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CTF14CAF Hotpoint Refrigerator - Temperature swings

gboone

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Cheyenne
Model Number
CTF14CAF
Brand
Hotpoint
Age
More than 10 years
The temperature is not consistent in both the top freezer or the bottom fresh food compartments. About a month ago, the temp in the freezer rose above freezing and the fresh food rose up to 53F. The next day it went back down to 48F and down in the 30's the next day but still went up and down over the next few days. So I unplugged it and rolled it outside and power washed the condenser coils on the back. Let it dry out a couple of hours and cleaned the underneath. Made sure all the air ways in the freezer section were clear. After a couple of days, the temp resumed the swinging, from 48F to 33F and back. The fan sounds normal. Could the evaporator coils be frosting up and thawing, hence causing the temp swings? I have the controls on full cold for both compartments. The tag says R12 refrigerant so doubt I can find any service that would charge it if it's low on refrigerant. Thanks for any advice.
 

gboone

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Cheyenne
I just removed the freezer floor panel and found a ball of ice covering about 20% of the evaporator coils.
IMG-3408.jpg

The fan was working just fine. I noticed a small coil inside a clear tube. I suspect this is a heating coil but not sure. I runs the whole length of the evaporator coils in between them. Select Parts doesn't list this part. It seems that if this small coil is supposed to prevent ice up, that there would be more ice along the entire length of the evaporator coils.

You can see it in IMG-3409 with a blue wire connected to it.
IMG-3409.jpg

Do you think this ice ball was causing the temp swings? If so, what can I do to prevent it from forming again? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
6,008
Location
Ontario, Canada
Fully defrost it. Let it run for a day or two and then inspect the frosting of the evaporator again. Frosting should be uniform across most of it, not on just part of it. Report back with photos if possible.

gboone said:
You can see it in IMG-3409 with a blue wire connected to it.

The blue wire appears to be attached to the defrost heater which is a coil of wire inside a quartz tube.

gboone said:
Do you think this ice ball was causing the temp swings?

Causing, no. A symptom of the problem, probably.


Post photos of the frosting after letting it run for a day or so and we can suggest a course of action. (The fridge needs to be fully assembled while running to get a proper frost pattern.)


Dan O.
 

gboone

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Cheyenne
I completely defrosted and thoroughly dried it all out. Then reassembled, plugged it in, and took the attached photo 24 hours after powering back up. The frost was uniform and still is after 36 hours. The temp in the fresh food area is still not stable but better than before. I found a replacement defrost thermostat if you think that may be the problem. Thanks for your help.
 

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Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
6,008
Location
Ontario, Canada
Assemble it again and check in a week. If it is a defrosting issue a frost buildup should appear in a week of operation. Unless that occurs, the limit switch is unlikely to be responsible.

I don't know why you're getting temperature swings if there is no abnormal frost accumulation. How are you testing the temperature? Normally we monitor food temperature. That can be measured by putting a container of water on a middle shelf and measuring its temperature every 12 hours or so.

Dan O.
 

gboone

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Cheyenne
I’m measuring temp with a refrigerator digital thermometer. I’ll try your method with a container of water and using another thermometer to verify. Thank you Dan O.
 

gboone

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Cheyenne
I’m measuring temp with a refrigerator digital thermometer. I’ll try your method with a container of water and using another thermometer to verify. Thank you Dan O.
I'm now a week in since my last post. The temp in the fresh food area has varied from 32F to 48F just like before. I disaassembled and took this photo. As you can see, there's no significant frost on the coils but ice has formed on the outlet side of the expansion valve. What do you think? TIA.
 

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Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
6,008
Location
Ontario, Canada
It isn't frosting very much. A buildup of ice at the entrance to the evaporator (there is no expansion valve) is often a sign of lack of refrigerant but could also be caused by a malfunctioning compressor. My guess is it likely needs refrigeration service which is unlikely to be cost effective on an older refrigerator.


Dan O.
 
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