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fryingPan52

Whirlpool bottom freezer not cooling

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fryingPan52

I have a six year old Whirlpool GB2FHDXWQ05 refrigerator with bottom freezer. Over the weekend, I noticed frozen fruit in the freezer became soft overnight. The door was not left open (and all seals are good), but I moved everything to a stand up freezer in the garage and bought a fridge/freezer thermometer. Later that day (5+ hours later), the empty freezer was only about 20 deg and the fridge was just below 40. Both fridge and freezer temp controls have always been set at 4 (out of 7, which is the coldest).

Thinking back, I think the compressor has been running non-stop for at least a week or two.

That night, with help, I put the fridge up on some wood blocks and thoroughly cleaned the condenser, which was very dirty, and the condenser fan. The compressor was *very* hot to the touch. After cleaning, I let it run overnight.

The next day, nothing had changed (the compressor ran continually, the freezer was at 20 deg, and the fridge just below 40).

The next night, I removed the evaporator cover and discovered a large ice ball in the upper right corner and some frost spread across on the evaporator itself. There did not appear to be any solid ice on the evaporator. The ice ball was similar but not quite as big as the one pictured in the sixth post linked below (and I did not have the buildup on the top of the evaporator):

https://appliantology.org/topic/67175-whirlpool-refrigerator-model-gx2fhdxvq07-ice-build-up-behind-rear-wall/

I thawed the ice with a hairdryer and put everything back together and let it run overnight.

The next day, again nothing had changed (the compressor ran continually, the freezer was at 20 deg, and the fridge just below 40).

Tonight, I removed the evaporator cover again, this time with the fridge still running and observed frost only on the evaporator tube on the on the turns, but nowhere on the fins. The frost was the thickest in the upper right, where the ice ball had been. I had water dripping off the bottom fins, probably given that I had the freezer open for 5-10 mins while removing stuff.

The compressor always runs unless I turn the refrigerator off with the temp controls. The condenser fan and evaporator fan also always run. (When I turned the fridge off and then back on with the temp controls, the evaporator fan came on first, followed a minutes or so later by the compressor.)

I'm at a loss of what else to test (I'm just a DIYer without any specialized equipment). Currently, I just set the evaporator cover in place, clipped on the fan shroud, and put the door back on, so I could get back in pretty quickly. Fridge is still holding just below 40, so I'm not worried about the food... yet. Thanks for reading, any advice (including "just call a pro") would be greatly appreciated.

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Motorcity Master

You have a sealed system problem. If you are a DIYer unfortunately you will not be able to repair this. Contact a reputable appliance service and kindly ask if they work on sealed systems (some don't). 

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LearningTech

Just fyi this is not an inexpensive fix. It may be good to fix it... it may not.  And the cheapest quote you get is likely not the best, as this is delicate  trained work.

what is happening is that not enough refrigerant( freon) is moving through the coil. Lets just say 15% for the heack of it.

 That means you only have about 15% of orginal cooling power.  So thats just not enough for the unit to cool like before.

 

could be:

a noncondensable ( somehting besides oil and refrigerant) in the tube blocking/restricting it.

compressor is inneficient ( not pumping as it should /pumping slower/less pressure)

Low on refrigerant and its all being “used up” before it can cool the whole coil.( only reason it is low is if it has a leak, best to get leak repaired, but you can just get freon added if leak is not able to be found, you dont want to pay for fixing the leak etc( some companys have policies agains this, but its NOT illegal as some tell you)

 

 

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fryingPan52

Thank you both for the advice. To replace the fridge would cost ~$1400. Could a repair approach this much? At this point, I'd be happy with an $800 repair if it would last.

FYI, out of curiosity, last night I turned the temp controls both from 4 (mid way) to 6 (one from the coldest, 7). Since the compressor is running 24/7 anyways, I figured this wouldn't make a difference. However, the fridge is 4-5 deg colder on the thermometer and the stuff in it is noticeably colder. The fridge has been in use, opened and closed, all day so its not like its been sitting closed for many hours. How did it get colder if the compressor was doing all it could (running 24/7) at a setting of 4?

Finally, I've not done anything to test the defrost system, thermostat, control board, etc... Is there anything I could/should do here to rule out anything else before calling a pro?

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Motorcity Master

The fridge temperature will fluctuate because the ambient air conditions fluctuate. (room temperature, humidity, air density, etc.) On a normally functioning fridge, the thermostat is regulating the internal temperature. When the system can't keep up, as in your case, the thermostat does nothing but stay on and the internal temperature is going to vary based on thermodynamics with the ambient conditions. 

I wouldn't waste any more time considering other causes--the frost ball at the evaporator inlet is the key. The cost of sealed system service could be anywhere from $200 maybe up to $800 depending on what's wrong and what the going rate is in your area. The most you have to lose is a service charge to find out for sure. 

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darren412

Its a very slippery slope.  The compressor by now could have sustained some damage .  Especially if its been running hot for a long time.  You had mentioned it was running continuously.  for days  I would assume now.   I would cut my losses on this and not put good money towards bad.  There's no guarantee it wont spring a leak at this point in the near future if you pay to fix it. .  Its 6 yrs  old now  so if you fix it and spend $600 to $800 to repair it   you have about a 50 to 60 %  chance of something happening again.     would you bet on those odds ??     send it to the grave yard 

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LearningTech

likly 3 years of little to no issues before another issue i would estimate. repair is $500 to $1100 or so. i would get new as well.

 

agree

4 hours ago, fryingPan52 said:

Finally, I've not done anything to test the defrost system, thermostat, control board, etc

you have, you just dont know it.  

defrost- you looked at the coil  and the whole thing was not encased in deep frost/ice, so its working.

thermostat- the unit is warm  and you have observed compressor is running non stop = good control/thermostat.

no need to test further, except to determine what Sealed system repair needs done. IFF ( if and only if) you  want to spend the $$$ to do so

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fryingPan52

What brands do you all recommend? Are there any that are consistently better than others? We'd like a 33" wide, bottom freezer model, but don't have a strong preference between single door vs french doors on top.

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