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106.9550711 Kenmore Fridge needs to last 2 more weeks, help

michiganjim

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
3
Location
United States
Model Number
106.9550711
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
More than 10 years
Ordered a new fridge and waiting 2 more weeks for delivery due to supply channel impact of COVID 19.

Off/on over two years, my Kenmore had problems. Replaced defrost timer, replaced defrost thermostat, replaced main thermostat and replaced air diverter control. It would operated for a few weeks, then temps would go up. Determined frost on evap coils was only lightly frosted 1/2 way so I added freon. I even cut a "window" in cover over evap coils and sealed a piece of plexiglass in the hole so I could see coils without taking cover off. I could see a light frost over all the coils) Fan for condenser coils and fan for air circulation are working. (I can show you banged knuckles from getting my hand too close).

After this, it worked decently for a year.

Being paranoid that food would spoil, I bought a remote temp sensor. Its sticks on outside of door and with a sensor inside both freezer and fridge. This allows me to see temp in both sides without opening door. It operated reasonably well for a year, although I can live with it being a bit colder (less 35 degrees in fridge and close to zero in freezer) I couldn't quite get it balanced because the air diverter control is manual and hard to adjust.

Although it's a hot summer, the unit seems to run constantly, holding zero or less in freezer and down as low as 30 in fridge. Over the last month it holds zero in freezer, temps in fridge gradually increase up to 40. The evap coils and even cover over it (tin and my plexiglass window) show frost buildup. I checked freon again with my gauge and it only took a tiny amount of R-134A to reach correct pressure. This did not have an impact and temps in fridge still rise..

Note, I verified the temps with a temp logging device. It's a little unit you put inside either freezer or fridge. After X hrs inside, plugs into my computer and shows temps graphed over time. It does show a 4 or 5 minute spike in temp every 10 or 12 hrs. This tells me defrost timer, heater, etc is working, as does water draining into the pan underneath.

So with all of this, I'm still seeing frost build up and gradual temp increase in refrigerator. When it starts to get over 40, I "force" it into a defrost cycle by advancing timer with a screw driver. This melts the ice on evap coils and temps return to "normal' (zero and 35 or so). It seems like I'm doing this every couple days.. In the meantime, I'm constantly checking temps, even getting up at night to check and prepared to move food downstairs to chest freezer or spare refridge where we keep pop, etc or the under bar cooler in family room.

I've been messing with this for two years and finally took a hint it was time to replace the unit. What bugs me is this Kenmore is 15 yrs old. The Gibson, purchased 36 yrs old , looking kind of shabby but has never had a single problem. I wish Gibson was still manufactured. New Unit I bought is Frigidaire. Of course, this added another job to my todo list which is moving and raising the cabinets. Current fridge is 33". New one is 36" and couple inches higher.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,684
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
... frost on evap coils was only lightly frosted 1/2 way so I added freon.
That tells me there's a problem with the sealed system. Since you opened the system and added gas, I'm not going to be much help. Was the evaporator starving because of a refrigerant leak or a partial restriction? What was the high side pressure? What's the low pressure at now?
 

michiganjim

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
3
Location
United States
I did not connect to the high side, so can't give you a reading. Only the low side. It was starving and I gradually put freon in. It took about an hour, giving it a shot, then waiting for the pressure to come back down. It kept dipping a little below 0. Gradually, it was i the positive and finally, held at slightly under 2PSI. Note, this was the first time after seeing frost only 1/2 way on coils. That was more than a year ago. After adding freon, the coils were lightly frosted over all of it. When it acted up more recently, it was heavily frosted all over. Connecting gauge, it was down a very little bit. (maybe about 1.25 PSI. It took very little to get it back close to 2PSI.

I tend to agree something might be going on in the sealed system; maybe the compressor is just too tired. I was hoping there was something I missed. Looks like I'll keep forcing it into the defrost cylce manually when I see the temps go up and frost buildup.

To my knowledge the defrost timer has two settings, one for about 10 hrs of real time and 10 hrs of compressor run time. I think it's a jumper but can't find the paperwork. The original timer may or may not have been bad. It was a shotgun approach early on until I got a good understanding of what was going on. I was thinking it might have to do with the air circulation balance. The control is sort of a cam thing that a rod rides on. the rod goes through a channel to the air diverter and maybe it got bent or something but I can't tell. The thermostat was a PITA. I went through several before I got one in without kinking the capilary tube.
 

michiganjim

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
3
Location
United States
The remote temp system has an alarm that I can set at desired temps. This might help and eliminate frequent checking, especially at night. Problem is the alarm beep is so low volume as to be useless. It certainly wouldn't wake me up or even my wife who hears much beter than me
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
39,684
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
one for about 10 hrs of real time and 10 hrs of compressor run time.
Sounds like you might be onto something. Continuous vs Accumulative :
Defrost Timer Accumulative Continuous.jpg
 
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