Author Topic: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool  (Read 1512 times)

Offline educatedguess417

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Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« on: July 16, 2013, 09:15:43 PM »
Here is the unit I am asking about:

Kenmore 106.72102100

Serial No: EL3614765

Mfg Date: 09/01

Type: 21TFA95

This is an older unit with the freezer on top.  I need to decide whether to keep this unit running.  I love this fridge, but it doesn't stay cool in the summer. Appreciate any insights gleaned here.

Here's the deal: I had a Sears repair guy come out. He cleaned out the dust in the bottom and said this would fix the problem. It didn't. I called them back and they are coming again this Friday.

Here's the condition. The top freezer runs at about -10 Farenheit. He told me if the freezer ran at that temperature, it would be fine in the lower fridge. But the fridge is running at about 50 degrees F. It is fine all year long except for the the summer months.

He told me that there is no separate cooler in the bottom fridge, that all the cool air flows from the freezer above. My question is: Is it possible there is a broken fan or lever causing the air to not flow down? How, exactly, does the cold air get from the freezer to the fridge? Could this somehow be blocked, and that's causing the problem?

He explained that this unit is a "closed" system, so any major repairs are not worth it, I should just buy a new fridge.

What is the fix for this condition, and is it fixable at a reasonable price?

I have taken a vacuum to the bottom of the fridge and cleared out all the dust and dirt. Again, the Sears repairman said this would fix the problem, but it did not.

What do I say to him? Do we need to take the fridge out and remove the rear cover? Is there more cleaning that should be done back there? If so, how and where? Or is this unit beyond repair?

In short, what do I tell the Sears repairman to check?  Can this be fixed for a reasonable price?

Thank You Very Much.

Online tgoods

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 09:43:14 PM »
Since you have ten below in the freezer, you know the sealed system is good.  Is the fan in the freezer running? If not, you probably need to replace the fan motor, 4389142.

Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 09:48:01 PM »
tgoods, thanks very much for your quick reply.  I will keep checking, but I'm almost positive I heard a fan motor blow in the fridge.  Is there only one fan in this unit?  If so, I'll keep checking, but I'm pretty sure I heard one turning in the last day or so.

Thanks Again.

Offline dab147315

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 09:55:05 PM »
He needs to take freezer back panel off and look for block drain under evaporator and build up of ice in the vents where the evaporator fan would push air down into refrigerator.

Offline dab147315

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 10:02:52 PM »
Yeah only one fan motor in freezer that pushes cold air into refrigerator.All the cooling is done in freezer.Set both controls to the normal setting i think you have two in the refrigerator.Then see what happens when he comes back.

Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 10:56:32 PM »
tgoods, I just checked the unit and the fan is blowing just fine, so that's not it.  Airflow very strong in upper freezer, very weak in lower fridge, so something is blocking the airflow.  No sign of ice or frost, at least viewing from front. 

Dabs, thanks.  This will be very helpful when he returns.  Are there other things than ice that could be causing reduced airflow?

Thanks to both of you,
EducatedGuess417

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 11:27:30 PM »
Position of the fan blade on the shaft if the motor or blade has been changed, ran into one 2 years ago and that made a difference. Are the return air ducts clear?

Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 11:38:24 PM »
OldStoveGuy:

Excuse my ignorance.  Where are the return air ducts?  In the freezer or the fridge?

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 08:27:30 AM »
On both sides of the air channel from the fan to the refrigerator section. Best to view with the back panel off in the freezer. Also does it have a separate knob to adjust air in the freezer?

Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 08:54:53 AM »
OldStoveGuy:

Thanks.  I'm gonna take the back panel off this morning, see what I see.  Yes, there are two separate dials to control temp: one dial for fridge temp control, and a separate dial for freezer temp control.

Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 12:59:23 PM »
Okay, folks, here’s the latest on this one:

This morning the freezer was at -12 F and the fridge was close to 50 F, while the house is about 75.

I have determined that the all the major components are working, or the freezer wouldn’t be that cold.

I removed the panel that holds the two temperature controls, one each for the freezer and the fridge.  On the right is the dampener arm connected to the freezer control.  The arm is not broken, as far as I can tell, and moves back and forth freely with the turning of the dial.  On the left is the temp control dial for the fridge.  This does not have a dampener arm attached to it, but instead is connected to a bunch of wires and relays.  It also turns freely, and I can hear a “click” when it turns the temp off and on.

I did have one question that puzzles me: Excuse my ignorance, but shouldn’t the dampener arm being going to the fridge dial, not the freezer dial?  Did someone put this together wrong?  From a layman’s point of view, wouldn’t you want a lever to regular a dampener that controls how much air flows into the fridge from the freezer?   I’m sure I’m wrong about this, but it puzzles me.

Further stuff.  I dragged the fridge out and removed the cardboard panel at the bottom.  The fan down there is blowing just fine (I assume this works like a radiator fan, cooling the components and aiding in cooling the fridge).  There is very little dirt or dust down there.  The rest of the fridge back is taken up by a solid aluminum panel that is riveted in place.  I see no way to remove this.  Therefore, if there is any checking of blockages or ice buildup, it would probably have to be done from the front, through the fridge door, not the back of the unit.

There is very little evidence of frost or ice buildup either in the freezer or fridge compartment.

At this point, I’m stumped.  Something is blocking the flow of air from freezer to fridge, but I don’t know what.  Any more ideas?

If not, I think at this point I need a professional tech for this job.  Any idea how to find a good one?  I’m going to cancel Sears, but don’t know how to find a good fridge tech.  I’ve had bad luck with Craigslist in the past on other repairs.

Appreciate any comments.  Thank you so much.

Offline JWWebster

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 01:12:39 PM »
The area between the upper and lower sections can freeze up and choke off air to the bottom. Unplug the frig and let it thaw out for a week and see if it starts cooling ok. Slab of ice between compartments. Seen it.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 01:13:02 PM by JWWebster »
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Offline educatedguess417

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 01:17:13 PM »
Mr. Webster:

Thank you.  I will consider this if all else fails.  We do have a second fridge, so we can do this, although it would be inconvenient.

Thank you so much for your reply.

EG

Offline Bailey

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 05:12:22 PM »
Shut the refrigerator off. Take out the floor of the freezer. There are two screws up close to the front. Next remove the rear wall of the freezer. You will see the screws. Open the lower door so the light will come on. Now you need to get your head into the freezer so you can see down the three holes that allow air to move between the compartments. I bet they are full of ice. This refrigerator has a habit of the defrost drain freezing shut and the water has to find somewhere to go so it will run down the air holes until they freeze shut. If this is the problem use a hair dryer to clear the holes, but also clear the defrost drain so it won't happen again. But worry about that after you take it apart to see if this is indeed the problem.

Offline JWWebster

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Re: Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cool
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 08:34:15 PM »
I have that same model in my kitchen. Did the same dang thang ice in the holes between the 2 compartments.
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        never grow rusty.

About the icons: The beer is tip link, if a tech saves ya some money buy em a 6 pack. The small green square=personal message. The green dot is a link to my web page on appliance repair and other general BS I love to post. The letter sends me email.
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