Author Topic: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold  (Read 1907 times)

Offline Appliance Luddite

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We have a 10 year old Frigidaire Refrigerator Model FRT21H7ASB3.

About 4 days ago, the refrigerator temp got warmer while the freezer remains perfectly cold. In the past, the door had not closed completely so we just assumed the door had been left open and that warmed the frig.  We've been monitoring the door seal and that isn't what is occurring now - at least the door has been closed while the temp remains warm.

I pulled the fridge out and did notice dirt/lint collecting on the vents but they were not obstructing the air flow. There is a panel that can be removed but, I'm not certified and I would hate to  damage the appliance. 

I looked into the problem that seems to be occurring and I found the following helpful site:

http://www.repairclinic.com/RepairHelp/How-To-Fix-A-Refrigerator/58---/Refrigerator-freezer-is-cold-but-refrigerator-is-warm

Looks like several options.  Key is whether a repair call to assess the actual problem and install a part is worth it if a replacement frig might be the better option (maybe the same or just a little more cost and we would be replacing a 10-year old appliance. If it's the Damper that seems like an obvious replace and fix option. If it's one of the more expensive fixes, the replace option seems better.

The other considerations are if a part is available (out of stock on the site linked above) and the time it takes to get it - all while the frig is not functioning correctly. 

Thanks!

Offline Appliance Luddite

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 08:33:51 PM »
Thinking the Defrost Timer or Thermostat were the primary culprits, I turned the screw in the Defrost timer to manually move it to the next cycle - DEFROST.  But I didn't hear the loud click I was looking for - just the soft clicks going through all the cycles.  I think the fan just turned off and the heater was put into defrost mode.   I then took the plate off the back wall of the inside of the freezer. There was ice blocking the evaporator (wires were even surrounded) and the evaporator fan venting. Got rid of all the ice and put everything back. Air flow to the frig is better and it is now 10 degrees colder - 45 degrees. My thermometer isn't great - its a battery operated clock with a thermometer attached - that read 43 in a different perfectly working refrigerator so I'm thinking the 45 degrees is close to the actual readout: high 30's. The Frigidaire was reading out between 55 and 60 before I got rid of the ice/frost in the freezer. 

I'm thinking I have 5 to 7 days before the ice builds up again if the Defrost Timer is the problem. My next step is to get a new Defrost Timer and Thermostat and replace them since they are supposed to be major contributors to frosting issues.  Is that what you would do or is there another potential problem.  The frig is 10 years old but seems to be fine other than the current issues. I'm hoping to spend less than a $100 in parts and try and extend the life of the frig 3-4 years.

Replies/suggestions welcome!!!

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 09:26:39 PM »
Did you turn the defrost timer back on or did it advance itself?

Offline Appliance Luddite

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 09:39:43 PM »
That's an excellent question!

When I finished removing the ice I had already put the panel back on that I had removed to clean the dust off the condenser coils. I saw the fan come on with the panel removed so I knew it was working.  But I got the sense that when I had turned the screw for the defrost timer and had not heard the click that maybe the mode had been changed without hearing the "clicking noise" because the freezer wasn't blowing cold air.  Maybe it had switched into defrost mode.  I turned the Defrost Timer screw a couple more times and maybe that started the cooling cycle again because that was the first time I noticed cold air coming into the back of the frig from the freezer above.

I'm not 100% confident, but I think turning the Defrost Timer screw a couple more clicks probably advanced the cycle to the cooling phase.

Does that make sense?

When I mentioned thermostat, I'm thinking the defrost thermostat behind the back panel of the Freezer.

Looks like the defrost timer is $18 and the defrost thermostat is $13. I'm thinking since I know where those parts are, spending $30 on those parts are and replacing them might solve the problem and prolong the life of the frig. But I'd hate to replace those two parts and not fix the frig.  I've been told I have about a week before the frost builds back up before the frig experiences the warming again - if the defrost timer is the main problem.

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 10:26:46 AM »
If you put it in defrost mode (slowly turn until fan in freezer turns off is easiest) leave it for 30 minutes. It should turn on again ,if not the timer is bad. I replace more defrost thermostats than timers.

Offline Appliance Luddite

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 11:36:24 AM »
That makes sense. I read that if you see a bulging at the top of the thermostat, it's an obvious sign it is defective.  I'm going to replace both the thermostat and timer at the same time since the total part cost is under $40.  I thought about the heater too ($60) but that was just doing too much for a 10 year old frig.

Anything else I should consider on the cheaper side of parts replacement to extend the life of a Frigidaire?  If it ain't broke don't fix it obviously applies, I'm just trying to be proactive for easily replaced items since the frig is still in very good shape and looks almost new. We don't have pets or a ton of dust.  The condenser coils, fan, and drain pan were actually in good shape - not a ton of dust for not being cleaned in 10 years.

Another item I thought was strange. Frig was installed directly next to a dishwasher - no divider at all - so insulation of dishwasher is up against the side of the frig. I recall hearing this is a negative since your frig has to work harder to cool the extra heating from the dishwasher.  Do they make a thin divider (1/4 inch or so) that would help reduce the heat transfer since the dishwasher isn't in a cabinet?

Offline theoldstoveguy

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 07:05:06 PM »
Use 1/4 inch plywood

Offline suman

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 12:06:53 AM »
When you turn controls to 0 clicking stops. Sounds like a relay on board pulling in and out. Is this a bad motherboard?
SUMAN

Offline niobrara

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 08:46:36 PM »
Is this a bad motherboard ? No

Offline krazytech

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Re: Refrigerator temp is warm while the freezer is perfectly cold
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 09:02:04 PM »
No motherboard in a FRT21... never had a bad heater ... but replaced so many timers than I could count too.  also defrost Terminator.. and fans go bad!!!

Check the Basics first!!! Read the Manual !!!Buy the tech a Beer!!!

 

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