Every Refrigerator’s Built-in System
This tip appeared first in the March 2003 DRSNews
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Here in the Northeast, we’ve been somewhat
fixated on snow this winter, and since ‘snow’
happens to be the handiest tool for
refrigeration sealed system diagnosis, I’d like
to talk about that a bit.
If a refrigerator is ‘running but not
cooling’, or is 'cooling poorly’, and everything
seems to be clean and running (clean condenser,
fans and compressor running), our attention
turns to the sealed system.
So many times over the years I’ve looked at a
refrig that a previous servicer has
checked, and found an access valve clamped to
the suction line (and very often leaking).
When questioned, the owner usually says
something like, ‘yes, he had to attach a set of
gauges to check the system’, and I always find
it hard not to groan out loud. Folks,
it’s just not necessary to poke a hole into a
refrigerator to find out what’s going on inside
it. If a tech knows his business and is at
all interested in being efficient, he’ll know
If the above conditions describe your refrig
or freezer, do this: leave it running if you
can, and remove whatever covers are over the
evaporator (cold) coil. If you see a nice, EVEN
frost pattern covering the entire coil, even if
it’s 1” thick, you do NOT have a system problem.
It’s just that easy!
If only part of the coil is frosted and the
rest is bare or only wet, you DO have a system
problem - leak, restricted, or compressor - and
these days I usually recommend replacing the
refrig or freezer.
Wasn’t that easy?!
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