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FIXED Amana ARS9168 Not Cooling consistently, Frosting just at top of coils

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Model Number
ARS9168
Brand
Amana
Age
More than 10 years
Monday morning we woke up to a lot of water in the ice/water dispenser drip collector and found melted ice in the ice maker and icicles below it in the freezer section. At that time, the items towards the top of the freezer were defrosting somewhat and the items along the bottom were still frozen.

I placed meat thermometers on both sides and closed both doors. After about 30 minutes the freezer side showed 50 degrees and the fridge side was the same.

We transferred all of the food items out of the freezer and most out of the fridge side. Tried tuning off the power at the breaker and leaving it for a few minutes then turning it back on. The freezer didn't seem to do much for several hours (I may have accidently advanced the defrost timer when checking the water tray).

Later it seemed to be cooling some and some frost had developed on the panel covering the coils. Around 3pm, it was clear that the frost on the coil panel had been melted and refrozen.

Then, around 3:30pm we removed the back panel and found the coils cold, the bottom parts with no frost, and the top 2-3 coils and wiring and defrost thermostat were covered with light to medium frost (easily melted off with hair dryer). Freezer temp was near zero. Fridge side was between 40 and 50.

This morning (24 hrs later than when we first found it not working correctly) the freezer was 40 degrees when opened, the fridge was at 50.

I removed the coil panel and found more frost (a bit heavier) covering the top third of the coils. If the system lets me post a picture I will.

I disconnected and tested the defrost thermostat. It was initially closed. Placing it in room temperature water, it opened quickly . Placing it in another freezer (no ice for an ice water bath) it took some time to close again (around 20-30min). I did several checks of the thermostat and it was always quick to open and slow to close.

Replacing the thermostat, I tested the heater. It works. The defrost timer seemed to shut off the heater in about 30 minutes. The fan above the coils works.

Since reconnecting everything, the freezer has dropped to 0 degrees in about 1 – 1 ½ hours and the fridge section is still at 50. I’ve now advanced the defrost timer to defrost mode and then just past that so that the compressor runs again. I’m going to leave it for 7 hours and check temps and frost again.

Any suggestions on what might be happening and what to test next?

I have two guesses. First, that the defrost timer runs the defrost cycle too long which is leading the freezer sections to heat up too much. Second, that the defrost thermostat takes too long to close which prevents the fan from running which then contributes to excess frost build up and inadequate cooling.

By the way, our current conditions are about 70 degrees and 55% relative humidity. Some of the excess moisture in the freezer may have been caused by the ice melting on Sunday night. We don’t normally find evidence of much frosting inside the freezer.
 

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Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
112,971
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Make sure you put the back panel over the evaporator coil again, so cold air can flow properly into the refrigerator section.

When you noticed it warm inside both sections was the compressor and fans running? Or was the refrigerator dead silent?

Jake
 

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Hi Jake,

Yes, I've replaced the panel each time after I've looked at the coils. Except for removing, testing, and replacing the thermostat, the panel has only been off for a few minutes.

The first time (DAY 1, MORNING 1) that I found it, I don't recall whether the fans were running. A bit after I found it they were but whether the compressor was running was less clear. There was some warmth in the coils underneath the fridge initially and then for most of the first morning, each time I checked those coils were at room temperature. It is possible that I found it shortly after it completed a defrost cycle but I am not certain. I've learned more about how these work since then and was not looking for specific symptoms at the time.

This morning (day 2), I didn't check immediately whether either was running. I suppose it is possible that I found it just after a defrost cycle.

This evening's defrost cycle occurred roughly 8 hours after I changed the timer (as expected) and lasted about 30 minutes. Just before it started, I checked the interior coils and they were almost completely frost free. When it ran, the heater did come on and it did create some visible vapor in the empty freezer. I checked on it twice during the defrost cycle and the heater was running. After it ran, the temp inside the empty freezer was almost 60 degrees. 1 hour after the defrost cycle was over the temp was down near zero. Most of the day earlier today, the temp was 10-20 degrees.

The fridge side doesn't seem to vary in temperature much which seems unlikely. It has stayed between 40 and 50 degrees despite my adjusting the fridge side temp control to be colder. I've placed the freezer side meat thermometer in the fridge side just to double check the other meat thermometer on the theory that the one that I had been using on the Fridge side doesn't go as low as it should.

I decided I didn't want the system going into defrost while I was asleep tonight and again tried to advance it into defrost mode and then past defrost so that the timing of the next defrost cycle would be pushed back. What's interesting is that as I heard it click a second time to go past defrost, the fans did not come on again. I then tried to change the thermostat settings to set them colder; still no fans. So, I advanced the timer all the way around again and again heard the first and second click. Still, the fans did not come on again. Third time, I let is stay at defrost and let the heater run for 15 minutes. After that, when I advanced the timer past the second click, the fans came on. Then after a few minutes the coils underneath the fridge did warm up above room temp; so, at that time I could tell the compressor was up and running shortly after the 15 minutes of defrost.

I'll try one more time this evening before I go to bed to set the timer so that it moves to defrost to after I wake up so that I can again observe it more directly.
 
Last edited:

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Update:

One thing I noticed last night is that the coils/fins inside the freezer were resting on the drip tray, with the heater coil nearly touching the right side of the drip tray. Then I noticed the clips and did my best to get them back up and into the clips.

Last night the two meat thermometers read about the same on the fridge side; so, I'm going to assume previous temp readings are equally accurate.

This morning (Day 3) the temp on the freezer side was just below 10 degrees and fridge side just above 40 (both sides set at 1 1/2 marks colder than normal, in other words 5.5 instead of 4).

There was very little frost on the freezer side coils before the defrost. I manually advanced to the defrost and it ran for about 30 minutes. The fans came on immediately and the coils below the fridge warmed above room temp. Air temps in Freezer were around 40 after the defrost cycle. At this point, most of the moisture/frost in the freezer seems to be gone.
 

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
About 1 1/2 hours after the defrost, the freezer is near zero and the fridge is just above 40.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
112,971
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
After it ran, the temp inside the empty freezer was almost 60 degrees.
That should not happen, sounds like the defrost thermostat is not shutting the defrost heater OFF properly and letting it get too warm in the freezer section.

Here's the defrost thermostat for your model:
Defrost Thermostat R0161088


What's interesting is that as I heard it click a second time to go past defrost, the fans did not come on again. I then tried to change the thermostat settings to set them colder; still no fans. So, I advanced the timer all the way around again and again heard the first and second click. Still, the fans did not come on again. Third time, I let is stay at defrost and let the heater run for 15 minutes. After that, when I advanced the timer past the second click, the fans came on. Then after a few minutes the coils underneath the fridge did warm up above room temp; so, at that time I could tell the compressor was up and running shortly after the 15 minutes of defrost.

It sounds like you got a defective defrost timer, where did you buy it at?

Here's the defrost timer for your model:
R0131577 Defrost Timer Kit


Jake
 

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Hi Jake,

Yes, I'm coming to the conclusion that both need to be replaced to be certain of not having a problem going forward.

I've since checked the damper control too since the fridge side was always a bit warm. It does work.

Yesterday, I ran a few more defrost cycles and then tested temps off and on throughout the day. I also tested a defrost cycle this morning and then temps about hourly all morning.

I'm now getting temps near zero on the freezer side and 40 on the fridge side. But, to achieve that the freezer setting and fridge settings are well to the colder side of "normal." See photo. Is that something I should be concerned about?

Thanks,
Jonathan
 

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Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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No Jonathan, I more concerned with why it gets so warm in the freezer after the defrost cycle.

Jake
 

jonnyz2

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Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Got it. Replacing the defrost thermostat should solve that correct? I will be replacing the timer as well.
 
Last edited:

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Yes, I'd replace both if I was you.:)

Jake
 

Jake

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Glad to help, keep us posted.

Jake
 

jonnyz2

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Bay Area
Hi Jake,

I've replaced both parts and it has been working well for a week.

We've had food back in for six days and temps have been consistent. Once the replacement parts were in and the temps stabilized I found that I could dial back the thermostat settings from colder closer to normal as well.

Thank you for your help!

Jonathan
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
112,971
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Excellent Jonathan, glad to hear the new defrost thermostat and new defrost timer kit fixed it.(y)

Thanks for the update!

Jake
 
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