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Old 06-25-2011, 06:54 AM   #1
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


I recently bought a condo that came with all of the appliances. The condo association has a warranty program covering those appliances. They will repair the appliance if possible but if it is beyond repair, they will not replace it... that is up to the owner.

The refrigerator is a GE 18 cu ft. top-freezer style. My understanding is that it is the original one that came with the condo when it was built so that would make it 15 years old, and probably the cheapest one offered by the builder.

It has slowly developed a problem with keeping proper temperature and even after turning the controls for both the freezer and fridge to their coldest setting, the fridge will not go below about 43 degrees and the freezer will not go below about 12 degrees.

At one point, I noticed ice build-up on the back wall of the inside of the freezer. I knocked that off.

I cleaned the coils underneath and then inspected the gaskets. The bottom part of the freezer gasket and the top part of the fridge gasket had a lot of what looked like mold. So I attempted to wipe it clean and in doing so, noticed that the fridge gasket had holes in it.

So I called the condo warranty people to come out and look at it.

The gaskets would have been covered under warranty and the repair man was about to write an order for them, however, once I mentioned the temperature and ice build-up problem, he inspected the fridge a little further. He took the panel off of the back wall of the inside of the freezer and declared the fridge as failing and "unrepairable".

He showed me that there was ice build-up on part of the cooling elements. He said the fact that it is only on part of one half of the elements indicates a failure and that it will only get worse until it dies completely.

I pay for this warranty and don't want to have to pay someone else to get a second opinion. But now it looks like my only alternative is to either do that or buy a whole new fridge.

Does this sound "unrepairable" to you all?

If not, what can I do?

And finally, any thoughts on where I can research reliable, economical (less than $700 replacements). My local stores have Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Haier, and Kenmore but I have no idea what brand is good these days.

Any help greatly appreciated!

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Old 06-25-2011, 08:14 AM   #2
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


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Originally Posted by Old Lady View Post

He showed me that there was ice build-up on part of the cooling elements. He said the fact that it is only on part of one half of the elements indicates a failure and that it will only get worse until it dies completely.


Any help greatly appreciated!
I assume when you say cooling elements you are refering to the evaporator coil on the back wall of your freezer? If that is the case then yes your repairman is correct, you should have NO ice on that coil . What you should have is a small amount of frost on the entire coil from top to bottom, if that coil is only partially frosted as you indicate that would mean your system is low on refrigerant. If it is low on refrigerant, that would mean you have a leak in the system somewhere. That leak would have to be repaired before it can be recharged, all this equal big bucks.

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Old 06-25-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


Check with your local utility to see if they offer a rebate on old appliances. Depending on your budget, check everything from local ma & pop appliance shops, to craiglist. Some people have been able to find practically brand new appliances through craiglist, auctions, etc, without spending as much as they would at a retail store.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


Thank you hardwareman and gregzoll for your replies.

Yes, it must be the evaporator coil then... I identified it wrong. There was little to no frost on it at all... just a section of the bottom half was caked with ice. He wrote on the service receipt "Seal system failure... unrepairable".

So I guess it's a new fridge/freezer for me. I checked Lowes, Sears, and HHGregg yesterday. There are a lot of makes and a ton of models. I appreciate your suggestion, gregzoll, but I'm not one to deal with people on craigslist and the like. I know I could probably save money but for me, it's not worth the risk. The stores I mentioned will all deliver free, set it up, and take away the old one. That in itself is worth quite a bit to me.

Any brands I should stay away from? Had I been forced to buy one yesterday when I was at the store, I think I would have gotten a Frigidaire. I'm going to search around on the internet a little tonight.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


Is there an evaporator fan concealed under one of the panels in the freezer compartmrnt and is it working?
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


There was a fan behind the back panel along with the evaporator coil. It was located just above the coil and it was running. Is that the one you are referring to? I don't think there are any panels in the floor of the freezer compartment.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


We have a 2001 Whirlpool, and have had no problems with it. Only draw back is, once every couple of months, we have to use a air compressor set on low volume of air to blow all of the dust off of the coils underneath, due to the design that they are shaped as two open bottom triangles. Otherwise, it has worked great with no problems for ten years.

When you go shopping, do not just look at price, look at how easy it is to clean the coils, and how sturdy it will handle heavy items on the shelves. Check out http://www.cpsc.gov/cgi-bin/prod.aspx for any recalls of the appliance, and also how much are you willing to spend, depending on how long you plan on having it before moving. Most people just go buy because of need, but in all reality, it probably takes about an hour or so to find the best for your money. Also make sure that the store you are going to may price match. Lowe's, Home Depot, and Sears are pretty good with that. Lowe's can usually deliver same day, and if you go early enough, they could probably deliver within a couple of hours after buying.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:20 PM   #8
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


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There was a fan behind the back panel along with the evaporator coil. It was located just above the coil and it was running. Is that the one you are referring to? I don't think there are any panels in the floor of the freezer compartment.
Yeah I think so. I have a fridge that is probably fifty years old and about eight years ago it quit cooling properly. Still cooled but not up to par. I nosed around before I was going to trash the thing and found that little fan wasn't working. It was just dirty and nasty. I cleaned it and the thing started working again. Still using it in the garage today for beer and watermelon and fish bait.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:12 PM   #9
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


Okay, I have a new Frigidaire refrigerator being delivered on Thursday. It started off to be kind of fun looking at potential replacements but after going to Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears, they all started to blend in together and look the same. It wasn't so fun after looking at 40-50 refrigerators. I ended up buying from Lowes.

The salesman said that the delivery guys will not mess with copper so I had to buy a flex-steel tube for the ice maker because my old fridge has a hunk of copper tubing back there.

I understand copper is kind of valuable these days. Anyone know how much a 6' piece of copper tubing is worth? I figure I can sell it to someone.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:08 AM   #10
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Fridge Diagnosed as "Unrepairable"


About $3.20 a pound at local scrap yard.

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