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Kenmore Refrigerator 596.69319010 suddenly got way too warm in the fridge

LR4444

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
3
Location
New Bern, NC
Model Number
596.69319010
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
More than 10 years
My maybe 6 years old bottom mount Kenmore fridge (596.69319010) suddenly got way too warm in the fridge, like 50s, and was freezing up in the freezer. Called Sears and they wouldn't come out for a week. One local repairman wouldn't call back. Another said he'd come out right away.

The one who came out peeked at the fridge and asked if there had been a power surge. There actually had been a weird power situation about a week or more before that, so I said yes. He said to turn the power off to the fridge and leave it off for 24 hours and see if that fixed it, then charged $75.

It did fix it for about 10 days and then the same thing happened again.

Called him again like he said to do if something continued to be wrong with it, and he said it was the humidity. Not sure how that fit into the previous assessment, but the weather had been unusually humid and money was tight so I didn't argue and just left the fridge off for 24 hours again.

It continued to do it even when it was no longer humid. Tried to call Sears again and found out they were going to charge more than $100 just to visit.

Called the same man and he came right back out. This time, he said it was two parts that had to do with defrosting and that he was pretty sure the defrost timer was fine. He ordered and replaced the two parts for $284.

The fridge went out again. Called him back and he has brought up a power surge again and said it damaged the circuit board and parts will just keep being messed up. He was supposed to call back with more information about whether he could get the part and discuss if I wanted to pursue fixing it and it has been several days and he hasn't called back.

He acts like he has a really terrible memory. On his second visit, he asked about someone we both knew like he'd never asked the question before, and once I missed his call and called him back a few minutes later and he had no idea who I was.

Is there a reasonable explanation for this? Should he be reported to someone? What should I do? At this point, I have no idea if the fridge is a goner or if it really could be fixed if I wanted to start over with a new repairman.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,285
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
OK I moved you to the repair forum and started a new thread for you. Is the machine working now?

What parts did he replace?
 

LR4444

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
3
Location
New Bern, NC
Thanks. It has been working in cycles of 8-10 days for more than a month. It is working now, but since it has failed since his repair and I had to turn it off again for 24 hours, I am assuming it will fail again. I am sadly not sure what parts he replaced. He gave me a receipt for the first visit, but not the second when he replaced the parts, and all I remembered was that they had to do with defrosting.
 

rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
44,285
Location
Murray, Utah 84107, United States
OK, It sounds like the machine has a defrost issue. When the coils frost over, it blocks the air flow to the fresh food section. There's only three components that make up the defrost system, the defrost heater, the defrost thermostat, and the control. By defrosting it for 24 hours you're just taking the place of the defrost system and enough of the frost melts to get some of the air flow back until it gets blocked with frost again. The guy knew this when he was there. A power outage can cause a spike in voltage when it comes back on and that usually takes out control boards and defrosting the machine doesn't fix anything. He knew that also. It also sounds like he doesn't know how to check anything if he's replacing parts two at a time and they don't work. This is actually an easy diagnosis and repair. Since we don't know what parts were replaced, here's what we need to do and what he should have done the first time:

Remove the evaporator cover (back wall inside the freezer section). If you have an ice maker installed you need to remove it (easy). When you take the cover off, the coils will probably packed with ice and frost and that would confirm a defrost problem. Locate the defrost thermostat. It's clipped to the evaporator and is about the size of a quarter stacked 10 high. Use a meter to check it for continuity while it's still covered in frost. It needs to be below 40°F to show continuity. Check the defrost heater for continuity. It doesn't need to be cold to check it. Put a couple towels inside and use a hair dryer to completely defrost all the frost and ice from the evaporator coils. Reinstall the cover over the evaporator or the machine won't cool properly. If the heater and thermostat check good, this is the part you need:
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