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Thread: Trouble-shooting Kenmore fridge

  1. #1
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Trouble-shooting Kenmore fridge

    11 years old.

    Freezer is cold as hell, but the fridge is struggling.
    Barely reaching 40 on max

    The freezer is -15, so I figure it's not the compressor.

    Not leaking, so the condensation tube isn't clogged.
    Nothing blocking the freezer or fridge vents.
    Vacuumed the condenser coils.

    Beyond that, not sure how to trouble-shoot any of the other things: http://www.repairclinic.com/RepairHe...ugh-1068596880

    I hear a fan in the fridge, but not as loud as normal.

    Don't mind having someone come to fix it but there's a 2 day wait regardless.

    Any advice appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    ice build up in the back of the freezer? / behind the panel?

    if so try unplugging it and take a hair dryer to the back of the freezer for about 15 min. sometimes the duct that runs from the freezer to the fridge gets clogged with ice and so your freezer gets too cold and your fridge gets warm. could fix it good enough until it clogs again 1- 3 weeks depending on whats wrong.


    could be possibly one of 4 things:
    defrost element, defrost timer, thermostat or thermister

    youtube it

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  3. #3
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    ice build up in the back of the freezer? / behind the panel?

    if so try unplugging it and take a hair dryer to the back of the freezer for about 15 min. sometimes the duct that runs from the freezer to the fridge gets clogged with ice and so your freezer gets too cold and your fridge gets warm. could fix it good enough until it clogs again 1- 3 weeks depending on whats wrong.


    could be possibly one of 4 things:
    defrost element, defrost timer, thermostat or thermister

    youtube it
    Thanks for the response

    Have youtubed and googled.

    No ice build-up whatsoever.

  4. #4
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    i wasn't able to see the ice buildup until i took the panel off but i could feel a bulge on the back wall on the inside pushing the panel,

    turn your fridge setting a little colder which will make the fan come on and then hold a thread or kleenex tissue in front of the fridge duct to see if any air is moving...

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  5. #5
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    also you make want too freeze a few ice packs or ziplock bags with water so you can transfer them to you fridge to help until its fixed

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  6. #6
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    if the fan is the problem the hair dryer wont help but if its anything else it will likely help. ifyou blow warm air from the freezer duct you should be able to feel i come out the fridge duct ..if you cant feel warm air from the hair dryer cominout out of the fridge duct then its ice build up

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  7. #7
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    i wasn't able to see the ice buildup until i took the panel off but i could feel a bulge on the back wall on the inside pushing the panel,

    turn your fridge setting a little colder which will make the fan come on and then hold a thread or kleenex tissue in front of the fridge duct to see if any air is moving...
    Have the fridge cranked to max.

    I'll try the kleenex thing tomorrow. If there's no air moving, but I can hear the fan blowing...ice buildup?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    also you make want too freeze a few ice packs or ziplock bags with water so you can transfer them to you fridge to help until its fixed
    Check

    Love ice packs, use them to bring frozen food home after work or shopping all the time.

    Already had close to a dozen ready to go.

  9. #9
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    if the fan is the problem the hair dryer wont help but if its anything else it will likely help. ifyou blow warm air from the freezer duct you should be able to feel i come out the fridge duct ..if you cant feel warm air from the hair dryer cominout out of the fridge duct then its ice build up
    Good idea, thanks.

    Right now, w/ the help of a couple big ice packs, the fridge is actually down to 36-38.

    I'm happy with that, gives me some time to figure out what might be wrong. I can hear the fan in the fridge but it doesn't sound right and there's no draft of cold air swirling around when the fan is on like normal.

    This happened to coincide w/ a $350 Costco run w/ a bunch of frozen and refrigerated food. Fridge door was open maybe 5 minutes while stuff was put away...maybe the warm air (middle of record-breaking heat wave here, 85 today actually set the recorded record for this day) caused some condensation that puckered up the vent.

    Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate it.

  10. #10
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humboldt View Post
    H If there's no air moving, but I can hear the fan blowing...ice buildup?

    Thanks
    likely Ice build up, due to a b or c. pull the panel off and have a peak. small flat head screwdriver to pop off cover plates and nut driver or screwdriver

    I used a hair dryer on mine to fix it every 3 weeks until i got a new thermostat after 3 months lol

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  11. #11
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    likely Ice build up, due to a b or c. pull the panel off and have a peak. small flat head screwdriver to pop off cover plates and nut driver or screwdriver

    I used a hair dryer on mine to fix it every 3 weeks until i got a new thermostat after 3 months lol
    Panel...can you be more specific?
    Back freezer panel where the fan vent goes down?

    Messed around with it a bit more and saw a bit of ice, just a bit, on the fridge side vents.
    Sponged them off a bit with a hot sponge and eventually got the faintest of cold drafts coming out.

    Little bit in the freezer too of course, but when I smacked on the back panel it sure as hell sounded like ice.
    Back of the freezer compartment so maybe that's normal.

    Probably wait until my weekend starts on Sunday and empty everything out into a couple coolers and try the blow drier trick.
    More important to get the freezer end of the vent, the fridge end, or both?

    Thanks again.

  12. #12
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humboldt View Post
    Panel...can you be more specific?
    Back freezer panel where the fan vent goes down?

    Messed around with it a bit more and saw a bit of ice, just a bit, on the fridge side vents.
    Sponged them off a bit with a hot sponge and eventually got the faintest of cold drafts coming out.

    Little bit in the freezer too of course, but when I smacked on the back panel it sure as hell sounded like ice.
    Back of the freezer compartment so maybe that's normal.

    Probably wait until my weekend starts on Sunday and empty everything out into a couple coolers and try the blow drier trick.
    More important to get the freezer end of the vent, the fridge end, or both?

    Thanks again.
    That's not normal to have ice when u smack the panel! Its not defrosting properly so ice builds up and eventually clogs the duct. use the hair dryer all over the panel *if panel not removed and particularly the duct area in the freezer * make sure the fridge door is open and keep any food away from the duct in the fridge eventually you should feel warm air from the dryer coming thru the duct on the fridge side. about 15 min of hair dryer

    you may want to try and sponge up the melted ice water at the bottom inside base as your evaporator tray could get full and leak a lil bit... *mine never did.

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  13. #13
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Well sh*t.

    pulled everything out of the freezer into a cooler with ice packs.

    Hit up the back panel and vent down tube of the freezer for 15 minutes.

    For kicks I got the intake tube in the fridge every so often.

    Drank a beer and gave it another 15 minutes with the hair dryer.

    Waited 10 for temps to adjust.
    Plugged in...same as before

    Freezer gets cold as hell (-15), fridge eventually gets there (35) but there's no air circulation whatsof*ckingever short of the cold air trickling out of the vent.

    Not sure if this has separate thermostats and will try to find out.

    Otherwise I figure there's a fan out (one in the freezer is blowing like a champ) or something, god knows what, is blocking the vent.

    Off Sunday/Monday, looks like I'll be trying to take the vents apart without breaking the damn things to see if anything is blocking them.
    I tend to break anything with clips.

    Thanks again for the help Randy

    Any suggestions appreciated.

  14. #14
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    OK, I''m thoroughly baffled and confused.

    Freezer is -15. Condenser is working

    Fan in the freezer is running, means fan is ok.

    Little bit of cold air tricking down through the vent into the fridge...better than nothing but not ideal.

    Fridge eventually gets to 35.
    Great, except no air circulation to peak of. None.
    Normally, especially weather like this, I open the fridge and there's huge gusts of cold air being blown around.

    Make me think a secondary fan is bad or the down tube from the freezer is clogged.

    Spent 40 minutes defrosting the freezer with a hair dryer (with beer break).
    No difference.

    Cold air from the freezer (or lack thereof) is the same with the freezer door open or closed, so I figure not a return vent issue.

    Will look up a secondary fan this weekend to see if that's an issue, but haven't read anything indicating they even exist.

    Freezer's fine, fridge gets cold eventually but has no forced air flow at all.

    Only other thing I can thing of is to pull the connecting vent between the freezer and fridge and see if a hunk of styrofoam fell and is blocking something.

  15. #15
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Not like I'm troubleshooting this at midnight, but the freezer to fridge flap is stuck closed.

    Took off the back panel and it's only open 1/4", if that.

    Not frozen shut.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  16. #16
    Resident Atheist Dan's Avatar
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    sounds like that could be the problem for sure,break it loose,what do you have to lose ? can it be broken loose without major damage ? post a pic of it.

    it's just a door ? right ? it's not mechanically or electronically controlled is it ?

  17. #17
    Assistant Admin Ken's Avatar
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    https://www.google.com/#q=kenmore+re...service+manual

    https://www.google.com/#q=kenmore+re...anual+download


    A service manual is typically what the techs use.

    In a quick search, here is an online manual and troubleshooting guide. http://www.appliancerepair.net/kenmo...or-repair.html

    At the bottom you will see various chapters. I believe this is the one that will be of benefit:
    http://www.appliancerepair.net/refri...-repair-1.html

    Better yet:
    http://www.appliancerepair.net/refri...-repair-4.html

    Not sure your specific brand, this is for the Elite model, pdf download
    http://www.rice360.rice.edu/Resource...r%20Manual.pdf

    The concept will be the same...

    I hope this helps! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111111111111

  18. #18
    Resident Rodent Randy's Avatar
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    well hopefully that will buy you enough time to get it fixed...

    I was going to post a link to that thread, but the SG search results for "bullsh|t" were too numerous

    sometimes you have to think outside the box to get inside the box .

  19. #19
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Hey guys.

    Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated

    Freezer is good, fridge gets down way cold enough again (25).

    Only problem is circulation in the fridge. It's cold, but not the gusty cold I've felt before. Little circulation short of the cold air draft from the freezer.

    Evaporator fan seems fine, THOROUGHLY (multi beer) defrosted w/ a hair dryer last night, both w/ and w/out the back freezer panel in place.

    Checked the flapped in the down tube from the freezer.
    Not frozen stuck but seemed more closed than I'd guess it needs. Not sure if it's controlled electronically or not but I doubt it.

    Worked it free a bit, actually slid it all the way open eventually by accident and can't get it back in place w/out a pair of fish hook pliers. Oh well.

    Surprised that underneath the flap was a sheet of styrofoam glued into place that seems to all but block the vent.

    Anyways, all is good except for the lack of circulation. Working on figuring that out.

    Thanks again for the help.

  20. #20
    SG Enthusiast Leatherneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by humboldt View Post
    trouble-shooting kenmore fridge
    center mass!
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    Steve

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