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Refrigerator Email Questions and Answers

Squealing Evaporator Fan

Kym wrote:

Dear Sir: Let me open with a sincere thank you, for your tremendously documented help pages. I have never repaired an appliance before, but with your diagrams and step-by-step instructions, I was able to replace a belt in my dryer. Total repair time, 30 minutes. I am sure this would have been a costly service call. With my new found confidence, I would like to tackle a refrigerator issue, but have not been able to find answers in your previously published articles. My seven year old Whirlpool refrigerator has a squeaky/squeal sound when the motor first starts up. After several minutes of running, the sound will stop (while the motor continues to run). It seems like the freezer and refrigerator are keeping proper temperature. Any idea what could be causing this? If so, is this damaging to the refrigerator? Sincerely, Kym P.

The motor's bearings (bushings really) can become worn to the point of causing squealing sounds as the motor runs. Those sounds can go away as the motor heats with use. While the motor may run Ok for some time to come, it will eventually need to be replaced. It would be best if it were replaced before it fails outright, at a time when you might also suffer food loss.

Bad Compressor?

Alex Van Winkle wrote:

I saw your email on a Sears appliance page and thought you may be able to help me with my problem. I bought a house about a year and a half ago. The refrigerator was 1 year old. Recently, the refrigerator has been cool, but I have had a hard time freezing. I can make ice but cannot keep ice cream solid.

I called a guy and he took a very quick look to determine the compressor was out. He estimated a cost of $300 to fix the problem. I told him I would have to think it over. My workmates claim once broken always a problem and I should go ahead and invest in a new model of a better brand.

What do you think?

Do everything possible to help the frig get rid of heat from the condensor coils. Check the fan, clean the coils and etc. Compressors don't fail very often but if it is less than 5 years old, it is in warranty.

Ice in Condensate Pan

Allen Brehm wrote:

You helped me resolve my problem a couple of months ago, but it hasreturned. I was getting a lot of water dripping from the freezer in to the fridge and you suggested that the evaporator drain line was clogged. Sure enough it was, the evap drain pain looked like a ice skating ring and the line was frozen in also. I thawed it all out and it worked fine for about a month or two, now is dripping water again, i suspect the same problem. Where would you suggest to go from here?

Try building a condensate drain heater from heavy copper wire if its a Whirlpool. Bend a hook in the wire and drape it over the black heater coil over the drain hole and let the wire hang down into the drain to keep it from freezing over. Make sure the drain isn't still plugged.

Refrigerator Air Diverter

Robert, in Tucson wrote:

Let's start with some facts, then questions....

  • There has been no interruption of the power, no circuit breaker was tripped, and the 'fridge was not unplugged recently. What does work is the freezer, with control on high (9 I think), and the lights in the main box. The freezer is working well, making hard ice without frost inside, or on the evaporator coils.
  • What does not work is the cooling for the main box, though the light is on, and goes off when you trip the switch normally operated by closing the door.
  • The condenser fan is working. Compressor and adjacent piping is hot.
  • The evaporator coils and adjacent metal pieces are quite cold, and though I can't easily see it, it sounds like the fan for the evaporator coils is working, since it's audible, and air is moving near the coils.

What I don't understand is how the "cool" is distributed from the evap. coils to the freezer and to the main box. That is, I don't understand what the controls control. Is this the right direction to go in for diagnosis? Is it possible that the control unit itself is malfunctioning? There didn't seem to be any mini-breakers or fuses that might have gone out, and the wheel itself, the one with the numbers on it, seems to turn normally on its shaft.

I suspect the air diverter control or the "freezer" control. You say itis on 9. This control is not letting any air from the freezer sectiongo down to the refrigerator section. Try setting it on 1 to see if the frig temp goes down.

Refrigerator Fan Blade

Bernie wrote:

I read your explanation of how to install a new condenser fan motor. It was very clear. My problem, however is not with the motor but with the fan blade. I have an old Hotpoint refrigerator; cat.#CSF15ALB, serial# FL160644. The motor runs fine but the fan blade has disintegrated. I have tried every known source, including the factory, and the part is no longer available. The fan blade part# is WR60X5045. Can you help me?

I have another question. I wish to buy and install another refrigerator in a garage. It would have a capacity of about 20 cu. ft. The ambient temperature in the garage could vary from 25 deg. F. in the winter to about 90 deg. F. in the summer. Do you foresee any problems with the operation of the refrigerator under those conditions. Could the operation of the compressor be adversely affected?

GE makes nearly all of the condenser fan motors for all major brandsincluding Whirlpool. Try buying a new fan blade from anyone that hasthe right diameter. I have a refrigerator in my garage in Houston, TXwhere it gets up into the high 90's. It just runs more than if it werein an air conditioned house.

Refrigerator Heaters

Gary Regez wrote:

Ok, I understand what the defrost cycle does now. I found that a switch, in line with the defrost heater was bad, or at least stuck in the off position. I also noticed on my Kenmore that two other heaters are in the schematic. It looks like they are on all the time. Its hard to tell as the schematic is yellow with age. I think one is called a mullion heater and the other a stile heater. Both look like they relate to the freezer portion of the refrigerators. Can you explain?

Yes, they keep your freezer door seal from freezing onto the face of thefreezer section.

Refrigerator Laid Down

Marc A.Lehnert wrote:

The compressor on my 26 year-old Sears "Cold Spot" refrigerator is not turning on. My parents and I just moved the refrigerator from their place to mine and in the process we laid it on its side two times for a couple of minutes each. We plugged it in after we got it to my place and after two hours we still didn't feel any cold air in the freezer. Both the condenser and evaporator fans were working fine, but we did not notice the familiar sound of a compressor firing up. Could the problem have come about from tipping the refrigerator on its side?

I am afraid so. You got compressor oil where it shouldn't be.