Appliance Repair Show Transcript - September 30, 2007

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1995 Maytag Dishwasher Replacing the Water Inlet Valve

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Starting out with Chuck, in Troy, with a dishwasher problem, here on the Appliance Repair Show.  Good morning, Chuck.

 

CHUCK

I thought I'd share a testimonial.  I had a dishwasher that we found and there wasn't any water coming in.  A little frustrating as to what do you do, who do you call, where do you go? And I thought about your program, so I went to the WJR website, and sure enough caught the weekend specialist, went to their website, went to dishwashers and whoa, there's the question, there's no water entering the machine and there was an answer as to the part. I called your service and a young lady answered it and she gave me a price for the part and it was just kind of an awesome experience of really having an idea of solving a problem, so I wanted to say thank you for what you do!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, thank you for calling. We try, it doesn't always go that well, but we try to help as much as we can. 

 

CHUCK

Well, here's my question, I'm really into a make or fix kind of thing.  My dishwasher, which is a Maytag, is about twelve years old, and we'd sure like to have one of the silent ones, and it has an epoxy into the granite countertop and so my question, and I don't know how easy it is to repair, I probably wouldn't do it myself, it says there's a cost of maybe a hundred and so dollars.  How do you look at a time to replace as opposed to putting the money in to just repairing?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, in a dishwasher I always look at the racks and see if they're rusted. They're expensive to replace. If you get a lot of bare metal and rust starting there, you're looking at one hundred, two hundred dollars worth of racks.  If they're okay and the machine otherwise is in good shape, normally they say you should pay no more than half the cost to replace the machine, for a repair of something, after it's five to ten years old.  But one thing to keep in mind is that you're still going to have to pay for installation of a new dishwasher.  If you put one hundred to one hundred and fifty bucks into this one, you're still getting value as an installation would be half that cost.  You buy a new dishwasher, normally it's between seventy and one hundred dollars to have someone come out and install it.  But everyone's different of course, so it depends how much time the guy has to take to get it in there.  So that's one thing that people don't always look at, is the cost of installation if they're not going to do it themselves.

 

CHUCK

Right, how does the repair work? Do you have to pull the unit out from where it's at or can you work from the bottom?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

What are you trying to do?

 

CHUCK

We wanted to replace the water inlet valve float switch.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Oh, that's right in the front.  You can just remove the lower front panel get at it.  That's pretty straightforward and you don't have to pull the unit out, unless somebody has gotten creative with the plumbing underneath it and there's something where you have to get in there, but most often that's all done through the lower panel.  A few screws retain the lower panel and you can get in there and change it.

 

CHUCK

Got it.  That answers my question.  Thank you very much. I appreciate your service.

 

1995 Kitchen Aid Top Mount Refrigerator Freezing Food in the Bottom of the Refrigerator

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

It's always nice to get a call like that.  Philip's in Monroe with a refrigerator that's freezing, here on the Appliance Repair Show.

 

PHILIP

My question this morning is, I have a Kitchen Aid refrigerator, about twelve years old, top and bottom, freezer on top, and down in my refrigerator section, everything that gets pushed anywhere near the back of the refrigerator, especially on the bottom end of it, or in my left vegetable crisper drawer, is freezing!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.

 

PHILIP

I don't know if that's something that's normal with these refrigerators nowadays?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

No, normally what causes that is airflow restriction, meaning that you've got something in the refrigerator that could be blocking some of the return vents, or the supply vents where the cold air comes in from the freezer. Or, the thermostat is sticking, something of that nature.  I would start by seeing what temperature you have in the refrigerator overall, and you might be able to adjust the controls to help that situation. 

 

PHILIP

Overall, for the most part, it's anywhere between thirty-six and thirty-eight degrees.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, that's pretty good!  I wouldn't turn it up from there, those are pretty good temperatures.  If it's normally in a spot or two, it's either again something that if you've got, some people put in a box of baking soda, and they push it up against the rear wall and deflects the air down through the crispers rather that out towards the compartment. You'd normally have a vent that the air from the freezer comes in through, and if you divert that air quite a bit in the direction other than what maintains circulation through the refrigerator section, then you can start getting some weird things happening, especially if it just started happening.

 

PHILIP

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So I'd look at the loading of the refrigerator and then go from there.

 

Amana Bottom Mount Refrigerator Temperature is To Warm in the Refrigerator

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And that's how we do it, just give us a call. Try to have that serial number of the machine or the model number of the machine handy if you can, but it's not completely necessary, we don't need it every time.  Here with a refrigerator that isn't working right, Jim in Lorraine, Ohio, on the Appliance Repair Show on News Talk 760 WJR.  What's not working, Jim?

 

JIM

I have an Amana refrigerator.  It's up and down; the freezer is on the bottom.  Lightening struck close in the vicinity, and about two days later the upper box started warming up, the milk soured and all the food got warm.  The freezer section works fine; I have no problem at all with the freezer section.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So, the freezer is working fine and the refrigerator is at room temperature or not doing very well?

 

JIM

Right.  If you leave it closed for a long time it cools off, even if you crank the temperature way up to six or seven, it doesn't actually cool at all. It seems like it comes from the bottom of the box.  Now the fan in the back, there's a ...

 

JOHN SOWDEN

The freezer fan?

 

JIM

Yeah.  That's running good, but the air is cold and not warm like it usually is.  Now, according to the schematic there should be another fan just a little bit above that one down in the right hand corner.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

There are two fans: one is underneath the machine in the back, which helps cool the compressor; the other one is in the freezer section, and all that does is take cold air and push it from the freezer up into the refrigerator section.

 

JIM

Okay, it works in basically reverse, okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is the freezer fan running, can you hear that running?

 

JIM

With the fan below, I can't actually distinguish if it's running or not.  I haven't taken the back off at all.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, you have to see if the freezer fan in the freezer is running.  If it's not then it isn't going to push that cold air up into the refrigerator section.  There also is a damper control which is a thermostatically operated door; basically, that monitors how much cold air gets into the refrigerator section, and it's possible that if the fan is running and you're not getting any cold air in through that, it could be that the damper is stuck closed.  The other thing it could be is if you have a defrost system failure, and it's the same thing-

 

JIM

That's what I was wondering, if it could be the defrost.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, because it's doing the same thing, it's starving the refrigerator section for cold air because the coil is iced or frosted over and it's not pulling any cold air through it, so it acts like a block for the airflow.  A few things I'd look for would be the fan, just open the door and push in the light switch and door switch and see if it comes on.  If that's working all right I'd lean more towards whether a defrost system failure or that damper control in the top is stuck shut.

 

JIM

Okay, should I pull the back off before I do any of this?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the freezer fan is something you can check straight away.  Normally, if the unit has got a defrost problem, you will notice a frost buildup across the whole back wall of the freezer.  Not normally at first, but if it's been going on for several days you'll actually be able to see that.

 

JIM

Frost is on the back of the freezer itself, not the icebox?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

On the back wall of the freezer section.

 

JIM

A frost buildup, huh?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That's generally what you'll see if there's a defrost system failure.

 

JIM

Okay.  And these parts can be replaced?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Sure can!  You can go to our website, put your model number in, and have them shipped to your door.  If you have any additional questions as you get deeper into this you can always shoot us an email, or just go to our website. We have a lot of informational stuff on there that will help you walk through it.  If not, you can go ahead and put your email address in, ask a specific question, provide us with a model and serial, and we'll get back to you and let you know what we think.

 

JIM

Very good.  And the website?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

www.RepairClinic.com

 

JIM

Okay.  Thank you very much.

 

1995 Westinghouse Dryer Drum Not Spinning

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here in Saint Clair Shores, we have a twelve-year-old Westinghouse dryer that isn't spinning and Michelle has that problem here on the Appliance Repair Show. Hi, Michelle.

 

MICHELLE

My problem is that I can turn on the dryer, I hear the motor running, but the drum isn't spinning.  I thought, I've been using it a lot, it's old, give it a break, and I tried it again today, and still nothing's happening.  The motor still is going but nothing is spinning.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You can hear the motor turning, and its blowing air, but the drum isn't turning?

 

MICHELLE

Right. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, normally, from a unit that's what, ten or twelve years old from what it says here, that's a broken belt, and/or the pulley that puts tension on the belt has failed, and again that normally breaks the belt.

 

MICHELLE

Is that easy to get to? It looks like I can take the front of the dryer off.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You can, and if you go to our website, we have step-by-step instructions on how to get into that unit.  You can print them off or just read through them and it's pretty straightforward.  They also now make for a lot of these models, a rebuild kit that Frigidaire has come out with, and Frigidaire is the mother company of Westinghouse.  Or actually, Electrolux is the mother company of Frigidaire and Westinghouse, but they've come out with a kit that's got the belt, the idler pulley and the rear bearing, which may be a problem.  So, you can kind of rebuild the whole thing for around forty or fifty dollars with the parts.

 

MICHELLE

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So for something like that, you put it back in operation, vacuum it out inside, get all the dust out of the motor, and hopefully get another twelve years out of it.

 

MICHELLE

Yeah.  Excellent!  Thank you.

 

Refrigerator in the Garage: Good or Bad Idea

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's Mario, in Fowlerville, with a garage refrigerator question, on the Appliance Repair Show, sponsored by RepairClinic.  Good morning, Mario.

 

MARIO

Last week I heard you say that it's not a good idea to have a freezer or refrigerator in the garage, and I'd like to know why.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, normally, what happens is, the oil that circulates around the refrigeration system, just like in your car, if it's zero out, ten degrees out, it gets thick, just like it does in your car.  It can cause the compressor to try to start with very thick oil in it, or sometimes it will not travel back to the compressor from the various tubing in there, and it causes it to strain the compressor.  So, people have used them for years and years in the garage, and actually my freezer is out in the garage because I have no place to put it right now!  But it's not a good idea, and some manufacturers will tell you that it actually will void your warranty.  They will not cover a compressor if you run it in low ambient temperatures, or outside, or in your garage.

 

MARIO

Oh.  Okay, thank you!  Thank you very much!

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

I guess that answered the question; something I didn't know.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, I guess it's one of those do as I say and not as I do things!

 

Amana Bottom Mount Refrigerator/Freezer Alarm Goes Off but the Temperature Seems Fine

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH
Let's go to a question on an Amana refrigerator with Mary, in West Bloomfield, on the Appliance Repair Show.  Hi Mary, what's wrong with your fridge?

 

MARY

Hi. I have an eighty-four inch integrated bottom mount refrigerator.  It has a sensor with an alarm system that continues to go off.  The refrigerator seems to be working fine, the freezer seems to be working fine, but this alarm keeps going off.  I'd like to know if there's a way to turn this alarm off. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Now is it a freezer alarm saying that the freezer temperature is too warm?

 

MARY

That's what it looks like it's saying, but I've adjusted the temperature to make it colder, and it continues to go off, and all of the food is well-frozen, it seems pretty cold in there.  I don't think there's any problem with the freezer. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Did you see what temperature you actually have in the freezer?

 

MARY

I don't have a thermometer in the freezer.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That's the first place I would start, and just see because you know, things can be frozen, but the fridge could be fifteen degrees in the freezer section which generally is not enough, and when you pull it out it seems frozen.  So, I would start with what temperatures you have.

 

MARY

May I add something else to that?  This started about two weeks ago, and initially it occurred one day, and then I didn't have an alarm for days, and now in the last three days the alarm goes off every few hours, including in the middle of the night, waking me up all night long.  That's why I want to turn it off!  So wouldn't you think that by now the food would be melted if it were that problem?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It depends, again if it's not, if you have let's say an inefficient compressor, where it's running, it's cooling, it's just not able to get the temperature that you need, you might get that intermittent situation.  You also, just by having a dirty compressor, can cause the condition of the compressor to run hot and cause that problem.

 

MARY

Is that something I can clean?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Sure!

 

MARY

How would I do that?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Normally, you remove the lower kick panel on the refrigerator, grab a flashlight and a condenser brush and a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, and reach in there with the brush and dig out all the stuff that's been traveling through there.  If you have cats or dogs especially, that hair likes to build up in there.  Again, the other thing is on this machine, you have a circuit board in there, they normally read a thermistor or temperature sensor, and it could just be that sensor has gone haywire, or the control board is sensing a false reading.  But I'd start with the easy stuff first, which is A, see what temperature you really have, clean the condenser...

 

MARY

I remember trying to clean it a couple years ago, but this is the first time I've had an integrated refrigerator and I figured I was supposed to clean it, though my manual doesn't say anything about cleaning it, and I couldn't see it!   Where is it located, on the left, on the right, in the center?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Are you talking about the condenser?

 

MARY

Taking the lower panel off, is that what you said to do?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, the lower kick plate.

 

MARY

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That's the, if you open up the freezer door, look down, there's normally a two-inch strip of plastic that's a grille, it looks like a vent.

 

MARY

Right I removed that, what would the coil look like?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It looks like a big black radiator with a lot of metal tubing, and generally that, over a period of time can get dirty and cause situations.  If that doesn't help out I would probably lean towards the thermistor or sensor, which senses whether the temperature has failed or if the board is misreading it.  That is, after you make sure you do in fact have a between zero and eight degrees freezer temperature. 

 

MARY

Okay.  Now in the meantime is there any way I can just deactivate this alarm?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Not that I'm aware of.  The manufacturer might be able to help you if there's an override for it, but off the top of my head I don't know any way to shut it off.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

The alarm's on there for a reason and they don't want you to disable it. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Exactly!

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Kind of like the seatbelt alarm in a car, I would think.  I didn't realize that zero was where you wanted it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Zero to eight degrees.

 

2001 Kenmore Refrigerator Drain Tube Freezing Up

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's our first call of this segment, from his car, Stan has a refrigerator problem here on the Appliance Repair Show. 

 

STAN

I have a Sears refrigerator that I bought about six years ago, I think it's a Kenmore, I'm not sure.  What happens is there's a tube that leads from the freezer compartment down to the bottom underneath the refrigerator where water goes and dissipates.  That tube keeps freezing up.  I've had a repairman out twice.  He'll un-thaw the tube, the next day it freezes up.  He tells me it's a design flaw.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this a freezer on top?

 

STAN

It comes down and goes underneath the refrigerator in the pan and then it freezes up and what happens is the water collects inside the refrigerator on the bottom, and just sits there until it gets deep enough so we just keep sopping it up every two weeks or so. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.  Did he clean out the drain tube itself? Make sure there's no physical restriction as far as that goes.

 

STAN

Yes, he cleaned everything out, he took everything apart, he's been out twice in the last couple of years, and he says he can't see what he can do.  He seems to think it's a design flaw and we've got a problem we can't repair.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, first thing, the insulation between your refrigerator and freezer section is probably good and saturated right now, so that doesn't help the situation.  You might have to let the machine dry out in order to get it to start working properly again.  Normally in a situation like that you have either a problem where there's an air leak and you can install some gaskets and some caulking around that, what I mean is, where the cold air comes from the freezer into the refrigerator section, sometimes the air will migrate into the drain area and cause it to be colder than it was designed for, and you get some freeze-ups.  Other times you can put a small piece of wire, or strap, from the defrost heater and feed it down into that drain tube, so when it goes into defrost it actually helps transfer some of that heat and keeps it from icing up.  If you give us the model number as it reads off the refrigerator, go to our website, RepairClinic.com, we can look and see if there's been anything printed on that as far as any other actions you might want to take to repair that, and if there's anything available, any kits or anything of that nature to help solve this problem, we can recommend that for you.  And if it's something you don't feel you can tear into and do yourself you can always have the guy come back out and put it in for you.  Normally there's an answer to it, it's just a matter of finding out what it is.

 

STAN

Okay.  Thank you.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And that RepairClinic.com website is operational twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, we sure hope so!

 

Washing Machine Had Coins in the Drain Pump but is Still Not Pumping Water Out

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's Mark, in Brighton, with a washer problem on the Appliance Repair Show.  Go ahead, Mark.

 

MARK

Hi, I have a washing machine that had some coins in the drain pump.  I removed the coin, but it's still not pumping the water out.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, that's not a good combination, coins in the drain pump.  Did you notice did it break any of the impellers in the pump?

 

MARK

You know, I took the pump out and looked at it and I ran it, and it spins but it looks like one of the impellers is cracked slightly.  When I take the hose out of the wall drain, I can get it to drain maybe a couple feet above ground, but not the full three and a half feet or wherever the drain is.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right.  From what you're describing, I'd say either the impeller is cracked, or when it starts turning up to speed it could be just the motor is turning but the impeller is not.  Or, if you've had coins in there, it's possible there's more in the machine that's blocking the water flow to the drain pump.  It could be up in the hose, or the small hole that the drain water goes from the tub to the pump assembly.  I've seen quarters and things get caught in there, and they spin one way and it drains fine once in a while, and then it plugs up, so you might have to go up into the actual drain assembly and make sure it's all cleared out, and then from there if it's not then I'd suspect the pump itself has failed, that the impeller is broken.  But I'd start with the physical restriction first and go from there.

 

MARK

All right.  How would you propose to check that hose?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the easiest way to do it is take it off the pump, and you can sometimes take a screwdriver or something and push it up there and see if you feel any resistance.  That's the easiest way, rather than going through the drum assembly and messing with it that way.

 

MARK

Very good.  Thank you.

 

2007 Top Mount Refrigerator Ice Tastes Bad

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

We'll go to Joan, in Royal Oak, with another refrigerator repair problem, here on the Appliance Repair Show.

 

JOAN

Hi.  I have a relatively new refrigerator; it's not even a month old.  It has an icemaker, and it makes the ice cubes fine, but when I put them in a glass of water, the taste is pretty bad.  There's kind of like a medicinal taste to it.  Is there any reason for that?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Now does this have ice and water in the door?

 

JOAN

No, just the icemaker.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Do you have a filter on this? 

 

JOAN

Yeah, I think a filter was put in.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this something that's in the refrigerator itself, do you have a dispenser for this?

 

JOAN

No water dispenser.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, so it probably doesn't have a self-contained filter, so you'll have to put a filter additionally on to the refrigerator.  In the water line behind the fridge or the basement you can put an additional water filter in there. You say you don't know if that has one.

 

JOAN

No, no I don't.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I would start there; it always helps to have the water cleaned up before it gets to the refrigerator.  The other thing that can cause bad taste in ice is open cans of stuff, like baby formula...

 

JOAN

No, this is all in the freezer. It's the icemaker that came in the fridge, its right in the freezer.  There's nothing in there that would be open.  And, it's been this way since the start. I do have a serviceman coming out, but I just wondered if there was something I could do to eliminate the service call.  Is that a common occurrence with an icemaker?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Normally, as I said, if you get a taste in there when you first fire it up, throw the first batch out.

 

JOAN

Yeah I did, I waited thirty-six hours and then I threw everything out of the fridge.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

If you're still having a taste I would, again, inspect and make sure there's nothing open and nothing in the fridge that could be, because there's so much air that circulates in there, even if it's in the refrigerator section, it could still be why you get the taste in your ice.

 

JOAN

You mean the lower part, the refrigerator part?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right.  Anything where the refrigerator circulates constantly between your refrigerator and freezer section, so anything that's open in your fridge is eventually going to get up into the freezer, and of course the ice is going to be affected.

 

JOAN

Okay, well I'll check that.  You mentioned the filter; wouldn't that be an item that comes with the icemaker itself?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Nope, that's something that if you have a refrigerator normally with ice and water in the door, most units these days will have a self-contained filter that comes with the machine, it's got its own housing inside the machine and you change it.  Other than that, if it's just a regular refrigerator that has an icemaker or is icemaker ready, if you want to clean the water up or filter it, you're on your own.  You can buy a lot of after-market ones, I think we have some we sell for fifteen or twenty dollars, pretty inexpensive and you change them every year or two.  That helps with the taste.

 

JOAN

Is that put in right where the icemaker is?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You put it in the supply line going to the icemaker.

 

JOAN

Okay.  That sounds great, thank you for all your help.

 

Kenmore Dehumidifier Won't Start after the Condensing Coils Were Cleaned

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And here's a case of a dehumidifier not starting with Richard, in Ypsilanti, on the Appliance Repair Show.  Richard, what kind of dehumidifier is it again?

 

RICHARD

It's a Kenmore.  The problem is when I opened it, the condenser coils were completely plugged up.  So I cleaned those up but it still won't even start, see.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You say the thing was pretty dirty when you got in there, huh?

 

RICHARD

Yes.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Does it run, the compressor runs, the fans run?

 

RICHARD

No, the compressor doesn't run and the fans don't run.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Nothing runs?

 

RICHARD

Nothing runs.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

This has a digital control board on it?

 

RICHARD

That's right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, I would suspect that if it's dead, as they say that that board might have failed.

 

RICHARD

Oh, is that right?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah.  I would start by just making sure all the wiring and connections to that board are in good shape.  The other thing you want to inspect is that the bucket is in place.  There's normally a bucket switch that if it's just ajar a little bit or taking it out you bent the arm on it or something, it will cause it to not start and be dead.  So the two things it's going to be are the bucket switch has failed or the bucket's ajar, or that control board's probably failed, and by being so dirty, it probably was running excessive current, and caused the thing to short out possibly.

 

RICHARD

It does have a sensor in that condensing coil, I assume that sensor is out there to, it was oh totally dirty or something, would that have any problem with it?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It all depends on the thermistor on it, if it's trying to sense the evaporator or condenser temperature.  I can't tell from the picture what exactly it does; you have to look at the wiring diagram to see what they're trying to do with that.  Again from what you're describing, if it's dead, just not doing anything, I'd lean towards the bucket switch or the control board.  But before you go ahead and toss it out or repair it, make sure all the connections to that board are in good shape, too.  It could just be a loose wire.

 

Kenmore Refrigerator Won't Start after the Compressor Start Relay was Replaced

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's April, in Findlay, Ohio, with another refrigerator question on the Appliance Repair Show sponsored by RepairClinic.  Good morning.

 

APRIL

I have a Kenmore side by side refrigerator, and originally I had let it clog up underneath, I didn't realize the coils were underneath with hair and dust and stuff.  We replaced the compressor start relay, that little thing that had junk in it, and it ran overnight and most of the next day, and then nothing happened.  It went off and the light comes on, that's it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So originally, the compressor wouldn't start?

 

APRIL

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And you found in investigating that the condenser was quite dirty?

 

APRIL

Yeah, well we swept all that out and we found that the compressor start relay was bad.  And it started up and ran fine all day, all night and most of the next day, and then it stopped.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And now it does nothing.  Does it try to start?

 

APRIL

No, the light comes on and that's it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. And, you have it plugged in right now.

 

APRIL

Not right now.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So you unplugged it when you came and found it not running and the light on?

 

APRIL

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.  Was it cooling at that time or not?

 

APRIL

No.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. 

 

APRIL

The fan wasn't working, the compressor wasn't kicking on, there was nothing happening.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

The fan that cools the compressor wasn't working as well?

 

APRIL

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So it was conked out all together.  Have you had any lightning strikes in the area that could have caused any electrical damage that you know of?

 

APRIL

No.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

No?  Well, from what you're describing, it sounds like you're not getting any power to start the compressor, because normally the fan would run and the condenser fan that cools the compressor would at least run, even if the compressor is cycling on and off.  I would suspect you have a problem in the controls.  It could be either in the thermostat or if this unit has an adaptive defrost, the adaptive defrost control board has failed. It's basically stuck in defrost now, is what could be...

 

APRIL

Is there any trigger that switches off in there like a safety if it was shut off?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, if it was stuck in defrost that's all it normally does.  It turns on the heaters in the freezer section, and shuts off the compressor, and it's possible it just didn't come back out of defrost.  I would lean in that area since you've already replaced the relay, and normally if the compressor had failed you'd still hear it try to cycle on and off, on and off, so I'd say you have a problem with power getting to that, and that's switched through the defrost control board or the thermostat where you set it for more cooling, less cooling, etc.

 

APRIL

Interesting.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Sounds like you've fixed one problem, but you've got another.

 

APRIL

Yeah.  Where is the defroster?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Most of the time they're mounted either in the control section, or sometimes they will sneak them and hide them in a box by the compressor area.  So, I would start in the control section.  If you have any other questions as to specifics on where it's at or other things to check, just go to our website, RepairClinic.com, you can put your model number in and we'll try to be a little more specific by being able to look at what you have.

 

APRIL

All right, well thank you very much.

 

Kenmore Dryer Clothes Getting Caught in the Drum

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Carla, in Troy, has a dryer problem, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Go ahead please, Carla.

 

CARLA

Hi, I have a Kenmore dryer. It's made by Frigidaire.  Inside the dryer where the whole drum rotates, there's a little space. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is the space in the front?

 

CARLA

My clothes sometimes get caught in the front of the dryer.  And when I pull them out they are full of rust.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And they're full of rust?!

 

CARLA

Yes, it's rust, because I've been able to take Wink and squirt it on them, some of them and it goes away but its rust.  And somehow rust has gotten in there and I don't know what to do.  It's ruining my clothes!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, normally that's caused from a missing seal. There's supposed to be a felt seal, and there's a set of glides that runs on the top of the drum.  If the felt seal is gone, or the glides are worn out, what happens is the clothes will get pinched in the front of the drum. I would start by, removing the front panel of the dryer and inspect the front felt pads or front glides, as they call them, and look in the felt surrounding and see if that's worn.  That's normally what causes it.  As far as rust goes, it might be the drum has caused wearing which caused the finish to come off and you actually have rust. More than likely what you have there is grease or other things that get caught in there, so as far as removing the front panel you can go to our website; we have instructions on how to do that.  You can look under either Kenmore or you can go to Frigidaire dryers, and it will give you some step by step on how to remove the front panel.  Normally you'll have to end up replacing that front set of seals, which you glue into place.  It comes as a kit with a front glide and the glue, if not you can order the glue separately.  They also make a rebuild set for this where you can change the rear drum bearing and the belt and the tension pulley and all that.  While you're in there you can do a rebuild for it.

 

CARLA

Okay.  And what's the website again?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

RepairClinic.com

 

1993 Frigidaire Refrigerator has a Loud Clunking Noise coming from the Compressor

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Lee, in Ferndale, has another question on a refrigerator on the Appliance Repair Show.

Good morning Lee, what's your problem?

 

LEE

Good morning.  I have a refrigerator, it's roughly about fourteen years old, and it's a Frigidaire.  It works great, never had any problems with it, up until about six months ago, it makes a big loud noise.  I think it's the compressor.  It's very loud.  When I have people over at the house it makes a noise and they jump, it's that loud. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this when it shuts off?

 

LEE

Pardon?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is it when the unit shuts off when you hear this noise? 

 

LEE

Well, it's always plugged in. I don't know if it shuts off or not.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I mean when you hear the noise, is it a one-time noise or is it a loud screeching noise?

 

LEE

Oh, it's a one-time noise.  It's a BOOM!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It's like a big loud clunk?

 

LEE

Yeah, and it will actually, you can see the refrigerator actually just move a little bit.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, it sounds like the compressor, from what you're describing, normally this happens when it shuts off.  There are springs that the internal components of the compressor are mounted to, and when they break the inner workings of the motor and the pump, the compressor slaps against the outer shell.  So it sounds kind of like taking a hammer and hitting a piece of steel, just kind of a big bump, and that's what it's kind of doing, you've got the metal components hitting the outer shell.  Nothing you can do about it, other than replace the compressor.  Eventually it doesn't help the machine because you can damage the internal workings.  I've seen them run for years like this and I've seen them conk out in a short time.  Normally, short of changing the compressor, there's nothing you can do.  And if it's fifteen years old, you may want to run it until it dies and then off to the graveyard for refrigerators it goes.

 

LEE

Right.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

With the doors off.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, a lot of places will make you take them off.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Just put it on the curb.

 

LEE

Right. Okay.

 

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