Sorry for the 'rant'. More substance here. Noisy fridge.

svejkovatFebruary 11, 2013

My fridge is almost 20 years old. It's a very basic Gibson. Don't know where it's from but mom used to work at Kmart (she recently passed) so it's probably from there.

It's in mint condition all around and performs very well. Cleaner than showroom and compressor seems to run infrequently, and temp is always perfect. The only issue is noise. The condenser coils behind the back panel in the top freezer section sound like bubbles are being squeezed through them.

It had been worse. I took the panel off to observe and found four aluminum clips had worked quite loose on the coils and the bubbling inside (if that's what it is) generated some micro movement, rubbing and and squeaking the alum fins and sounding unnervingly like a trapped baby rodent moaning and chirping in horrific pain, or the Exorcist played at double speed. Creepy anyway. Everyone who came over said the same thing.

I replaced the clips with heavy black nylon zip ties and exorcised the haunting, thank god, but the coils still sound like they're passing bubbles through some small orifice...like squeezing them through. When it's running, and for about five to ten minutes after the compressor stops, the fridge sounds like a very loud aquarium bubbler.

Is that anything I can remedy? Is it possible to purge air built up in the compressor or lines without risking loss of any precious bodily fluids?

A couple of HVAC forums gloweringly warn registrants that
"Do-it-yourselfers and Homeowners are encouraged to seek information elsewhere. Those involved in the HVAC industry are urged to register."

Anybody find that to be strictly adhered to?

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mike_home

The refrigerant system would need to have a leak in order for air to enter. If there was a leak the refrigerator would not be operate as well as you say.

Some noises are normal. If the sounds are getting louder than it could be a sign the compressor is developing a problem. There is not much a homeowner can do.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:39PM
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svejkovat

I opened the back panel of the inside of the freezer and took a stethoscope to various points and the noise is definitely coming from the junction of the "expansion device" or valve where the capillary tube is joined to the larger evaporator tube.

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy303/svejkovat/Annotatedexpansion_zpsaa11154d.jpg

Can that get clogged somehow? Why would I have bubbling and gurgling right at that point? What does this look like inside? Is it simply a junction of tiny capillary to larger tube or are there parts inside?

I don't understand how something as simple as a venturi in a sealed system could suddenly act up unless it got clogged.

If there are no delicate parts inside I'll warm it up a bit with a hot air gun and rap on it a bit to loosen up a clog. Maybe I'll get lucky.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:17PM
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kalining

reread mike home's post. If your system is cooling properly leave it alone. To repair your problemn is worth
more than the fridge. A home owner is not likely to fix this or have the tools. It's not worth it. I'm pretty sure i know what your problem is but it's not worth fixing. I have
a fridge that does the same thing. It's really loud. Same age. actually older.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:45PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

There's an easy solution to your problem. It's 20 years old, time to get a new one.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:03PM
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kalining

snidely says it best. Take the advice.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:20PM
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cindywhitall

a new one will be much more energy efficient (I would assume). AND if you get it BEFORE yours dies you won't lose all your food. AND it will probably look nicer. Check your state for rebates for energy efficient appliances.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:19PM
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svejkovat

Well, I'm having a new furnace and water heater installed and not quite ready for a new fridge, especially since... hooray... it appears that I've solved it. ...unless something goes seriously awry in the nest few days. But it's been two days now of utter silence except for the hum of the compressor.

I followed the hunch and heated up the lower half of the expansion tube exactly where the stethoscope indicated the bubbling/gurgling (loud enough to hear in the entire house). I shielded the plastic with alum foil then got the expansion tube quite hot (these things are brazed not soldered... right?) but not nearly hot enough to loosen solder in either case, and then rapped on it a dozen sharp whacks using a two foot long 1/2 copper tube using it like a pool cue.

I had a couple of heavy bath towels on hand in case of disaster if the tubing cracked or separated, then my options would be pretty clear and I live two miles from Menards and Home Depot. Spoiled food? It's Feb in Michigan. I've already got the food out in the 1.5 acres of refrigerator within my fenceline. (i only needed a cardboard box next to the front door.)

What a relief. I've see photos of evaporator coils online with this expansion tube upside down, the tiny end entering from the top. I wonder if that is a better design since any flakes or gumminess or or other can't fall back and nestle into the small side.

At least I won't be adding to a landfill for a couple more years.
Sorry this is in the wrong section. Apparantly there is a refrigerator section. I missed it.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:21AM
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brickeyee

Refrigerators almost never have access ports installed.
The tubing is bent over and crimped after filling.

It would cost more than it is worth, and possibly the cost of a new refrigerator to install access ports.

Let it die.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:49AM
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weedmeister

the expansion 'valve' is not just a simple venturi. They have some 'stuff' in them. You might find pictures if you look around the web, though you might want to search for automotive AC expansion valves.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:46PM
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brickeyee

"the expansion 'valve' is not just a simple venturi."

Not even that fancy.

Just an orifice (a hole).

A 20 year old refrigerator is very unlikely to have a TXV (Thermostatic Expansion Valve).

Newer equipment uses TXVs and Yodder loops to gain some enerfy efficiency.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 11:04

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:33PM
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