Dying appliances: When we don't notice

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OVERKILL

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A somewhat comedic but expensive lesson in progressive failure happened on Friday (though was not really noticed until Saturday). We were all together watching movies for a number of hours and when I went to do "lights out" after sending the kids to bed I discovered the fridge wide-open. My middle child apparently went in it for something and didn't close it smirk I closed it and thought nothing further until I heard my wife talking about something being bad in the fridge Saturday morning. I came downstairs and sure enough the fridge was pretty bloody warm and the freezer was, while cold, above freezing. Great. The compressor was running constantly and so I fired up the old deep freeze that came with the house that we never bothered to get rid of and transplanted everything from the fridge into my beer fridge. So the next step was of course fridge shopping. My wife loves KitchenAid for whatever reason, so despite the Maytag twin being $100 less, we ended up with a stainless KitchenAid with the bottom roll-out freezer. They delivered it, took the old one away, we waited about an hour until it was sufficiently cool and then transplanted everything back. Later that evening when I did my rounds I came into the kitchen and it was eerily quiet. The fridge wasn't running. Interesting. Woke up this AM, went into the kitchen, same thing, the fridge was not running. It was at that point I realized how far gone the old girl had really been. The compressor on it was running far more often than it wasn't. Near the end it was probably running close to 24/7. My son's absent mindedness really just chimed the final death knell for it, but it was already on the porch, just hadn't taken the time to walk through the door. It had gotten to that point so slowly that I hadn't noticed. I'm expecting this is going to have a pretty noticeable effect on my hydro bill as well, as I'm sure there's been a not-so-insignificant cost associated with that old girl running full-bore almost all of the time.
 
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Did you do any diagnostics on the old fridge to determine which system component was responsible for insufficient cooling? Sometimes the evaporator coils get frosted over slowly because the defrost system is overloaded for various reasons (excess moisture, bad seals,over loaded, blocked vents,etc.). Simply defrosting those coils returns the unit to proper functioning. I've had lots of success following diy diagnostic sites such as this: http://applianceassistant.com/Refrigerator-Repair/Troubleshooting-Refrigerator-Problems.php On the other hand, sometimes a new unit is the only answer. Enjoy your new fridge! I've never had something break down because warning signs were neglected liar
 
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My fridge was exhibiting similar actions a few years ago. I tore it open and discovered the defrost temperature sensor was bad and wasn't allowing the defrost heater to run long enough to get the frost off the evaporator coils which wasn't allowing enough air to flow through the coils causing it to warm up inside. $10 later and about an hour of work I had it fixed and it still is working great to this day.
 

OVERKILL

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The fridge was a freebie we got from my old German buddy about 12 years ago. It was old when we got it, even older now. It didn't owe anybody anything and replacement was probably the wisest move IMHO.
 
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I had a fridge that had a fan that died every year. It was uncanny how regular it was. The fan was cheap and took a few minutes to replace. They eventually updated the fan with one that didn't fail. It's worth diagnosing appliances, in general they're not super complicated. "They" just fixed my washing machine, finally. They've been trying since the end of October. I swear they replaced everything in it. FINALLY, they replaced the wiring harness and that seems to have done it. At no point did anyone attempt to actually diagnose the problem. They looked at the code, swapped a part. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Kind of sad. robert
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted By: robertcope
I had a fridge that had a fan that died every year. It was uncanny how regular it was. The fan was cheap and took a few minutes to replace. They eventually updated the fan with one that didn't fail. It's worth diagnosing appliances, in general they're not super complicated. "They" just fixed my washing machine, finally. They've been trying since the end of October. I swear they replaced everything in it. FINALLY, they replaced the wiring harness and that seems to have done it. At no point did anyone attempt to actually diagnose the problem. They looked at the code, swapped a part. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Kind of sad. robert
Generally I would agree. I went to great lengths to troubleshoot the failure of my Bosch washer, which ended up being the lower motor control board assembly and subsequently replacing the washer was actually pretty close to the same price smirk In the case of this fridge, the thing was so old, and my wife has been after me to get us a replacement for just over a year now that I don't think fixing it would have gone over well with her even if it was relatively inexpensive.
 
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High end appliances are like german cars IME.....terribly expensive once out of warranty ;-/ On our DW *Miele*, one part went bad and I debated between the part swap (if that did not do it, it was another part downstream). Decided to replace it with another Miele though .. On the Wolf Stove, to service the usual components that go bad, you need to remove the enamel top. To remove the top, you ultimately end up breaking the gaskets/seal. Hot damm, but they don't sell them piecemeal so it's 1 *kit* per burner. Just rebuilt ours recently. Figuered since I was spending X amount on gaskets, I went all in and replaced all the spark ignitors, electrode, etc.
 
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Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
In the case of this fridge, the thing was so old, and my wife has been after me to get us a replacement for just over a year now that I don't think fixing it would have gone over well with her even if it was relatively inexpensive.
Apparently none of these guys are married. When the wife wants a new fridge, you get a new fridge. Even if there's nothing wrong with the old one.
 

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I'm amused by the discussion here, compared with the discussion about "how come people throw away perfectly good yard equipment" (that only needs an hour of skilled service). The original poster probably had an easily fixed problem. Perhaps even just a problem that a few hours of defrosting would take care of. A few days from now someone will be thinking "why did someone get rid of a refrigerator that works perfectly?"
 
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Originally Posted By: Jarlaxle
When I moved, I bought a new fridge. I left it in my house, and took the 20+ year old Kenmore with me!
lol!
 
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Originally Posted By: djb
The original poster probably had an easily fixed problem. Perhaps even just a problem that a few hours of defrosting would take care of. A few days from now someone will be thinking "why did someone get rid of a refrigerator that works perfectly?"
The power, er, hydro bill! A better analogy would be why did someone trade a perfectly good Ramcharger slobber on a Kia rio for their 65 mile commute? Some people throw away fridges because they redecorate their kitchens and get all new matching dishwasher/ microwave/ fridge/ ovens.
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted By: djb
I'm amused by the discussion here, compared with the discussion about "how come people throw away perfectly good yard equipment" (that only needs an hour of skilled service). The original poster probably had an easily fixed problem. Perhaps even just a problem that a few hours of defrosting would take care of. A few days from now someone will be thinking "why did someone get rid of a refrigerator that works perfectly?"
Perhaps of significance, we pay the highest hydro rates in North America. We've been looking at replacing the fridge for a while now (it was from the 70's or 80's) so basically we just had our hand gently forced to move forward with the replacement sooner than later. The point of the OP wasn't to question the logic of the replacement; it was going to happen anyway. But rather how the old girl had slowly been running the compressor longer and longer and it was so progressive I never even noticed it until it was gone. The failure had been coming for a while, but it was so slow I managed to not see it.
 

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Originally Posted By: djb
I'm amused by the discussion here, compared with the discussion about "how come people throw away perfectly good yard equipment" (that only needs an hour of skilled service). The original poster probably had an easily fixed problem. Perhaps even just a problem that a few hours of defrosting would take care of. A few days from now someone will be thinking "why did someone get rid of a refrigerator that works perfectly?"
Could be, but I suspect the urgency and cost are different. Dont mow your grass, or better, dont weedwack your edges for a few weeks and more or less nobody will know any different. Go a week or two without a fridge, or even with the deep freezer/beer fridge arrangement mentioned, and its a mess. Beyond that, feel scared/overwhelmed with a loud, dangerous piece of yard equipment, and its $100 for a featherlite weedwacker at walmart, or $229 for a toro lawnmower. Need a new fridge? Its like $1000 or more for any good one with any features. Walk around HD or Lowes... Plenty for over $2k or higher. People want their food. Look at the run on the supermarket before a big snowstorm to have milk, eggs and bread!
 
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It's always been my understanding that sealed systems, like refrigerators, still lose tiny amounts of refrigerant to leakage. After some amount of time they either have to have saddle valves installed to top them off, or you end up having them run more and more to hold temperature. I do believe my 25 year old fridge runs more frequently than a new one would. I have also heard and read that the payback period for a new unit would be reasonably short due to how much more energy efficient they are now. I am just reluctant because anecdotal evidence suggests that current refrigerators are more trouble prone than old ones. Of course, that could just be because my anecdotes relate to very high end units. Believe it or not, the more expensive models seem to have more issues.
 
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Originally Posted By: DBMaster
It's always been my understanding that sealed systems, like refrigerators, still lose tiny amounts of refrigerant to leakage. After some amount of time they either have to have saddle valves installed to top them off, or you end up having them run more and more to hold temperature.
No, not unless there is a leak. Refrigerants do not permeate through copper and steel in a sealed system, and there are no barrier hoses in a refrigerator.
 
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Originally Posted By: kschachn
Originally Posted By: DBMaster
It's always been my understanding that sealed systems, like refrigerators, still lose tiny amounts of refrigerant to leakage. After some amount of time they either have to have saddle valves installed to top them off, or you end up having them run more and more to hold temperature.
No, not unless there is a leak. Refrigerants do not permeate through copper and steel in a sealed system, and there are no barrier hoses in a refrigerator.
I am really glad you said that. It soothes the savage beast of anxiety and leaves me with one less thing to over-think. Thank you!
 
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