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Old 11-24-2008, 12:03 PM
211 posts, read 934,770 times
Reputation: 120


We have a heartland refridgerator. The freezer is on the top. I've noticed that it is taking along time for things to freeze and some stuff seem to be thawing a bit. I hear it working and we still have frozen items in there. I have it set on the coldest temp. What could be wrong?
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:16 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
16,879 posts, read 55,585,654 times
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First and simplest thing is to make sure your condenser coils on the back of the fridge usually, are clean and have adequate air circulation. If you pull the fridge away from the wall you can just brush them off or use the brush on your vacuum.

One thing I have seen is a frost-free fridge building up ice on the cooling coils, this happend to me once during a hot spell here, although DW may have put a pot in the fridge such that it blocked the door barely open, not certain.

What I do know is that shutting the fridge off completely and opening both doors for a couple of days let the ice melt, and then I re-started it, it worked fine and still does.

This is one of the situations where having a spare fridge or old fridge in the basement or garage comes in handy. Or a small dedicated chest freezer.

If you don't have and don't want to buy any of the above, get a really good ice chest, put the contents of the fridge in that, ideally just use up the stuff in the freezer.

One other thing is to buy a pair of fridge/freezer thermometers, put one in each chamber, measure the actual temperature. One measurement is worth 1000 guesses.

If the cooling coils are blocked with ice, you can expect a good bit of water when it melts, you will see a catch basin on the rear of the fridge near the compressor, be ready to remove some water from that using something like a turkey baster.

If the coils were iced up, and the problem recurs within a few weeks, probably your heater timer and/or heater are out. These are generally worth fixing.

Last guess is that the compressor is going out, this is usually not worth repairing.

Keep in mind the local used appliance shop, they usually have good to excellent fridges available for way less than new.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:11 PM
211 posts, read 934,770 times
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Thank you M3 Mitch. I am going to check the coils when I get home from work and I really hope that is the problem and not something else.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:20 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
16,879 posts, read 55,585,654 times
Reputation: 17933
Forgot to mention, first thing feel of the coils with your hand - they should be fairly warm. If the coils are not warm to the touch, (warmest at the top usually) you probably have ice buildup on the evap (freezing) coil, or compressor problems. If the coils are uncomfortably warm to the touch, probably you have dirty coils and/or not enough air circulation.

Really, the sealed compressor systems last a *long* time so long as they are not physically damaged. Be careful cleaning the coil, it's copper, you just want to brush the dust off, don't scratch it.

Good luck in any case.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:35 AM
29,920 posts, read 38,891,495 times
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Many times what I find is the ice built up on the coils like M3 Mitch stated and it's caused the fan to stop spinning. That's usually apparent because you won't hear the air movement. The symptoms of that are cool freezer with the bottom section of the fridge slightly cool. Either way it's a good idea to clean the coils as M3 Mitch also said. You can force defrost with the manual knob in most cases. You spin it with a flat head or phillips whichever fits best and spin it till everything shuts off when that happens as long as it's not cut off the coil should come on and thaw the freezer section. It's usually located where the light bulb is and it just looks like a little blue or black knob. Also make sure you are not blocking the vent that allows the fan to circulate air.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:24 AM
7,079 posts, read 37,553,547 times
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Also check the fan. This happened in my relatively new refrigerator/freezer: things were thawing in the freezer. It seems that the fan in the freezer wasn't working because a wire was faulty. A very quick fix and everything was working again in no time (it also helped that the thing was still under warrantee!).
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:29 AM
Location: Tulsa, OK
5,987 posts, read 11,496,764 times
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You may have your problem solved by now but I just thought of this, with the help of yesterday's turkey. A lot of freezers are designed to be cooled by what is not being used by the refrigerator. There is only 1 thermostat. It is in the refrigerator not the freezer. The control on the freezer determines how much cold is diverted to the freezer. If the refrigerator does not need to be cooled the freezer will not be cooler either. Because of that if you put a large block of ice, or a 23 lb frozen turkey, in your refrigerator to thaw. It will keep the refrigerator cold enough, the compressor will not run and the freezer will get warmer. I noticed this yesterday when I took the turkey and some ice cream out of my extra fridge. Ice cream from it is normally rock hard. Yesterday it was a little soft. Five days of turkey thawing was the reason. Today, it's hard again.

Last edited by studedude; 11-29-2008 at 06:34 AM.. Reason: additional thoughts
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