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Appliantology Newsletter, April 2011: Refrigerator and Ice Maker Maintenance

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Refrigerator and Ice Maker Maintenance

We're trying out a new concept for a newsletter here in Samurai-land. In

addition to the quarterly (or so) full-blown newsletter with lots of

diverse information, we're going to experiment with a monthly, shorter

issue that focuses on scheduled preventative maintenance tips for specific

appliances. Let us know whatcha think. If it's not useful to you, then

please lemme know 'cuz, if that's the case, then I'd rather be out hiking

in the mountains instead of playing tippety-tap on the keyboard.

This being early Spring, we usually start getting lots of refrigerator and

ice maker service calls. Here are some things you can do that may prevent

help avoid a service call on these cold appliances.

Refrigerator or stand-alone Freezer

Manual Defrost Refrigerator or Freezer

On manual-defrost refrigerator/freezers, check for frost build up in the

freezer. If there's more than half an inch, it's time for a defrosting.

Remove all the food, unplug the unit, and block open the door to let all

the frost melt. On upright units, this can make a wet mess on the floor so

put some towels down. On chest freezers, there will either be a drain or

all the water will collect in the bottom and can then be sponged out.

NEVER ever even think about using s putty knife or any kind of sharp metal

to scrape the frost off. It is very easy to puncture the evaporator and

ruin the refrigerator. Ain't no going back from that one, Hoss.

Automatic Defrost Refrigerator or Freezer

On self-defrosting refrigerator/freezers, clean the drain pan underneath

the refrigerator that collects water (Some are not accessible. Don't worry

if you can't find yours). No need to go crazy, just wipe out the dog hair

and dried gookus so you don't get a scum floatilla with stinkus when the

flood of condensate starts with the more humid weather.

Clean the refrigerator cooling fan and the condenser coils. The coils are

underneath the refrigerator. They are usually black and look like a series

of small tubes and "fins" connecting the tubes. Order a refrigerator

condenser brush to make the job easier: http://fixitnow.com/?p=6234'>http://fixitnow.com/?p=6234

Check the door seals to be sure they are sealing properly against the frame

of the refrigerator/freezer. While you can get by with weak seals during

the colder, dryer winter months, they'll let in lots of heat and moisture

during the humid, warm summer months and cause all kinda weird problems

inside the box. Do the Federal Reserve Note test: take your favorite

Federal Reserve Note and close the door on it, then give it a tug. Should

require some tension to pull it out. If not, that's a weak spot in the

gasket. Do this all the way around the both doors.

If the gaskets are torn, or don't seal properly, the refrigerator or

freezer may not cool properly. You may also start seeing frost formations

in weird locations inside the beer compartment or the freezer. This

problem is worse when the weather is warmer and more humid. Clean the

gaskets and frame with warm soapy water so they don't stick to the frame.

Inspect the back wall of the freezer for any frost build up. It's not

normal to have any frost on the back wall or floor of a self-defrosting

appliance. The presence of frost is normally an indication the

self-defrosting system has a problem. You can remove the back wall inside

the freezer to get some eyeballs on the evaporator coil. This page will

help you interpret what you see: http://fixitnow.com/?p=6036'>http://fixitnow.com/?p=6036

For help troubleshooting warm refrigerator problems, use our warm

refrigerator flowchart: http://fixitnow.com/?p=4296'>http://fixitnow.com/?p=4296

Ice Maker

If you have a built-in ice/water filter, replace the filter approximately

every six months. If you don't have a water filter, and you find your ice

tastes bad and/or smells funny, use a "taste and odor" water filter on the

incoming water supply line. A universal water filter will fix ya right up.

We carry filters for all refrigerator brands and models:


If you don't have an icemaker, consider installing one now before the

Department of Energy outlaws them. No chit, Mon, they're really moving to

do exactly that, see this topic at the Samurai School of Appliantology for

more info:

Many people don't realize that virtually all refrigerators are set up to

easily accept an add-on icemaker. Many refrigerators have a tag inside the

freezer at the back that gives a kit number indicating exactly what kind of

icemaker will fit in that refrigerator. We carry add-on icemaker kits that

fit virtually every refrigerator/freezer on the market, most are

conveniently laid our for you on this page:


If you're having a problem with your refrigerator, freezer, or ice maker,

come get free help from the appliantological masters in the Samurai School

of Appliantology:



Samurai Appliance Repair Man


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