Garage Kenmore Refrigerator over freeze in winter


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Old 03-27-23, 01:43 PM
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Garage Kenmore Refrigerator over freeze in winter

Hello,
I would greatly appreciate if some one could explain to me what is going on with my refrigerator.
We have an old Kenmore refrigerator (two vertical doors, without electronic temperature control, just buttons from 1 to 5) in our garage. The garage is not insulated. The fridge is connected to a power outlet with an extension cord. Three prongs of course.
What happens is during winter time even if I put the refrigerator on its lowest temperature settings everything inside is over frozen. And it runs all the time I would say.
Summer time it is better but I still need to have it on its lowest settings.
Previously when we had it in the kitchen it was working just fine, somewhere in the middle.
I don't understand what is going on and how to return it to normal.
Thanks in advance,
Alex.
 
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Old 03-27-23, 02:19 PM
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Fridges are not designed to operate in the cold. Many do with no problems....some don't.
How cold ?

Posting the model number will help me know what kind of a system it uses.

If it gets too cold inside and the compressor keeps running.... that would indicate a thermostat problem. It's pretty rare for the fridge to get too cold in the cold. Typically the compressor shuts down.




 
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Old 03-27-23, 02:33 PM
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Thank you!
Usually just above freezing point (32F). The temperature in the garage rarely goes below.​​​​​​​
 

Last edited by PJmax; 03-27-23 at 03:41 PM. Reason: resized/enhanced pic
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Old 03-27-23, 04:09 PM
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106.53352300 (Whirlpool)

without electronic temperature control, just buttons from 1 to 5
The 1-5 settings are on an electronic control panel.
Your fridge uses an electronic control board that has been discontinued.
2220513 control board assembly - rebuilt

I can't explain why the cold should affect the operation like that. Your fridge has two electronic sensors.... one in the fridge and one in the freezer. Your box should be insulated enough so that the external cold doesn't get inside. There are diagnostic routines you can run on your fridge but if it works fine when the outside temp is warm... they aren't going to yield much.

This a link to the tech sheet. Download it and let me know as I don't leave these links posted.
Tech sheet - 2255375 - available on request.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 03-28-23 at 07:18 PM. Reason: available on request.
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Old 03-28-23, 06:28 AM
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Thank you!
I got the PDF and link. But the controls look different, see pic. I will try to go through them.
I decided to measure temperatures. In refrigerator the thermometer showed -3C (27F) and in the freezer the termometer errored out below -12C (10F).
I talked to my wife, and it looks like the main reason to move the unit into the garage was that in the freezer some sort of frost (snow / ice substance) was forming even in the kitchen, so she wanted to replace the unit.
When we moved the unit into the garage it was giving us slight electric shocks, sometimes for like a month or two. Now it is gone. I was thinking that some water out of unit got on concrete floor and it needed some time to dry out.

It seems like I am out of options here. It looks expensive to replace the control unit and rubber around the doors...
I was thinking what if I set up sort of timer to turn the unit on and off every other day to keep warmer temperature in it. What do you say about this idea? Good or bad?
Thank you again.


 
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Old 03-28-23, 07:25 AM
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"I was thinking what if I set up sort of timer..."
The problem is a fridge only works in one direction... colder. If the garage is colder than fridge temperature the coldness of the garage will eventually soak through the insulation. If the garage is below freezing so will your fridge whether it runs or not. The problem is worse with the freezer in the mix. What does the fridge do if the freezer is getting to warm... it turns on. If the garage is cold that can make the fridge section too cold. Then what if you have a warm snap... the fridge will be too warm and things can spoil. It all comes down to fridges don't do well in cold areas.

If you want to go on a budget you can install a separate thermostat. Set the fridge's built in thermostat to it's coldest setting so it always want to run. You can drill a hole through the fridge to run the temperature probe or pinch it in the door seal.

I have a fridge that I use as a temperature controlled chamber for fermenting beer. It is inside an unheated garage. It is set to it's coldest setting and I use an external "dual stage" thermostat. If the fridge gets too cold a heater turns on inside the fridge portion. If the fridge gets too warm the thermostat turns on the compressor like normal. You can make your own or you can buy single stage thermostats for less than $30 and dual stage ones start at about $50. An old fashioned heating pad, they type WITHOUT automatic shutoff, works well as a heater when placed in the bottom of the fridge.
 
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Old 03-28-23, 11:42 AM
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Thank you!
I did not know they existed. I will investigate this option.
Would you be so kind to provide the parts you have for your setup? As my starting point or I will just reproduce your setup.
 
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Old 03-28-23, 07:14 PM
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Getting electric shocks would mean that in addition to not being plugged into a GFI receptacle.... there may not be a ground at that receptacle. That needs to be checked into. The fridge frame must be grounded.

That tech sheet covers multiple fridges. It does cover your model.
There are different board display/combos available.

I don't think an external thermostat would be a good choice for your fridge as your fridge has an electronic control board. Every time your fridge gets powered up... it will go into defrost.
It would be good with a manual type thermostat.

Common sense dictates that if it's colder in the garage than inside the fridge... the cold could seep inside the box and cause it to get cold.... BUT.... that would shut the compressor down. I'm not sure what's keeping the compressor running if the temperature is below the set point.
 
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Old 03-29-23, 05:46 AM
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Thank you!
I checked the power outlet in the garage it is grounded. As I said, we had electric shock issue for a month or so after we moved the fridge into the garage. We don't have it now.

It looks like I am unfamiliar with thermostats. What do you reference as manual thermostat, can you give me a clue?
 
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Old 03-29-23, 06:05 AM
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On the second part of your previous reply....
If we forget about external temperature (warm or cold).
What could cause the fridge to constantly run? Why does it "think" that it is warm inside?
Controller issue?

Because if it wants to constantly run and I place a heat mat in it... The fridge will never stop running. And the heat mat will never stop heating....
 
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Old 03-29-23, 09:07 AM
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"What could cause the fridge to constantly run?"
PJ already mentioned (the first reply, #2, in this thread) that is possibly the thermostat.
 
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Old 03-29-23, 05:14 PM
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A mechanical thermostat is a knob. Where you set it.... it stays.

As I mentioned.... your fridge uses two sensors.... one in the fridge and one in the freezer.
They aren't thermostats. They are varistors or thermistors.
They change resistance based on temp and report it to the control board and it decides what to do.

They can change resistance value with age. The problem with that is if they have changed.... it doesn't matter what the outside temperature is.... they will always be off. That means the fridge would freeze up in the summer too. You've told us it runs fine in the summer.

What can be done is run the diagnostic routine now and then again when warm.
It should check and report the sensor values.

I've never run across a problem like yours as most fridges in a garage have a basic thermostat.
That is easy to diagnose.
 
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Old 03-30-23, 09:42 AM
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I really appreciate your help!
I scheduled a technician to come to look at the issue. Hopefully, the thermistors will be changed.
I will keep you posted on the results.
Thank you again!
 
 

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