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educatedguess417

Kenmore Fridge Not Staying Cold

30 posts in this topic

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.

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If the freezer is at -10F then the fridge should be a lot lower than 50F. Make sure the fan is running in the freezer when it's running. If I was running this call I would check to see if there is ice build up in the freezer section at the back. A lot of times the drain backs up and causes the trough to overflow icing up the air passages preventing air from properly blowing into the fridge section. If you can take the back panel of the freezer off and check for ice buildup. There's nothing wrong with the sealed system if it's getting down to -10F. Possibly just an airflow problem.

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Gnominator77, that's what I figured too: if it's getting that cold, the cooling system itself must be fine. 

If there is ice buildup, do I turn off the fridge for a day to let it all melt?  What would be the longterm fix for this?  Or is this anything else that could be replaced or changed, assuming I do find ice buildup.

 

Thanks Very Much!

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depends where the ice build-up is ...

don't defrost it till you find it

OR if the Evaporator Fan isn't working ..

... Fridge Light staying ON ?

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If you have ive buildup you probably have a drain that needs to be cleaned.

Could be a broken dampner not letting enough cold air in the fridge.

can you feel air blowing through the vents in freezer and fridge when compressor is running?

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RegUS, yes, both the lights in fridge and freezer are lighting up.  I'll keep checking to see if the fan is running.  Tpoin, I will check for air flow when fan is running.

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Poindexter: I just checked.  The fan is running.  Fan is running fine.  Airflow is very strong in upper freezer, very weak in lower fridge, so something appears to be blocking it.  No sign of any frost or ice, at least looking from front.  Your thoughts?

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If you adjust the dampner does it increase or decrease air flow in the fridge part?

I think somethings wrong with the dampner arm or something is blocking the diffuser from letting air through.

To get any further you'll have to start taking it apart to see what's blocking it.

Edited by tpoindexter

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poin, excuse my technical ignorance, but how do I adjust the dampener?  Where would I find that in the fridge?  Is the dampener different than the temp control?

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You say this has been going on along time, but, you haven't complained of water dripping inside the fridge. No water problems, no ice build up, and, the length of time you've had the problem makes me believe it must be dampner, or, something else blocking the difuser.

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tpoin: that makes sense to me.  It has been two summers now, and no sign of ice or dripping water.  Where does one find the dampener on a fridge like this?  From the front or the rear?  In the freezer compartment, or in the fridge compartment?

 

Thanks again for all your patience and help with this.  I really appreciate it.

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poin, excuse my technical ignorance, but how do I adjust the dampener?  Where would I find that in the fridge?  Is the dampener different than the temp control?

In the fridge. Open the door, squat down and look up inside the fridge. You should see them both.

This is your dampner knob. It controls how much air your letting into the fridge.

Knob-damper-2302536-00711191.jpg

 

This is your thermostat. It controls how cold your freezer gets.

Knob-thermostat-2200863-00724406.jpg

Edited by tpoindexter

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That picture looks like the dial for the temperature control.  Is the "dampener" just a more technical name for the temperature control dial?  If so, I have had them both turned up to maximum cool temp for weeks now.  This model has separate controls for both the freezer and the fridge sections.   

 

The fan is blowing just fine.  Airflow is very strong in the upper freezer; however, airflow is VERY WEAK coming into the fridge.  That means, obviously, that something is blocking the airflow.  I suspect the blockage is NOT due to ice, since there is no sign of ice, frost, or water dripping.  

 

So we're now down to what is causing the blockage.

 

This is cool.  We're almost there.  

 

Any more thoughts before bedroom?  You have been so helpful.  Thanks so much! 

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Okay, thanks for the pix.  Where would I find the dampener knob on this particular model?  There are two temperature control knobs in the upper part of the fridge compartment, one designated for the fridge, one for the freezer.  I don't seem to see another knob for the dampener.  Is it on the rear of the fridge, or inside one of the compartments and accessible from the front?  I feel this is probably the issue, if I can find the dampener knob on this unit.

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The fridge one is the dampner

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Okay, well, that one is turned all the way up, and has been turned all the way up for weeks.  But still weak airflow into the lower fridge compartment. 

 

Let's let this sit for tonite, and I'll check back in tomorrow.

 

Thank you so much.  G'night.

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The knob attaches to the small piece which connects to the larger piece and moves it.

Damper-Control-Assembly-4387121--0095054

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You need to pull down the control panel section that contains the two control knobs.   This style can break the linkage to the damper control dial, pretty common type problem to find on this style especially if defrost drain gets plugged at anytime and the water comes down the air passages and freezes the damper control rod and someone then tries to turn the control knob with a frozen damper it will snap the little peg off the control dial.  Once this happens the dial just turns freely without moving the damper arm.

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Sensei: Cool.  So if I find some broken parts in there, what would be the best place to buy replacement parts?  Just go to Sears, or is there another good place that might be faster or cheaper.  Thanks so much.  I'm gonna take this apart today and see what I see.

 

Thanks Again.

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Also, call an independent service tech that isn't from Sears... Sears have shown you their quality of work on a very simple fridge to work on.

As far as it bein a sealed system problem, sound unlikely. An airflow problem isn't usually a valid reason to condem a fridge either.

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... what would be the best place to buy replacement parts? 

notice top of each of these pages:

 

Appliantology Parts Search Box
Enter a model number, part number, type of appliance, brand, or even a part description.
 
365-day return policy on all parts purchased here, even electrical parts that have been installed!

http://www.repairclinic.com/Shop-For-Parts?RCAID=24038&searchText=&Search=Search

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Thanks, everyone.  How do I find a good independent service tech?  Most of the Yelp reviews for this area are very poor for all of them.  I've had bad luck with Craigslist people in the past.

 

Does anyone reading this thread know of a good tech in the SFV area of Los Angeles?

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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.

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... On the right is the dampener arm connected to the freezer control.  The arm is not broken

... On the left is the temp control dial for the fridge. 

1) Does it open and close a Damper ?

2) Fridge temperature controls the Compressor (yours is always running) ?

Freezer control Damper determines what percent stays in the Freezer

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I know its confusing but the damper is the freezer knob that lets cold air from freezer to cool refrigerator.Thats why you see that long plastic lever and when you turn knob it opens and closes damper. I Know that freezer knob can be misleading for the damper too.It may say cold and closest on knob but it may mean coolest for freezer.Kind of backwards thinking i know.Were i am am going with this is i think that model has a line on both knobs and that is a normal setting.if you have the freezer knob in wrong setting you could be closing off some air flow to refrigerator.The other knob that shuts the refrigerator off is the thermostat.If you still have your manual you may want to look at it.Know saying all this i think you may have ice in the air vents in freezer from a clog drain.You have to take back panel off for that.i don't see any reason why can not do this your self.Shut power off and take back panel off and you might have to take bottom freezer floor out first.Sounds worse then it is.Good luck.

Edited by bigbuck

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