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FIXED TFX26PPDAWW Fridge side temperature does not go low, stays between 42-48F at full setting

GE-Frigde

Premium Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
7
Location
San Francisco
Model Number
TFX26PPDAWW
Brand
GE
Age
More than 10 years
Hi,
In this GE side by side fridge the temperature in fridge side is not getting cold enough. It stays between 42-48F. Freezer temperature goes down to -8F and has no issues with defrost system working. Here is the history of things so far.
1. Evaporator motor went bad and was replaced. It works fine now. Comes ON when compressor comes ON.
2. At same time noticed that frost was built on the coil all over uniformly and Thermostat was stuck open. So replaced that as well. The defrost heater is working when defrost timer is rotated to defrost setting. It runs for about 10 minutes and then thermostat kicks in and turn it off before 35 min defrost expires. The defrost timer is 16hrs runtime/35min defrost type. It appears that defrost cycle works normally.

After defrost cycle I could feel the air is coming through the damper window into the fridge. But after running for few hours the cold air subsides quite a bit and fridge does not go below 42F at full fridge temperature setting. The evap fan is running during this time. The damper window stays wide open during this time as well. The problem appears to be bit tricky. Any thoughts on possible issue will be a greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
2,345
Location
Canada
GE-Frigde said:
After defrost cycle I could feel the air is coming through the damper window into the fridge. But after running for few hours the cold air subsides quite a bit and fridge does not go below 42F at full fridge temperature setting
Is the compressor still running? It should run whenever the fans are.

What is the frost pattern on the evaporator coil like at that time? (A picture if possible)

While you're in there, make sure the defrost heater isn't warm.

Dan O,
 

GE-Frigde

Premium Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
7
Location
San Francisco
Thanks for your response Dan.

Is the compressor still running? It should run whenever the fans are.
Yes, it runs with fan. Warm and humming. I am getting -8F in freezer.

What is the frost pattern on the evaporator coil like at that time? (A picture if possible)
The fridge is buttoned up right now so do not have picture to share at this time but frost is very minimal just barely enough to cover the evaporator after running for more than 24hrs. It goes away completely when defrost runs.

While you're in there, make sure the defrost heater isn't warm.
Good point. Need to check this when I open it. In general the heater goes red hot and I can see light from under the panel that heater is ON and I also saw it running when front cover was off while testing it by putting defrost timer in defrost setting. After thermostat opens the light under the panel goes away. Checked the defrost timer separately with multimeter and its contacts seems to be working normally. Ordered the defrost timer to see if this is flaky somehow.

My current guess is the evaporator fan is not fast enough. I measured RPM and it is showing 2100RPM for 3000RPM fan with top cover removed. This is brand new aftermarket fan. So not sure if this is normal with fan blade mounted and fan intake being enclosed in the freezer cover choking intake draft on the fan. I also experimented with another shaded pole exhaust fan motor with 3000RPM labeled on it with no fan on it and it read 3300RPM but when fan was added it dropped to 2250RPM. So the fan speed number will vary when installed in a given application it seems.

Next I opened the bottom crisper vent ( feeding air from freezer to fridge) to about middle setting and got the temperature down to 39F overnight. After that I blocked some area around evap fan that feeds air back into the freezer by some foam. The temperature in fridge fell down to 37F now. Freezer went up from 0F to 1.7F during this time with temp set to setting 7. So I can jack that up to hit desired 0F.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
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Joined
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Messages
2,345
Location
Canada
The evaporator motor speed sounds too slow however if it was the problem it shouldn't allow proper cooling ever. The fan motor's speed probably won't change with use.

If the freezer is cold enough and the damper is totally open, the fridge compartment should be able to achieve proper temperature. The only thing that should prevent it is lack of air flow.

There should be a duct in the lower part of the freezer wall that allows return air back into the freezer compartment. If it was blocked air would not circulate through the fridge compartment properly.

GE-Frigde said:
After that I blocked some area around evap fan that feeds air back into the freezer by some foam. The temperature in fridge fell down to 37F now.
Did you remove any foam around the evaporator during the previous service? There are often pieces of foam used to direct air flow across the evaporator properly. If any were removed, air flow could be affected.

I'm afraid there's not a lot else I can suggest without seeing it myself.

Good luck!

Dan O.
 

GE-Frigde

Premium Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
7
Location
San Francisco
Thanks Dan.

Did you remove any foam around the evaporator during the previous service?
Not that I recall. I placed the foam back. There were two pieces on each side of the fan housing.

It makes sense that the issue is with airflow. When I open the freezer door the airflow through damper window increases quite a bit on fridge side. So there is some kind of block on intake of the fan. The air return orifice on lower side of fridge that let air move back from fridge to freezer is not blocked but I do not see air intake happening there. Used the flame to see air motion on intake. This seems to be blocked. But when I push air with hair dryer from this orifice into freezer the air pushes out of fridge damper window. So maybe this path is partially blocked. I will open the freezer evap cover and look for the blockage. Thanks again.
 

GE-Frigde

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Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
7
Location
San Francisco
Hi Dan,
So finally got around and got the fridge open to see any obstruction in evap air intake. But could not find any. Looking at the coils up close now it seems there is slightly more ice on the bottom side vs the top side ( fridge running for 48hrs) . Looking at the posts it seems this is related to sealed system problem. Do you think this is enough frost to call this a sealed system leak? The intake from fridge side is at bottom right of the evap as marked. So any build up on evap on bottom side will choke the air intake and this make sense as after defrost the air inside fridge through the damper incereases but later die down. But again in this case I could slide my fingers between the evap fins and do not see air path getting obstructed going to evap fan.
 

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Dan O.

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The frosting on the evaporator looks fine. I doubt it has anything to do with the refrigeration system unless it totally stops cooling at some point.

GE-Frigde said:
any build up on evap on bottom side will choke the air intake
Was the picture taken when the temperature problem was occurring at that time?

If it was operating normally when you opened it up, it may have to be put back together and opened up when the problem is actually occurring and before any defrosting.

The defrost water drain beneath the evaporator can become plugged leading to an ice build up at the bottom. Such a buildup could restrict the air flow.

I don't know what else could hamper air flow to the fridge section.

Dan O.
 

GE-Frigde

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Dec 27, 2019
Messages
7
Location
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Thanks.
Was the picture taken when the temperature problem was occurring at that time?
Yes, the picture was taken when no air was coming through damper with damper fully open and compressor running with temp above 40F.

Checked the drain all the way back and it is open as well as water is coming out of it.

Again, thanks for your help. I will keep looking and see if I learn something new.
 

GE-Frigde

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Joined
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Messages
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Hi Dan - Just repeated the same experiment and was expecting different result :). Basically to get a a visual of the phenomena I saw earlier.

1. The refrigerator ran for about 24 hrs and the temperature stuck at 42F in the fridge with the compressor and evap running. The picture below now shows the status of the air from damper window during this time. Showing that no air is coming through in the fridge section.

1.JPG


2. At the same time the following shot shows the return orifice from fridge to freezer from which the air is blowing out instead of going in. This is a new observation in this experiment. This indicates the evap fan blowing backwards but that is not the case as you will see in the following shots. The fan is rotating in anticlockwise direction.

2.JPG


3. Right after taking these pictures I put the defrost timer in defrost mode and let the defrost heater come on. The defrost heater ran for about 10 minutes. After this I turned the defrost timer to run the compressor/evap fan. Picture below shows that air is blowing on the flame quite hard indicating air is coming out from damper as expected.

3.JPG


4. Below is the inlet orifice picture at this time. The evap fan is pulling in air as expected.

4.JPG


Conclusion: This experiment kind of indicates that when evaporator is bit frozen ( picture shared in earlier post was taken in similar circumstances as this behavious was noticed at that time as well and is relevant to this discussion as well) the airflow goes haywire. Then everything goes normal right after the defrost cycle. Kind of getting hard to ingnore the fact that the little frost buildup on evaporator is blocking the air. Changed the defrost timer as well yesterday. So this test is with a new defrost timer basically with no change in airflow scenario.
 

Dan O.

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Messages
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I can't explain the different air flow direction. In the first set of pictures, I don't see how air could be coming out of the return air duct without an equal amount of air going back into the freezer compartment from somewhere.

(You can see in the second set of photos, an equal amount of air is moving in each direction.)

I have no idea how so little frost accumulation could affect the air flow at all. I myself can't see how it could be the cause.

Sorry but I have no other ideas.
 
Last edited:

GE-Frigde

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
7
Location
San Francisco
I can't explain the different air flow direction. In the first set of pictures, I don't see how air could be coming out of the return air duct without an equal amount of air going back into the freezer compartment from somewhere.
It seems the air was going back from crisper vent in this case. Not sure though why. I noticed this after the fact.

In meantime I have noticed that the fridge is holding the temperature down to 34F now. Not sure what really worked. But last thing that was swapped out was defrost timer. Which was working but since I ordered it I decided to swap it out as maintenance as the original was as old as the fridge.

Thanks for you support in the matter.
 
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