Friday, November 8, 2013

Even I Can't Fix This :(

I have a Frigidaire 18 cubic foot refrigerator, with the freezer on top and white in color that came with my home. This afternoon, my wife called me from home as she was sick and I was out of town. Her issue was that the refrigerator was leaking some brown stuff after cleaning it several times underneath the cabinet. When I got home, after some relaxing the first order of business was to check this out. I got up underneath and sure enough, there was some brown oily looking stuff under the cabinet by the door frame. As I'm totally stuffed up, I couldn't smell it. A good spraying with glass cleaner and paper towels cleaned up the mess. I also removed the back and cleaned the condenser coils with a paint brush and a vacuum as well as flushing out the drain with a suction gun. The defrost timer was on and the food was fairly cold in the freezer, but so-so in the fresh food compartment. The temperature readings were 47 in the fresh food compartment and 28 in the freezer with the cold control all the way down. The ideal temps are 37 for the fridge and 0 for the freezer. Even my cheap Black and Decker dorm fridge is happily keeping this temp without complaint.

My son had already broken one of the crisper drawers; an innocent mistake of not shutting the drawer before closing the door. This is $70 to replace.  What was really disquieting was the fridge was made in 2007 and in otherwise good shape. Since there is no way to check the charge on a domestic refrigerator without installing line taps (Been there done that in the 1980's) I went ahead and cut to the chase.

Breaking out the refrigerant and gas detector, I found a leaks in almost every visible and a couple of not so visible joints in the system.  I have some low temperature brazing rod, as well as a set of gauges and R134a to get this running again. However I have no line taps or fittings and have had limited success with fixing such a late model appliance. The copper appears so thin that too much heat with a MAPP gas torch could wreck it. This says nothing about using an acetylene one, which with silver solder would surely be tricky to get done right. A couple joints are also behind the door frame and these are not happening either and though I have the torch set, I turned in the full Oxygen and Acetylene tanks as well as the silver solder when I left Aire Serv in August. Getting the supplies to fix these would run me about $75 if the supply houses are still willing to sell to me. So fixing this is practically out of the question.
So why not a new fridge? At $500 for the cheapest ones, this isn't happening either. A used one from an appliance store is close to $300 delivered. At this point in time, credit is not happening either. Going to find a (hopefully) used one tomorrow. Maranatha!

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