Jenn Air Fridge Problems

rima_waAugust 18, 2014

About 18 months ago I posted here with problems with our fridge and got a very helpful response that fixed things. We replaced some kind of relay switch if I recall correctly. I have searched for that thread and it is apparently long gone.

We are having problems again. For about the past month, there has been a sort of whooshing noise that we thought was the ice maker. That noise is intermittent, just when you get tired of waiting for it to do it again it does it. ;-) It also has been taking a very long time to make ice. We were ready to replace the ice maker.

But now the ice cream is soft, bready items are soft, the ice is wet. I put my fridge thermometer in the freezer and it's hovering around 20F. Not good. Luckily I have another freezer downstairs and have emptied this one out.

The refrigerator compartment seems to be working fine, and is actually running a bit cold (I suspect because we have had the freezer at the coldest setting for several days to see if that made a difference.)

It is an 11 year old bottom freezer, cabinet depth model # JCB2059GES.

Any ideas what might be wrong with it? We are highly motivated to fix it again rather than replace it.


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I need to add on that now the fridge is now warm too, just since this afternoon. A couple of days ago it was freezing my produce. Now I put the thermometer back in there and it is warm.

When I set them on the coldest, the condenser does not kick in, but the fan is blowing. Seems like that was what was happening last year but I can't remember for sure.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:44PM
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Debbi Branka

When my GE fridge started doing this, I bought a new fridge.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:31AM
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My KA had a similar problem recently and it was just a relay - but the repairman told me that if it was the compressor/sealed system he wouldn't be able to repair it and I'd have to get KA to fix it or else get a new fridge.

By the way, try using to google to search for your old thread.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Here's is the link to the thread you were looking for.

(Click the "helpful Link" at the end of my post).


Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Jenn-air fridge problem.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Could be a defrost problem. Frosting accumulates on the cooling coil, which impedes airflow and causes a temperature rise in both compartments.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Thanks for replies. As I mentioned, we're very motivated to keep this thing running and plan to fix it if we can figure out what's wrong. $3K for a new one is not in the plan right now, plus we like the unit in general.

Gary, you are the one who was so helpful last year. Thank you again.

So, dadoes, with the possibility that it's a defrost issue, we turned it all off for the night. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that if you let it all defrost then turn it back on, things should work again. At least for a short while. Then I guess if it does work for a stretch, we'd know to replace the defroster if it stops working again in a relatively short time.

Is this correct? Any other options we should look at and how would we diagnose them?

Open to any other suggestions. We're not thinking it's that relay this time because of how slowly this has come on. The relay problem went very quickly - all the ice was melted quickly.

The freezer is still holding at cold enough temps that the ice is not melting - it's been in the 20's. The frig was at about 50 before we switched it off. DH says when he turned the freezer all the way up, the compressor did eventually kick in, like 5 or so minutes later.

We'll see how things go in the morning when we turn it back on. DH is home all day tomorrow so he'll be able track it, and may have some time to fiddle with it...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Yes, if defrosting is the problem and If overnight is enough time for majority of the frost accumulation to melt off the evaporator coil then it should work OK until frost accumulates to impede the airflow again. The evaporator is in the freezer section which you say had last been at 20ðF ... the temp in there must rise above freezing long enough for the frost to substantially melt.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:41AM
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My JA did much the same as yours, although it was taking more like "Wild Swings" in the freezer compartment. It would get as high as 20 F, but then it might get pretty close to "0F" again.

At first I thought that the auto defrost was "stuck on" all the time as there was no ice buildup in the freezer compartment nor on the evaporator which is in the top of the freezer compartment, but that turned out NOT to be the problem.

The problem turned out to be a "Partial plug" in the sealed system.
I called one of 3 service companies that Jenn-air recommended.
(The other two companies had HORRIFFIC Reviews)~~~~~so be sure to check out any service company you may be considering, (assuming it is not a DIY) this time.

The guy was great, that came, He diagnosed the problem "Immediately",
(I had been studying schematics and running diagnostic tests on it for weeks)!!!!!!
He opened the sealed system, found a little piece of copper in it, installed a new dryer, and recharged the system, all for well under $500!

If you do not hear a lot of clicking, then it is most likely not the relay, this time. It could be the thermostat, alto the wooshing noise "Might indicate" a problem with the sealed system, could be a low charge or air in the sealed system, which will "Freeze" in the lines of the sealed system, and make the compressor "work harder" trying to pump the Freon through the ice jam. A competent servicer with the proper gauges should be able to determine the condition of charge of the sealed system.

Try turning the thermostat all the way up and down a few times, then set it at it's lowest setting and later check the freezer temp, if it has come down from 20F then it may just be the thermostat and there are, as you know, internet sales sites that carry the thermostat and even videos on UTube on how to change it.

Good luck with it, and probably the best advice I gave here, is to THOROUGHLY Check out any service company you are considering, ~~~Use Angies list, Yelp, "Yellow pages" on the net, etc~~~Don't take JA's word on their recommendations~~~Obviously JA is not checking out the service companies that they recommend!!!!!!

Thinking more on that "Wooshing sound", several things comes to mind.
First as Dadoes said, it could be a defrost problem, and the sound you hear is the evaporator fan being blocked by an "ice Dam", but I would also check the fan for the condenser coils, (those are the coils you are supposed to clean)~~~usually they are somewhere close to the compressor. Listen in that area, also you should feel air running through the condenser coils.


This post was edited by dodge59 on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 7:20

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:13AM
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I just watched a video on You Tube on how to clean the coils when they are under the fridge. Never done it. I cleaned the front as far as I could reach in with my vacuum and have to wait now til my husband gets out of his meeting to do more. It clearly needs to be pulled out and tipped back.

Unit was off all last night. It's been warm in the house so any ice should have melted. Turned it on in the morning, compresser and fan kicked in, but only for a short time, not long enough to cool things down. The compressor did not stay on long enough to lower the temp in the fridge or the freezer.

I will clean the coils and see how much that helps. I can feel air running through there (fan is on), and it is coolish at the front of the fridge.

I'm going to start researching service companies tomorrow. I am off work so I should have time, though with the kids still out of school there are lots of distractions!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:52PM
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A clogged condensor can cause the compressor to overheat and shut off until it cools. Air blowing over the condensor disperses the heat that the refrigeration system absorbs from inside the compartments.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 5:40AM
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I vacuumed what I could reach of the coils and they were dusty, but the dust was fluffy and dry, not matted down as if it had ever been wet. I think if there had been a lot of ice on the coils that the dust would be matted from the moisture.

We've decided we just don't have the "bandwidth" to deal with this as a DIY right now. Things have been too busy lately and we have a houseguest. So, I have recommendations for several appliance repair people that friends have used and been happy with.
Thank you all for the advice. I will keep it in mind when the repair person meets with us. I'll also report back when all is done.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:26PM
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The coils that can get icy are the evaporator coils. They are inside the freezer and don't require cleaning.

It would be very unlikely for moisture to form on the condenser coils, much less ice, as the condenser coils carry the HOT Freon.

Make sure the repair guy puts his pressure gauges on the sealed system, BEFORE he tells you that you need a new compressor, ~~~~otherwise that guy is just "Yanking your Chain"~~~~~~or should I say "Purse"?


    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:51PM
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OK, finally had a repair guy here (delay was on our part not his). He said it's the sealed system that needs repair - apparently there is a leak. The fan is running, the compressor is running and the freezer is 80 degrees inside.

There is no independent repair guy locally who can do this work. Our repairman said to either replace the fridge, or call Whirlpool to do the sealed system repair.

His very rough estimate for the repair would be $600-900 and several weeks to get it done given the usual slow pace from service, but they'd warrantee their work.

To replace our fridge with a comparable version would be about $3K with our almost 10% sales tax.

We plan to be in our current house approximately one more year. We will replace the fridge rather than deal with the headaches around repairing it.

Now to find a replacement that will look nice but not break the bank.

This post was edited by rima_wa on Thu, Sep 4, 14 at 17:58

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Wow, I'm surprised by your decision. If you're only going to be in the house another year, the repair seems the obvious choice. It's cheaper, the work will be warranted (for how long?) and then you can move on leaving a working fridge for the next owner.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Well, we could end up changing our minds. However, the Whirlpool service here is supposedly not that great. It is run through Sears and the earliest appointment I can get is 2 weeks out. Assuming that they then have to order parts, I will be looking at another month without a fridge upstairs. We are crammed into a small secondary fridge in the basement and it is not working out very well.

We are going to try to find a fridge for under 2K. I don't care if it's "pro" looking as long as it's stainless and doesn't look bad with my other appliances. Lowe's has a frigidaire for about $1200 on sale right now - I am going to take a look at it tonight.

Not sure what the best answer is really. We have so much stuff to do on our house in the next 9 months that this is just an irritation that we need to take care of.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 7:44PM
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rima_wa, I have a 2013 JA so I've been following this thread.

For $2K you should be able to buy a good refrigerator. I will say that Frigidaire is one of my least favorites based on weeks with them in vacation homes as well as reviews. KitchenAid is far more reliable (although you say Whirlpool service is problematic) imo. Is there a Samsung servicer in your region?

Regarding the sealed system repair, check your fridge's warrenty and registration. That system is typically warrentied longer than other parts of a refrigerator. I reviewed my JA warrenty after reading your posts and it is; sorry can't recall now if it's 5 years orâ¦

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 10:07PM
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Hi - All warranties on our fridge expired 6 years ago.

I went to our local appliance store tonight to look around and ended up with a KA counter depth french door for $1639 on a floor model they had discounted. It might be delivered tomorrow if they can fit it in the schedule - it is at the store, not the warehouse. Worst case I will have it by Tuesday.

Works for me, and it "matches" my other appliances better than the Frigidaire. When I looked at them in the store, the Frigidaire stainless looked darker than the others. Its drawers also did not glide well at all.

Anyone know if the Jenn Air door bins will fit into the KA? (The JA is not a French door, but there are two sizes of bins in it.) I always wanted to replace the butter holder with a regular bin and will keep one back in case it will fit.

I appreciate all the help and opinions. Thank you all. Hopefully I am done with fridge questions til the next kitchen!

ETA: the smaller sized bin from my JA fit in the french door KA (my neighbor has one so I checked it), so I am keeping that one and will replace the butter keeper with that. It will look different as it has silver trim on it, but that's not a big deal to me.

This post was edited by rima_wa on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 18:10

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 10:49PM
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