1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Advice needed. Bought new refrigerator. Is it cold enough?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Nic36, Jan 5, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    My old GE refrigerator quit working a few months back. Rather than calling a repairman to fix it, I replaced it with a new one. I bought one on sale at Sears, a Kenmore. It was new, not a return or anything. I have had it for 6 months now. The only thing about this new refrigerator is I don't think it cools as well as it should.

    The dilemma is the top freezer section keeps all things frozen, but the other part only cools down to 36 degrees F. From what I have read, recommended temperatures for food storage is 35 to 38 degrees, so it is within "normal" cooling range. But, I have this fridge set to the coldest setting and that is as cold as it will go. It does cycle on and off, but it seems to run more than my old one or maybe I just hear it more. It is noisier than my old one.

    Ironically, I have since repaired my old one and I set it on maximum cooling to see what it would do. When I checked the temperatures in it, it was in the upper 20s. Ice crystals were actually in a carton of orange juice that I put in it.

    I just find it hard to believe that this new refrigerator cannot get any colder than my old one. My warranty runs out in a year and I have about 6 months left. I want this addressed before it expires if it is an issue. Does this sound normal for a new fridge or am I justified in calling customer service? I am expecting them to say it is normal when I call.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,785
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Are you blocking any of the heat exchanger fans? Is the fridge in an alcove where it can't get enough air? I'd be calling their tech line. Something's not right.

    Matt
  3. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    No, nothing is blocked. As a matter of fact, I removed the back cardboard panel in hopes that it would help some.

    I guess I will call customer service about it and schedule a technician to look at it. It seems like everything I buy is either broken or has problems. I should have loaded it up the week I bought it and brought it back to Sears for a refund or exchange.
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,120
    Loc:
    Midwest
    The normal range is 35F-38F and you're at 36F? This seems normal to me. If you go much lower and have a slightly cooler spot in the fridge, you could start freezing stuff. I think mine is set to 37F and holds to 36-38F. It also depends a bit on where you measure...36F near the top shelf may be 33-34F near the bottom.

    FWIW, literature that came with my new GE Profile fridge had statements to the effect that it may seem to cycle more and or run more than older fridges, but this is due to the high efficiency compressor. Apparently, the compressor is smaller and sized closer to the "standby" needs of the fridge. It also has a "Turbo cool" button which the instructions mentioned should be pressed if there is a period of high use or a large amount of items are loaded in which may need additional cooling power.

    I guess the bottom line is modern fridges have a smaller compressor and run more, but are more efficient overall... Sort of like having a car which has just enough engine to run 55 mph on the highway, but gets 60mpg versus one that 'can' do 180mph, but only gets 15mpg.

    Also note that keeping the house toasty with a nice PE stove may also make the fridge work a little harder!

    PS - in an old fridge, "super cooling" can be a sign of low freon. With less total freon in the system, there is more room for expansion in the evaporator (cooling) coils. More expansion leads to cooler freon and a cooler overall temp. My ancient (olive green!) beer fridge in the basement will ice up if I go any lower than 5 on the 1-9 scale.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,800
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Our older fridge will overcool if it is too empty. Slushy pop and eggs. I hate warm milk though so I tend to prefer an overcooling fridge. Also, you shouldn't need to set the dial to max cool just to get 36.
  6. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    It appears to be doing just as it should ~ "cool".

    20's is cold, and is what the 'freezer' is for.
  7. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,120
    Loc:
    Midwest
    As a follow up (had to wait until I got home to check) : The digital readout on my fridge will only allow the temp to be set down to 35F, so I suspect 35F-ish is about as low as most modern fridges are going to run. Ain't saving energy great!?!
  8. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    I definitely planned to put the panel back on with that thought in mind. Thanks for the reminder.

    That's the problem, I cannot go any lower, The refrigerator is at it's maximum cooling setting. I understand that 36 degrees is perfectly acceptable for food storage, but shouldn't I be able to get cooler than that? I would not think that I would have to set the refrigerator at the maximum setting for only 36.

    I've included a picture that shows the dial set to maximum. It's not a very good picture but if you look on the left side of the dial, you will see a mark with the writing "normal" beside it. I would think that the normal setting would be as far as I would have to go to get down to 36. Also, this fridge is noticeably loud. I could barely hear my older GE running even when I was standing beside it. This one, I can hear from several feet away in my bedroom.

    [​IMG]
  9. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    If that is what the fridge is supposed to do, I guess I am fine with it. I question it's use of less energy though since I can hear it running all the time. I could barely hear the GE I had or just about any other fridge for that matter. This one growls when it runs and makes a popping sound when it turns off. It sounds rather junky IMO.

    Also, the manual for it tells me very little. It says for colder setting tunr control towards "cold". It gives no specific temperature numbers. Kinda like how my PE manual doesn't say what temperature "overfire" is.
  10. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,824
    Loc:
    Ridge, LI, NY
    I'd have Sears come out and take a look at it.

    It's under warranty. Get it done before the warranty expires, unless you put a service contract on it.

    I have a 1 YO Amana side x side (never had a side x side before), and I have come to be pretty fond of it. Hardly runs, no noise. Stuffs cold and the dials are in the middle. Electric bill stayed low, evem with 3 rate increases :coolsmile:

    I manage an electronic service center. No appliances aside from MW's, but a warranty is a warranty.
  11. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    I'm going to humor myself and call them when I get the chance. I never purchased a service warranty, so I need to call them before the warranty expires.

    I had a side by side GE that was already in the house I am living in now. I never really liked it because the right door could not open more than 90 degrees due to a wall parallel to that side of the fridge. It made it difficult with large items. It quit cooling back in May, but I accidentally fixed it a couple of weeks ago when I took a panel off and tapped on the relay on the computer board. I heard it click and the compressor started humming. It must have been stuck. It has been running fine out in my barn ever since. I wish I had known that before I bought this new one. Not a big loss. It just so happens my mom needs one, so it is going to her.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,800
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Uh oh nic. You say that the manual tells you to turn towards "cold" to get it colder but in your photo you have the control spun all the way away from "cold" to "colder". Might want to try "cold" before calling Sears. You know, just in case.
  13. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    A typo by me, but hey, what can it hurt?
  14. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Is the Beer cold?
  15. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    Very cold. I have it in my other fridge.
  16. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    431
    Loc:
    Griffin, GA
    Maybe the fridge cannot get below 35 for energy saving issues. Have you tried to run it nearer to the middle? I've got a Whirlpool and that sucker goes 0-5 and I keep it on 2. I may be wrong but I bet you see the same temps when you move it half way. The worst thing I ever did was go to an energy star dishwasher. It doesn't actually dry the dishes and there is no button to run the dryer again. Energy star fridge, stove= good, dishwaher=evil.
  17. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
    We got a new fridge about 2 years ago. Had a problem not getting cold enough. I ain't no electrician, but the guy came by and stripped some insulation off of a sensor wire in there and that fixed it.
  18. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    I moved it from the coldest setting to the midway setting last night before I went to bed. I could have moved it even further to the "normal" position. I checked my thermometer in my picture of water when I returned home from work and it was on 40 degrees exactly. I suspect the "normal" position will be at least 41 or 42 degrees. That is too warm for food.

    If this fridge is designed to operate in this manner, I am highly disappointed. I really don't see how it is designed to use less energy unless I set it to cool to only 45 degrees.

    When I have the time, I am going to call Sears and see if they will tell me what the refrigerator is supposed to be able to achieve at the coldest setting.
  19. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Loc:
    Adams County, PA
    I think our fridge came from Lowe's. I know the serviceman came and stripped back a small bit of insulation on the "sensor" wire, and I think he also moved it a little bit, so it would give a colder temp. I was really PIZZED OFF when I found that our NEW fridge was so dang warm too. Best of luck.
  20. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    Hmmmm. I didn't know new fridges were made so crappy. Maybe I should have bought a freezer instead and kept the thermostat on the high temperature setting.
  21. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,099
    Loc:
    Burbs of B'more, MD, Hon!
    This is going to sound stupid, but what is the control for the freezer set to? Most refrigerators have the evaporator (cooling coil) in the freezer and an adjustable damper to allow some cold air to bleed into the refrigerator. If that damper is set to "coldest" it tends to starve the refrigerator of cold air and will make it run a lot more. Try setting everything to the "normal" or mid position for 24 hours and check both temperatures. The freezer should be around 0 degrees F and the refrigerator should be 35-38F. Adjust it and let it settle for another 24 hours.

    That cardboard panel on the back is supposed to be there. The condenser fan pulls the air in the front and blows it back out the front. Most refrigerators don't work too well without the panel in place.

    Chris
  22. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    I've adjusted it from the coldest setting to the midway position on the dial. It could only cool to 40 degrees on that setting. I have not put it on the normal setting, because it will not cool to 40 or less. I have also placed the rear panel back on. I haven't had time to call Sears yet to see what they say about it.

    I was in Home Depot today and looked at some other high end refrigerators with digital dials. One was on and I could set it to 33 degrees. So, apparently, the new ones can at least make it to that temperature.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page