In this issue:
1) ‘Who Turned Off the Lights?’ – Freezers, Electronics, and GFI
2) Why Your Electric Dryer Runs When There’s No 240V
3) Cleaning Long Dryer Vents – Fast and Easy!
Before we get into the main topics this month, I want to quickly
add to last month’s tip about lubricating retracting cord reels with
car wax. Thanks to Earl Proulx for pointing out that wax also
shines (sorry!) at lubing tape measures - he’s right! Just
well, apply a light film of wax, let it dry, wipe it off, and that old
tape will ‘go home’ like it’s supposed to.
1) 'Encountered yet another thawing upright freezer-full of meat
after a power outage this week, and I thought I’d better give you
a heads-up on this one. In
this case the owner had run his home
generator, then noticed the dead freezer the following day, so it
may have been caused by ‘dirty’ generator power.
If you have one of the upright freezers with LED indicators and a
temperature alarm in the door handle area, keep a close watch on
it if your lights flicker or the power has been off. These are
marketed primarily through Sears, but are manufactured by
Frigidaire, and I assume models carrying both names are
susceptible to this.
A microprocessor cycles these units’ compressors via a relay on
a controller circuit board, and again I have to ask, uh, WHY? For
the life of me I can’t understand why manufacturers are determined
to complicate the simplest of appliances this way. Everything seems to
boil down to the love of a dollar these days, so it must be cheaper than a simple, conventional thermostat.
But now there’s a thermistor, potentiometer, and processor board used,
along with a lot more wiring and a 9 volt battery alarm system, so I’m
not sure cost is the motivation. If any of you have any ideas
about this, I’d love to hear ‘em - it’s getting a little crazy
Anyway (OK, I’m settled back down now), if you have one of these
and the power comes back on but the freezer doesn’t, first try
unplugging it for several minutes. I’ve been able to reset the
processor this way in a couple of instances, and it just might get you
up and running. If that doesn’t work, remove the 9 volt battery for
few minutes and reinstall. I haven’t had as much success with this,
but it’s worth a try. Thirdly - and I haven’t seen all the models
question, but this applies to those I have – there’s a tiny reset
button hidden on the circuit board. This can be carefully pushed with
a small non-metallic pin, toothpick, etc. Those we’ve seen have a
small hole in the pcboard’s metal case, over the reset switch, for
this purpose. It’s not easy to find, as the pcboard assembly is
on the compressor compartment ceiling.
Use a small mirror to locate
If it won’t reset, call in a pro.
If it should need a controller, a
tech can temporarily bypass it to keep your food frozen while the
board is ordered.
But in every case so far, one of the above methods has succeeded
in restarting the freezer.
If any of you other techs have experienced this problem, we’d love
hear from you and ‘compare notes’.
While we’re on the subject of appliances and electronics (and it’s
getting to be a major subject), I’d caution you about running your
freezer, refrigerator, or any other motorized equipment you depend
on heavily, on a GFI receptacle. These can ‘nuisance trip’,
out here in the country where power isn’t always ‘clean’. I’ve
more than one freezer-full of meat lost to this little ‘glitch’
that gets expensive! Many freezers aren’t accessed every day, and
by the time you discover this has happened, it may be way too late!
2) We’ve written a lot on the subject
of the ‘no-heat’ dryer before,
but I’ve neglected to mention something that we get questions about.
I don’t see this as much these days when most of our electrical
systems use circuit breakers rather than fuses, but it still happens.
If there’s no 240V supply to an electric dryer, there’ll be no
the motor can still run, and this can be confusing. The simple reason
is that the motor operates on only 120V, which can still be present
even when one ‘leg’ of the 240V goes down. Hope that clears up the
confusion a bit. Sorry I wasn’t clear on this in previous articles.
3) Here’s a quick way to clean that long dryer vent system, again
using ‘Clyde’ the ol’ wet-vac. I carry a 30-foot central vac
the truck, as it’s very handy for cleaning these ducts from
the outside of the house. If your vent hood is the louvered
type, it’s a
breeze. Just pop the louvers off by bending them slightly, and run
that long hose in with Clyde and the dryer both running (on 'no heat'). This will
do a thorough job in very little time.
If you have a central vac system installed in your house, you already
have the hose. If you can connect it to the wet-vac hose temporarily,
it’ll work great. Just
take care with the hose ends, and don't use the
central vac itself for this job. This can move a pile of lint, and the
place for a hose clog is NOT inside your wall!
By the way, if your long exhaust system is run in flexible plastic,
please replace it with 4 inch smooth wall aluminum as soon as
possible. You’ll save electricity in the long haul, and you and I
both sleep better.
Thanks for allowing me into your inbox
again this month. I hope you benefit from this little project half as
much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Thanks yet again for all your
encouragement - I really appreciate it!
May the Lord richly bless you & yours, and
may He continue to have Mercy on America. She really needs it these
Dave’s Repair Service
New Albany, PA
‘One conversation across a table from a wise man
is worth a month's study of books.’