all that melting ice. You'd end up with a flood when it overflowed.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 09:15 PM
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Would turning the Freezer (main) control to the "off" position be the same as unplugging it? I just looked at the manual and it says, "This is the main control. If it is turned OFF, neither the Freezer nor the Refrigerator will cool. All of the electrical circuits remain energized except for the compressor and fan motors." I had my daughter turn it off earlier while I was out. The coils are pretty much thawed out now, and I will continue to leave the unit off, but please let me know if unplugging it is still necessary.

<Deleted final question after re-reading Pete's last post. I didn't realize he answered both questions>
 
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Old 09-23-17, 10:26 PM
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Yes.... turning the thermostat to off is fine.
 
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Old 09-24-17, 11:48 PM
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Okay, I turned off the thermostat and left it off approximately 20 hours. It was completely thawed. I turned it back on around 3:30 pm today and when I turned it on, both fans started running. I left the evaporator coil access panel off and closed the Freezer door and left the house for several hours. When I returned 6 hours later, the evaporator coil was frosting up, especially near the top where the expansion valve (? - looks like a CO2 cartridge) is. See the photo below. The Evaporator coil fan was not turning and I could not get water from the in-door dispenser. I shut off the thermostat again, and when it thawed to the point where water would dispense, I tried to turn the thermostat back on to see if the fan would run, but it did not. The evaporator coil fan does still turn freely and easily by hand. The Fridge fan is still running fine.

As for the list of possible causes set out in my original post, I have done or see the following:
1. Dirty coils - I cleaned them.
2. Bad condenser fan motor - It appears to be running normally.
3. Bad evaporator fan motor - Maybe the problem. (?)
4. Bad start relay - I wouldn't know where this is, or how to test it. (?)
5. Bad temperature control thermostat - Since the evaporator coil is icing up, does that mean the thermostat is okay?
6. Bad compressor - Since the evaporator coil is icing up, does that mean the compressor is okay?

Please let me know if I'm on the right track here, and if the symptoms, my descriptions, and the photo point you in any one direction.

TIA - Rodney
 
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Old 09-25-17, 12:27 AM
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You can't run the unit with the evaporator cover off. The coil will ice over if there is no air flowing across it. If the fan in the freezer is not running.... that's a problem.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 12:48 AM
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You can't run the unit with the evaporator cover off. The coil will ice over if there is no air flowing across it.

Gotcha! I really wasn't thinking about it, because the fan was running at first; however, since the access panel was off, I understand now that the fan is not pulling air directly across the entire coil (i.e. there is too much open area and the fan will pull air from all over the freezer). I get it now. However, if the fan won't start up again, that points to a fan problem, correct?

If the fan in the freezer is not running.... that's a problem.

I understand this, but is it strictly a fan problem, or could it be connected to one or more of the following: (i) the start relay, (ii) the thermostat, or (iii) the compressor? In other words, could I replace the fan motor and have it up and running again?
 

Last edited by rdkapp; 09-25-17 at 01:04 AM. Reason: more accurate
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Old 09-25-17, 01:07 AM
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I just turned the thermostat back on and the evaporator fan kicked on. I shut it back off and will let it sit till morning. Unless your reply to my previous post tells me it could be something else (in addition to the fan), I will put the access panel back on tomorrow and turn it back on and let it run, while monitoring it based on the fan's operation.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 09:48 AM
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I don't know if you have other problems. Put the cover back on and run it.

You need to make sure the fan keeps running and that the coil stays free of ice.

Problems with the defrost circuit could cause the coil to ice up.
Low refrigerant in the system can also cause the coil ice up.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 01:57 PM
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Update: I put the coil access panel back on and turned the thermostat on, and the fan won't start. I turned it back off and waited 30 minutes or so and then tried again, but the fan still would not start. I did this several more times, but each time, the fan wouldn't run. I'm scratching my head, as just last night (i.e. early this morning really) and a couple other times previously, the fan kicked on about 30-90 seconds after turning on the thermostat. Now, I'm waiting 3-5 minutes, but the fan never starts. Does this mean the fan is bad, or could there be other causes?
 
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Old 09-25-17, 04:56 PM
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You would have to use a meter to check the voltage to the fan. I believe that is a 120VAC motor.

The thermostat turns on the compressor, the condensor fan under the fridge and usually the inside fan. So if the other two are working.... it could just be a sticking fan motor.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 05:42 PM
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Update: I'm dumbfounded. I turned on the thermostat about 45 minutes ago and voila! About 60 seconds later, the freezer fan kicked on. It has been running since.

Question: Should the fan run continuously until it hits the desired temperature set by the thermostat, or will it stop periodically along the way?

You would have to use a meter to check the voltage to the fan. I believe that is a 120VAC motor.

Do I put the meter to it while it is running or stopped, or does it matter?

.... it could just be a sticking fan motor.

If it's a sticking fan motor, would it manually turn so freely and easily?
 
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Old 09-25-17, 06:14 PM
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The fan running in the cold can defy logic. Some people try oiling them. It doesn't usually help. They can spin free and still not start up by themselves. If the fan started when the thermostat was turned up.... it may shut off when the set temperature is reached. Some fans run all the time. Some turn off when the door is opened.

When the compressor stops running.... check and see if it's still running.

Sometimes you can get your meter probes into the fan connector. Other times you need to unplug it and check at the plug.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 07:38 PM
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Pete, I appreciate you hanging with me. I know it must be a bit frustrating to help someone like me with little knowledge and experience.

Update: I left the house for about 30 minutes. When I left, the freezer fan was still running and the freezer was at 43 degrees on my meat thermometer. When I returned both fans were off and the freezer was still at 43 degrees. I was beginning to think there was a problem. However, about 10 to 15 minutes later, the condenser fan kicked on, but the freezer fan did not. Then, a few minutes later, the freezer fan started up. If this is normal and not indicative of a problem, then obviously, the compressor and fans took a break along the way to the desired temperature. I've got my fingers crossed that it continues to run without a problem.

Some fans run all the time. Some turn off when the door is opened.

FYI . . . the fans on my unit run when the door is opened.
 
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Old 09-26-17, 02:00 PM
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Update: The Freezer is still running. The meat thermometer is showing 18-19 degrees. Sounds a bit warm, but I think the thermometer is not accurate for ambient temperatures. I'll have to get a more appropriate thermometer.

Thanks again for all your help, Pete. Just to clarify something from your original post:

Not sure where the first W came from in your model number but it doesn't belong there. I've corrected the title to reflect the correct model number. SCDT22H-P7836011W

The first W in the model number was on the label inside the fridge. I'm guessing it's just the color indicator of the fridge - white.
 
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Old 09-26-17, 03:55 PM
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You posted this............. SCDT22HW-P7836011WW
The correct model is..... SCDT22H-P7836011W

The W at the end is part of the finish. Not important for this repair.
 
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