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Amana Bottom Freezer Dying?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Franz Metcalf

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:39 PM

Hi all,

 

I'm a newbie, just trying to troubleshoot an old Amana BRF20 from 1999. No problems with it (aside from some vegetable freezing) until now when, during a heatwave, the freezer just won't freeze anymore. I've followed the flowchart and am worried I'm headed to "sealed system failure." Yes, the condenser coils were filthy. I've vacuumed them, though I'll need a real deal brush to get them truly clean. Yes, the cooling fan for the coils is working. (I rolled the unit out, took of the back, and cleaned from there, so I've seen it in action.) Yes, the evaporator fan is running. (At least I can feel the cold [perhaps I should say "cool"] air flowing.) I don't seem able to attach photos, so let me describe the evaporator. When I first took off the freezer back to view it, it had a small amount of ice relatively evenly across the tops of the fins. I unplugged the unit when doing my cleaning. It's been on again for at least 40 minutes, and the evaporator has no ice at all. Indeed, it has drops of water dripping down it. I'm doomed, aren't I?

 

Thanks for any advice. I can take temperatures, if that would help. I do note that there's what seems to me a really stupid design for the condenser coil housing. They rest on what feels like sheet of flocked paper that completely covers their lower sides, nearly touching them. Seems like that would act as an enormous dust layer. Ought I take it out? It feels as if I could do so pretty easily. Was this installation lameness? Or does it serve a purpose I can't fathom. Or does it just not matter because my fridge is toast?

 

Thanks,

 

Franz



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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:07 PM

... I'm a newbie,
... I don't seem able to attach photos,
... evaporator has no ice at all. Indeed, it has drops of water dripping down

Grasshoppers can't post photos directly..
post pictures somewhere, then post links here

May be in a Defrost Cycle ..
OR are the Fans still running ?


.

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#3 Franz Metcalf

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:55 PM

Thanks, RegUS_PatOff, I've uploaded to flickr my latest.

 

As it turns out, when I checked in on the unit, just now, the evaporator fan was not working. Fridge was around 55 degrees, freezer a little cooler, but well above freezing. And you can see in the linked photo that there is definite ice on the evaporator. Perhaps there's a fix, after all?

 

Franz

http://www.flickr.co...hor/9684386316/



#4 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:03 PM

... Perhaps there's a fix, after all?

time to start shopping ...


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one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
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RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#5 Franz Metcalf

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:46 PM

D'oh!

 

Well, an update: the fan is working now. Ice is forming on the evaporator. I've moved the especially heat-sensitive fridge contents to the beveridgerator (I knew there was a good reason to spring for that thing in the den!). And I've begun wondering what's next. With the fan having done its thing, I'll check temperatures tomorrow, but things look, as Reg points out, grim. I'm running out of suspects. I can clean the coils further, but probably I've removed 60-70% of the dust. And that last dust can't explain such a huge failure, even with a heat wave that makes the kitchen 90 degrees, can it? (Please say yes, please say yes...)

 

Thanks for your advice and/or commiseration. Oh, and, if we get another bottom freezer, it seems we're almost forced into French doors. Any comments on those? Any brands recommended over others? (No in-door dispensers for us, but it seems an ice-maker is almost unavoidable.)

 

Franz



#6 Scottthewolf

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 11:19 PM

Amana  pretty much wrote the book on the bottom freezer and French door refrigerators. 

 

Amana got bought out by Maytag in the early 2000's.   Maytag then got bought out by Whirlpool. 

 

Your best bet on a bottom freezer or French door refrigerator would be any of the following brands listed below,  Whirlpool manufactures them all now.

 

Amana

Maytag

Jenn-Air

KitchenAid

Whirlpool

 

You would also be wise to take out the extended warranty from the manufacturer, NOT the store from where you bought it after your register the unit by sending in the warranty registration card that you get with the use and care guide that nobody reads anymore.  The reason I suggest taking out the extended warranty is because all you get is 1 year on the whole unit, no more extended part warranties on the sealed system or electronics.  The electronic control boards for these units cost almost $175 and replacing a compressor or an evaporator could cost as much as $700. 

 

I would definitely stay away from Frigidaire, GE, LG and Samsung.  Frigidaire seems to have really bad luck with their electronic control boards, Ge has bad luck with their electronic control boards, LG is hard to get parts for and alot of servicers won't touch LG,  Samsung is just a really poorly engineered unit and parts are hard to get, alot of servicers won't touch Samsung, either.


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#7 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 05:02 AM

a good website for dimensions, features, etc ..

http://www.ajmadison.com/


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one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
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RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#8 Franz Metcalf

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:04 AM

The latest news: fridge at 55, freezer at 34. Temperature controls set to very cold, compressor and fan not on. Top of evaporator has a bit of ice. But here's the odd thing: the single dark coil at the bottom of the evaporator is so hot it's heated the drip pan to the point that the melting ice sizzles on it. Is this the unit now stuck in defrost mode?

 

Thanks for bearing with me,

 

Franz



#9 PDuff

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:30 AM

I think it's just in defrost.  Should advance back to cooling in 20-30 minutes.  But your posted evaporator frost pattern tells the tale.  Sealed system problem.  Refrigerant leak, restriction, or possibly an inefficient compressor.



#10 Franz Metcalf

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:05 PM

PDuff: you were exactly right. It's back in cooling mode (though the fan's not on). I've been shopping again. Man, it's hard to find a pseudo-cabinet depth, bottom freezer, non-french door unit to fit in my space! At least the thing is still limping along and I can refrigerate things in the freezer while I buy a new unit. Still, it's depressing to have to shell out $2000 when so much of the unit is entirely functional. Where do old fridges go when they die? I can just feel my carbon footprint growing.






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