Is old fridge going to survive reno? Do I need an extinguisher?

MizLizzieMay 7, 2013

So, we are down to the studs in our kitchen reno. Our contractor moved our old side-by-side into the dining room for our temp kitchen. Now it won't stop running. The front edge of the panel separating fridge from freezer is warm and the inner edges of the door, when opened, are pretty hot to the touch. I can't see as they guys did anything wrong, though they did remove the doors to fit it into the dining room. The thing is an ancient piece of junk.

I have to travel this weekend. I hate to leave it running like that. Is it safe? Should I shut it off and buy an Igloo cooler? I did turn it down to as low as it would go and still keep food. It stopped running for about 20 minutes. Back on now for over 24 hours straight.

Thanks if anyone can give technical advice.

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Buy your new refrigerator for the new kitchen now and give that old one the decent burial that it deserves. If you have to travel, unplug and put your essentials with the neighbor.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Hot to the touch? Ancient piece of junk SxS? Like maybe from the early 80s or older?

Sounds like the electric heater is stuck on. My admittedly vague recollection of SxS fridges from that era is that some of them had a swtich for the auto-defrost cycle and sometimes they had a switch or button for a moisture/condensation control. If you have one of those and can turn of the switch, do so. That may take care of the hot door frames. May take a couple of hours for the fridge to settle back down.

If you have a not-quite-so-old fridge, you might want to try to vaccuum the condensor coils and condensor cooling fan (in the rear of the fridge, usually behind a metal or fiberboard panel that is held on with screws.) . Also, check to see if the condensor cooling fan is running.

Turning the settings all the way down got it to stop running for 20 minutes? What happens if you turn the dials/sliders up towards off? If you've had it all the way down and move the controls back up, it should stop running several stops before off.

None of the above helps? I'm with GreedDesigns, then. Time to shut it off, stash stuff in the cooler (or witha neighbor), and look for a new unit ASAP. I wouldn't leave it running hot.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Tue, May 7, 13 at 18:28

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:25PM
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And check with your local electric company - ours will pick up the old one and give you a check for $40 to get a more energy efficient fridge!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:52PM
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If the door edge heater wiring is behind the door gasket, it can be easily accessed by pulling up the gasket. It can be turned off by cutting a power lead. (Unplug the unit first.) I did this years ago to a GE model. The cost, not relevant in your case, would be long term mold build up if the gasket isn't kept clean.

Moving the unit may have damaged a thermostat that controls the edge heating.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:48AM
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All of you are correct, I think! LOL. After reading all this, I called my appliance dealer and he said almost verbatim what JWV thinks. Auto defrost is stuck. Probably not worth fixing since the fridge is from 1996.

Anyhoo, good news from him -- my new Elux HAS come in. They are just going to deliver it tomorrow and plug it in temporarily until the cabinetry is installed and it can slide into its permanent new home. They are going to very kindly hold the Elux oven and drawer until we are ready.

Thanks, all. I thought these warm doors could not be right. I really need to visit Mom this weekend, and now won't have to worry about leaving the cats alone with a flaming piece of junk.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:29PM
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The haven't done electric heating around the refrigerator frame for years. They now use a condenser tube in the frame.
Since the problem started after the appliance was moved I suspect that the condenser fan motor has jamed. You can check this by pulling off the rear compressor compartment cover and looking at the fan blades back there. If the fan is stalled it lets more than the normal amount of heat to go trough the tubes since the condenser has no air flow.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:30PM
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You will love that new elux fridge. Exciting.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Your refrig situation reminds me of many refrig stories I've heard all my long life: "Old refrigerator ran perfectly for thirty, forty, one hundred years until it was unplugged and moved across the room." Congrats on your new fridge. Enjoy.

This post was edited by Cavimum on Thu, May 9, 13 at 9:07

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Thanks, all! I am excited. It should have been here 15 whole minutes ago!! Cavimum, you made me laugh. I have heard that story about 10 times since starting this reno. It MUST be more than an urban legend.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 2:17PM
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