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Frigidaire All Refrigerator Not Cooling After Power Outage


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doctormdds

My Fridgidaire built in all refrigerator model FPRU9F8QFA was working great until there was a power outage due to Hurricane Laura in south Louisiana.  Once power was restored, the unit appeared to come on.  The lights lit up inside and the evaporator fan was blowing air inside.  However, would cool only slightly.  After several hours of running it got down to 51 degrees.  So I pulled the unit out and checked it to the best of my ability.  The evaporator fan and the condenser fan both run.  I put my hand on the Embraco compressor and I can feel it vibrating.  But neither side of the tubing coming out of the compressor was hot or cold.  So, I called a technician.  All he did was check amperage draw by the compressor.  He told me it was drawing only half the amperage that it should be and the compressor was bad.  The technician suggested a new refrigerator because he hasn't had good luck replacing compressors.  I called the store owner who told me it may take several months to get a refrigerator due to a disruption in production because of COVID.  I am not convinced the compressor is bad.  Using guidelines I learned from YouTube, I checked the compressor.  From the top pin to the lower right resistance is 6.6 ohms.  Top to lower left it is 10.3 ohms.  Across the two lower pins resistance is 16.5 ohms.  I then checked for a dead short from each pin on the compressor to the compressor body after I scratched paint off it with my pocket knife in order to insure good contact.  I also did the same to the copper tubing coming out of the compressor.  There is not a dead short.  In my mind, the compressor checks good.  Then, I chedked the overload/start relay.  It checks good as far as I can tell using guidelines that I again learned from YouTube.  The run capacitor is not swollen.  I checked it using my ohm meter but I do realize I must have a meter that reads micro farads to properly check it which I don't have. 

Based on my testing, is the compressor good?

Could a defective run capacitor allow the compressor to run but not cool properly?

I appreciate your help.  I really don't want to wait two to three months for a new refrigerator.

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Budget Appliance Repair

Sounds more like a loss of Freon/R134a to me - the compressor is running and most likely OK.

It could have been low on coolant and gradually loosing coolant - once it is turned off and left to set because of the power outage the system pressure equalizes in both the Hi-Side and Low-Side which could cause a low-side leak to leak faster since it is at a higher pressure when the pressures on both side are equal, (this is just an example not actual pressure but when normally running the low side will only be 0 - 2 psi the high side around 100 psi - when it equalizes at room temp both sides maybe around 60 psi causing a slow low side leak to increase).

In our tech forum here one of the techs that is in the hurricane area and does sealed system refrigeration work has been running into quite a few of these.

Still an expensive repair and may not be worth the money to fix - you would need to find someone who is licensed to do sealed system repair to find and repair the leak and recharge the system.  There is a possibility that a sealed system expert would also recommend replacing the compressor depending on a few factors and depending on the tech you have doing the repair.

Edited by Budget Appliance Repair
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doctormdds

Thank you Willie.  I suggested low "freon" to the tech but he didn't feel that was the problem since it was cooling fine before the power outage.  Your explanation makes sense to me.  Can we not simply add some coolant and get a few more years out of it? 

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Budget Appliance Repair

You could if you could find someone willing to do that, but still you don't want to overcharge it either - service shops that are licensed to do Freon/sealed system jobs - if they don't recover the refrigerant and just let it be released into the air and some customer turns them in they can get a big fine and loose their license.

Also it could last for a long time or with it setting the leak could have gotten worse also if the oil in the compressor was getting acidic and from setting it started corroding the tubing from the inside out.

There is a good chance before it quit cooling that it was already low on Freon and running lots more then it should to just keep at somewhat OK operating temps.

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doctormdds

 

I purchased a cheap gauge set from Amazon and a small can of R134A from WalMart.  I placed a Supco saddle valve which I also got from Amazon.  I added refrigerant until I was at 2 psig.  The refrigerator is now cooling perfectly.  I have no idea how long it will last.  Obviously there is a leak somewhere in this 6 year old refrigerator.  I do know that the technician who came out and told me the compressor was bad is WRONG.  Once I added refrigerant it went from 70 degrees to 36 in a little over an hour.  My total investment was less than $50 and I have a gauge set I can use on my truck when needed.  Willie, I can't thank you enough - even if it doesn't last I've learned a lot.

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Budget Appliance Repair

@doctormdds Good going!!!!   I don't know what it is with Frigidaire, but I seem to see more of them than anything else with sealed system failures at a young age, (too many only 2 - 4 years old).

Since you have the gauges and seem to know what you're doing, I would suggest you check the pressures every other year or so and top it up if it seems to be getting a little low.   It very well could have been running lots longer then it should because of being low on coolant for sometime and you might not have even noticed it.

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