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Dave Harnish
CEO: Sadie
Dave's Repair Service
1911 Heath Hill Rd
New Albany, PA 18833

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The DRSNews
March 2007

 Happy Spring!

(Sorry I don't have the April issue out. The company that mails this for me went down about a month ago and stayed down, and I couldn't get it to you. The combined April/May issue will be out in the first week of May)

 By subscription only, Dave’s Repair Service, ©2007 All Rights Reserved

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A Special Welcome to all of you who’ve just joined us! What a great group of friends we’re making every day with this project! You guys are terrific!

In this issue:

1) Refrigeration System Recharging Basics, Part 2: Leak Testing
2) Over 2 Million Maytag Dishwashers Recalled

1) Thought we'd finally get back to the subject of refrigeration systems this issue, so let's talk a little bit about refrigerant leaks.

(Just a reminder here, we're discussing small residential systems in this series, not commercial refrigeration systems, which are very different critters from a service standpoint.)

As we talked about last time, the frost pattern is the easiest diagnostic tool to use in determining whether a refrigeration system is causing our trouble, or whether the problem lies elsewhere.

So if we're looking at an evaporator coil that's only partially coated with frost and the compressor's running, we know there's a 'system' problem, either a leak or restriction.

One good way to determine which one of the two causes of a short pattern we have is to add a few ounces of refrigerant (a 'diagnostic charge') while watching that frost pattern. If it travels across the coil as we add refrigerant, we know it's definitely a 'leaker'. If the pattern doesn't change, then it's restricted.

(We'll talk more about adding refrigerant in an upcoming article).

Leaks are the more common of the two problems, and there are several methods used to find them.

The first is to visually inspect all tubing connections, starting in the compressor compartment. Oil travels through the system along with refrigerant, so any oil around a soldered or brazed tubing joint is a really good leak indicator.

Applying leak test 'bubble' solution to the suspect spot will verify it pretty readily. The products sold for this purpose are best, but a strong detergent and water mixture can be used in a pinch, too.

When leak testing, we want to ensure the area we're testing is under the highest internal pressure we can get, to give us the highest flow out through the leak. 

The way to get that, assuming there's still some refrigerant left in the system (still some frost showing on the evaporator), is by testing high side fittings with the compressor running, but testing suspect low side leaks after it's been turned off for at least a few minutes.

The 'low side' includes the evaporator coil in the freezer, and the suction line (the larger tube that connects to it) all the way back down to the compressor. This part of a system contains low pressure when the compressor's running, because it 'pulls' on this side - not what we want for leak testing.

The 'high side' is all of the rest of the tubing including the condenser (warm) coil and 'Yoder loop' inside the cabinet. When testing for high side leaks, I like the compressor running if possible, because it's 'pushing' pressure into this tubing and increasing your chances of finding the leak quickly.

The most popular method of leak testing these days is with an electronic leak detector. There are dozens of these on the market, and they are terrific at locating low flow and in-cabinet leaks. Less messy than smearing bubble solution all over, today's models are very fast and sensitive, but can be pricey.

I'll be dating myself here, but for many years, I used a Halide leak detector attached to a small acetylene or propane torch. They are also very accurate when properly set, and use the change in the color of a small flame to reveal the presence of refrigerant. After realizing that cigarette smoke was interfering with my old 'first generation' electronic detector, I went back to my 'old reliable' Halide torch detector for quite a few years.

A few old-fashioned but still effective leak detecting tools:

L to R, two bubble solutions, internal red dye, and a Halide torch detector (flame color changes in presence of leaks)

Leak Detecting Tools

Other leak detection methods include both staining and fluorescent dyes, and even ultrasonic listening devices. Many new refrigerators come with a small amount of fluorescent dye already in the system. But most leaks can be found fairly easily with simple methods.

Well, I'd better stop there for now. More next time.

2) Here's another appliance recall I'd like to let you know about.

This one involves some 2.3 million Maytag and Jenn-Air dishwashers, made from July '97 thru June '01, and it's one we want to get cleaned up pretty quickly.

The latest figures I have report some 135 of these machines that have caught fire so far, and that scares me - and you can bet it scares Maytag, too.

Here's a list of model numbers that are recalled. Note that of these models, only those whose serial numbers end in the SM thru YZ date code range are recalled.



DWU9902AA, DWU9922AA, DWU9962AA, MDB3000AW,
MDB3100AW, MDB4000AW, MDB4010AW, MDB4030AW, MDB4040AW, MDB4050AW, MDB4100AW, MDB4160AW, MDB4800AW, MDB5000AW, MDB5100AW, MDB6000AW, MDB6100AW, MDB6160AW, MDB6800AW, MDB7000AW, MDB7100AW, MDB7130AW, MDB7160AW, MDB8000AW, MDB9000AW, MDB9100AW, MDBD820AW, MDBD850AW, MDBD880AW, MDC4000AW, MDC4100AW, MDB5100AW


JDB3010AW, JDB3910AW, JDB4950AW, JDB5900AW, JDB6900AW,


The problem is caused when rinse agent leaks from its dispenser in the door, where it can short-circuit internal wiring and ignite.

If you have one of the listed models, call 800-675-0535 to register it. Maytag will send you the necessary parts kit for your machine and put you in contact with a local authorized servicer to do the work for you, all free of charge.

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Thanks again for inviting me into your inbox. I don't take the invitation lightly, and never share your name or data with anyone!

As always, if you have any topics you’d like to see discussed here or covered in an online article, let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige. And don't forget those testimonials! Many thanks if you've already sent yours in!

May God richly bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish
Dave’s Repair Service
New Albany, PA

‘Worry looks around, Sorry Looks Back, Faith Looks UP’.
Hebrews 11



Copyright 2007, www.DavesRepair.com , All Rights Reserved.
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"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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