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Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 2:02 PM

Hi,

Will a refrigerator that is not level cause the refrigerator to run a lot more than usual? I live in an old house where just about all of the floors are not level. I have releveled the fridge a couple of times, but has come out of level fairly easy.

I have thoroughly cleaned the wire grid (heat sink), which is mounted to the rear of the refrigerator (Frigidaire-5 years old). The thermostat in the Freezer section (on top) is set to medium-low. The thermostat in the Refrigerator portion (bottom 3/4 of unit) is set to about '3', three settings above the setting called 'cold'. The seals are fine. The optional heating strip in the seal is never used. I has no icemaker. The fridge or freezer is not opened very much, and is not on an exterior wall, nor next to a heat source. Please help with any ideas you can think of to check. Thanks!

Friged Out

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#1

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:09 PM

Greetings - is the freezer on the top/bottom? (just curious)...

If you have it reasonably level - this should not be the issue

Also, have you bought some decent thermometers to see what the best you are cooling down to in both compartments? (I would do this first thing in the a.m. after little/no activity) - check then

You said you cleaned the "heat sink" do you mean the condenser coils for the unit?

Also, do you have water drainage into the collection pan(if you have one) If not, then I don't think the compressor is right - you may need to have the line pressure checked by someone with the right equip. while it's cycling

AND before anyone else says it - are you sure the light goes off when the door is closed?

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:49 PM

CUTiger

On top. I would guess its at least 3/4" out of level from front to rear (i.e. leaning back towards wall). I do have a good thermostat and can check tomorrow am, then provide some more detailed information.

Heat sink - it shows my ignorance, yes, I think that's what it is. It looks like black wire grid, that takes up just about the whole back side of the fridge.

I'll check the pan tonight and the light.

Thanks!

Will get back to the forum tomorrow.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:56 PM

OOPS!

If it's that far out it may very well be warped. If it's level across the front, that's a start. Put the level that you surely have on the floor, then the fridge and compare the bubble position and adjust till they are the same. Do this on two sides. You want the fridge to be perpendicular to the floor/tilt at the same angle. You do not want the body to twist.

Pleasant dreams.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:59 PM

OK - just check the pan & see if there is any condensation there

One thing I forgot - while your under the fridge - make sure the evaporator fan is running to cool off the compressor (you should have a fan) and make sure the blades are clean, but be very careful not to bend them - they are usually very soft aluminum

Don't worry about that light - I was just cracking a joke

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#22
In reply to #4

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 1:10 PM

These two statements ......

"I live in an old house where just about all of the floors are not level. I have releveled the fridge a couple of times, but has come out of level fairly easy."

combined with.....

"I would guess its at least 3/4" out of level from front to rear (i.e. leaning back towards wall)."

This suggests out of plumb rather than out of level and indicates to me that it is settling after each leveling attempt and has ... as suggested by others ... twisted it's frame causing a door sealing problem.

Regards Woody

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#12
In reply to #1

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 12:52 AM

"Are you sure the light goes off when the door is closed?"

Actually, it's a conspiracy... the light doesn't go out!

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#2

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:13 PM

No. Has it done this for 5 years? Did you move and move it? Did you buy it new? How un-level is it? How often does it run? For how long? What is the ambient temperature in the room? Have you put a thermometer in it? Are the seals good? Maybe, if the floor is badly warped, one of the the doors might not be sealing properly.

Duct tape?

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#7
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:57 PM

lynlynch,

I don't think it has done this for all of its life. I bought it new and it has never been moved, except a little around the kitchen. It is about 3/4" out of level from front to rear (i.e towards the wall) behind fridge. The ambient temperature ranges from 65-degrees to 80-degrees (possibly to 85 sometimes). However, I've noticed it running during the winter when it was 60-degrees inside. I'm going to do the thermometer thing in the a.m., as another suggested, will let you know tomorrow on the forum.

Someone else suggested it is not sealing correctly, possibly from being out of level. Would this happen if it is not level from front to rear?

Thanks!

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 6:40 PM

"Would this happen if it is not level from front to rear?"

It would be much less likely to cause the fridge to twist out of shape. If it's not crooked the other way, left to right, maybe that's not it. We're not there. (Imagine the food and beer bill if we were)

Take a photo of the front to show the gap between fridge and floor.

The JMAN is right, a little backward tilt assures that the doors close.

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#19
In reply to #7

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 10:37 AM

Having had similar problems with refrigerators recently I would first check whether it is possible to cause the unit to shut off. If not, I would suspect the controller is shot. I've had a few go bad in the past 3 years. BTW, how long is the warantee good for on your fridge. I recently had a refrigerator tech tell me that depending on the problem it is cheaper to replace than repair.

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#3

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:14 PM

Hi mach1gtx,

Just because your seals are fine doesn't mean that they are sealing properly. With the fridge out of level you are not getting a 100% seal.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 3:52 PM

Not So Smart,

It is out of level at least 3/4" from the front to the back (i.e. towards the wall). Would that do it? Plus, see other comments by others and my responses. I will get back to the forum tomorrow. Thank you!

What about changing your handle to 'Get Smart', like after the series? (love that old show!)

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#15
In reply to #5

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 7:47 AM

Yea, it matters front to back. If you are too far out of level your door will not seat correctly. You will get a little bit of "sag" in the door.

This may sound like a stupid question but do you know how to test the seal around the doors of the freezer and refrigerator? The best way is with a dollar bill and you need to check in multiple locations around the doors. You may have a good seal in one place and a gap in another. Also how full do you keep the fridge? More open air space = more need for refrigeration.

I was thinking about this last night and wondered if the thermal cut off is defective or working improperly? It is a small "button" looking think mounted to the top of the compressor. It really shouldn't cause this type of problem but you never know.

And as far as the name is concerned, well it just seems to fit. Although I also loved that show.

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#9

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/06/2009 4:19 PM

mach1gtx,

Why do you think your fridge is "Running on and on and on"?

I'm not sure if I missed something from your post...

Do you actually hear the compressor constantly running, or is it possibly just a circulating motor/pump you hear?

I have a 7-8 year old amana refrigerator, and it makes a lot of noise, even when the compressor itself is idle.

Anyway, regarding the leveling issue, I do not think that you are supposed to have a refrigerator absolutely level. The doors won't swing closed on their own (as they are supposed to) if the box is totally level; furthermore, internal condensation drainage might rely on a specific (slight) cabinet pitch...

============================================================

Just my $0.02...

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#11

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 12:08 AM

I think that the way they make the freezer frost free is to have a small heater element and a fan that runs intermittently to eliminate any frost. This could very well be what your hearing, as opposed to the compressor.

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#23
In reply to #11

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 3:38 PM

I didn't think there would be a fan involved with that option, I'll check into it. Thanks!!

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#13

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 3:22 AM

Are the door seals still in good condition?

Is it low on gas?

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#24
In reply to #13

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 3:43 PM

The upper door seal has a crack in line with the seal, at its center, but appears to mate against the door frame. Don't know on the gas. I'm hoping not to have to call a repairman to find out, cheapwad that I am. Thanks! How's it going across the pond laddy?

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#14

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 6:56 AM

As long as we are on the subject of refrigerators.

Why do they have to be as level as possible? I've always been told they need to be but never told why. Its using a compressor so level shouldn't really be an issue as far as the coolant being pushed thru the system or am I wrong in this line of thinking?

Oh around as far as the original subject goes. Have you got enough clearance around the unit far it to freely dissipate the heat generated by the cooling unit.Most of us stic kthem in a space way to small far the air to circulate properly to keep it from over heating.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 7:49 AM

The refrigerator does not need to be perfectly level for the coolant to flow properly. It needs to remain level for even cooling and proper door seal.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 8:25 AM

So if I understand you correctly. The idea of leveling the frig has more to do with the fact that they are built so flimsy that if they aren't level the frame will twist and the doors and such don't seal well, thus making the compressor work harder.

How level is considered level on a regular sized frig..

He mentions 3/4" out on his from front to back. To me that sounds like way out of level. How do you keep the door from closing on you while your digging out a frosty cold one when its that un-level?

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#18
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 8:29 AM

We've got 3 stand-ups in the house & all 3 are slanted slightly to the back 0.5" to 0.75" - they'll run fine like this

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#37
In reply to #17

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/09/2009 2:07 PM

Well, I think after the 4th or so 'frosty cold one', it looks level to me and thus not a problem. Maybe I have been looing at this problem the wrong way?

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#25
In reply to #14

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 3:44 PM

I have the face of the coils about 2 inches (50mm) away from the wall. Is that sufficient?

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#20

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 12:27 PM

Greetings.

The compressor, it's fan, and evaporator fan (one by evaporator coils in freezer) are controlled by the fresh food thermostat (look at the wiring schematic usually with the refrigerator) and the defrost timer. If the defrost thermostat or the the defrost heater are not working then you will have an ice builup on the evaporator coils and no cold air will be able to flow or it will be restricted. Pull the back inside of the freezer off until you can see the evaporator coils. If they are covered with ice or there is an ice buildup you probably have a defective defrost thermostat (first choice) or possibly a defective defrost heater. Defrost timer is last choice. If this is an adaptive defrost controlled refrigerator then it gets a little more complicated with a controller.

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#26
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 3:46 PM

I'll do some more checking on this, thanks!!

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#21

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 12:32 PM

Are you saying the fridge keeps on running and never stops? If that is really the case, then it's more serious that just being out of level. Even with the door open, a fridge will recycle as it should. If it is not recycling, something is wrong with the control circuits, maybe the thermostat. Are you getting any ice build-up?

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#27

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 4:10 PM

Okay, I've read thru all the responses and I don't think we know if the fridge runs ALL the time and if there's sufficient cooling happening. Does the food get cold as it's supposed to? My money would be on low gas. Over time, even with full time running, the temperature will slowly rise.

If it were a control problem, it would probably get too cold and freeze all the food.

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#28

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/07/2009 6:52 PM

Hi, im a appliance tech. and olympiaWA is giving you good advise.

A fridge running on usually means a " gas " leak in the system or a blockage in the system. If its a leak the fridge will run on but gradually lose its ability to keep cold.

Questions : Is the freezer and fridge section keeping cold or is the freezer cold only ?

Is the fridge controlled by a circuit board or a timer ?

A 5 year old unit could have a " adaptive " frost control which means the whole fridge is controlled by a circuit board and not a mechanical timer.

Check the wiring diagram as advised by olympiaWA to determine which type of control you are dealing with.

I can help you through if you have used a multimeter before. If not i suggest you get a pro to fix it .

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#31
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 11:09 AM

I did check the temperature inside the refrigerator portion last night. While on a setting of '3', with '6' being the highest, the temp. measured 40-degrees. Maybe it is okay and the 'running' sound I'm hearing is the fan for the heat strip located in the seal? If it was a gas leak after all of this time (about 3 months?), would it still maintain that low of a temp.?

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 11:26 AM

mach1gtx:

"If it was a gas leak", the refrigerator would probably be able to maintain the 40 degree temperature for no more than several hours, or perhaps up to a day.

(Depending upon the "mass" of items inside the box that have been chilled to proper refrigerator temperature before losing the charge of refrigerant)....

==================================================================

Just my $0.02...

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#33
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 6:41 PM

No , it would die out in a matter of hours or days depending on how bad the leak was.

There is no fan for the " heat strip ". Some fridges include a cooling fan mounted beside the compressor but this fan cycles on and off with the compressor. If you are hearing something running constantly i would like to know what it is .

To make things simple , take the next few days and listen to the fridge as you walk by, if you hear nothing during one of these times then your fridge is ok and you are fretting over nothing . If the friggen fridge seems to be running all the time determine where the sound is coming from and send me the Model # . You could have an oddball that keeps a cooling fan running constantly , ( i seriously doubt this though ).

The reason to level a fridge is 1) so it is level and 2) so the door will close by itself .

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 7:04 PM

Sounds like you've got it under control. I'm going to pop up to your first post and GA it.

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#29

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 8:12 AM

If it is running all the time, how did you manage to catch it to measure the slope? Corner it?

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/08/2009 11:04 AM

easy, since.......... I was with it in an open trailer pulled by two oxen! No cornering necesary.

go figure

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#35

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/09/2009 1:48 PM

Has the fridge got some foodstuffs in it? In the freezer? Or is it empty? A refridgerator is the most efficient and economical when it's at least half to three quarters full , or fully full which acts as a "cold" sink to moderate the on-off cycling and you're not just cooling the air inside, if it's nearly empty. Buy a couple of cases of beer to cool and all your problems are solved!

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#36
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Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/09/2009 2:05 PM

I can't help it, but it just love the way you think!!.................might just add some champagne to that tall order too!

Thanks!

PS - why didn't you suggest this before the 4th of July?

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#38

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/11/2009 11:37 AM

Hi,

No. At least as long as the refrigerator does not rock back and forth when you push/pull it causing the seals to not seat properly. Being unlevel in itself should not cause this problem. The fact that your refrigerator is cooling as it should pretty much eliminates any problems you imagine you have. If it works, don't fix it. If there really is a problem, you will know it.

Regards,

Mr. Jimmy

p.s. maybe global warming is a factor?

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Refrigerator Running On and On and On

07/11/2009 2:31 PM

Keywalker,

Thanks for your response! I'm probably worrying too much about it. I guess I was trying to be too proactive and 'fix it' before it went bad. I hate spending $ on a new fridge. To me it's like dropping a bucket of $ on the Santa Monica Freeway (which someone accidentally did recently!).

Cool

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