O/T Built-in fridge problem

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Clifford on June 5, 2015 - 12:39pm

I have a 15 years old built-in fridge that has stopped working (the lights are off & and it's not cooling).
Supposedly, built-in fridges last 20 - 25 years.

I'm wondering if it's worth it to pay for a repairman to come & take a look. Or I should buy a new one.

Please advice.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on June 5, 2015 - 3:54pm.

I love built-in fridge, but it's very expensive.

Are you thinking of remodeling the kitchen too?
You might want to get the fridge repaired until you decide what to do.

I have difficulty spending $5,000 and up for a built-in fridge, so I just get the consumer products which are easier to replace. You can achieve a semi-built-in look with cover panels on each side of the fridge.

BTW, LED lighting is now a must in appliances. The old stuff looks dated, so choose accordingly.

Submitted by XBoxBoy on June 5, 2015 - 5:38pm.

Got a similar problem. Our built in runs all the time. I have to keep the top panel off or it won't cool all the way. Got a repair guy out a couple weeks ago and he suggested rebuilding it. For a couple grand. Which seems really steep until you realize that to replace it would be 8-10 grand. We decided to rebuild it mostly because we didn't want to do a remodel. If I was considering a remodel, then I think buying a new one would be justified. But if I rebuild it and get another 10 years out of it, it's worth it.

Submitted by svelte on June 6, 2015 - 2:32pm.

After getting a horrendously high bill to repair a built-in microwave (3x what we could have paid for a brand new countertop microwave), we decided we were going to minimize built-in appliances. We actually ripped out the microwave the next time we had the chance, used the space for a wine rack and bought a countertop unit.

We also decided to forgo a built-in fridge for a normal roll-in unit when we remodeled.

After hearing stories here and from friends, it sounds like that may have been a huge money saving lesson I learned with that microwave.

Almost every owner of a built-in fridge that I know has had a problem - and these are units that are under 10 years old. Are by chance your built-in fridges made by Subzero? Friends of ours have had problems with those.

Submitted by mike92104 on June 6, 2015 - 9:19pm.

You've checked the breaker right?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on June 7, 2015 - 11:40am.

mike92104 wrote:
You've checked the breaker right?

Haha. Great advice.
Once my AC wasn't blowing out cold air. The breaker for the compressor tripped. I forgot to check it. It cost me a service call. I felt stupid

Submitted by Hatfield on June 7, 2015 - 5:59pm.

XBoxBoy wrote:
he suggested rebuilding it. For a couple grand.

Find a new repair guy. There's not a lot of black magic to a refrigerator. It's a closed system with refrigerant, which might have leaked out. Unlikely, but there's a test for that. There's also a radiator which might be caked in dust or ice, which would prevent heat transfer. That would cause it to never stop running. There's a compressor that circulates the refrigerant. There's a logic board that decides when to run the compressor. There's also some logic for the defrost cycle for the freezer. There might be a heating element for that. There's not a lot to "rebuild."

Wasn't a built in fridge, but I once had a standalone that ran all the time. Repair guy came out. This particular fridge had a mechanical cam on a clock motor, with a little finger that felt the cam so it knew to run the defrost cycle every X hours. Well the cam had broken, so defrost never ran, and the radiator iced over, preventing heat exchange from occurring. He charged me $5 for a new plastic cam and $95 for the service call. That's the kind of guy you want to hire. I'd give you this guy's number but he since has retired.

That was in a rental unit. Our place has a GE Profile fridge. While it was still under warranty, the ice maker and water thing in the door stopped working. The GE repair guy came out, played with it a bit, rolled the fridge out, removed a little panel in the back, and took out a circuit board maybe 4" x 4." Popped in a new circuit board, everything works again. I asked him how much the service call would have cost had the fridge not been under warranty. "Lemme look that up!" he says. $430. "Say, can I have that old circuit board?" I ask. Googled the part number, found it on eBay for $45.

Find a repair guy who doesn't need to "rebuild" you fridge to fix it.

Submitted by flu on June 7, 2015 - 6:26pm.

Hatfield wrote:
XBoxBoy wrote:
he suggested rebuilding it. For a couple grand.

Find a new repair guy. There's not a lot of black magic to a refrigerator. It's a closed system with refrigerant, which might have leaked out. Unlikely, but there's a test for that. There's also a radiator which might be caked in dust or ice, which would prevent heat transfer. That would cause it to never stop running. There's a compressor that circulates the refrigerant. There's a logic board that decides when to run the compressor. There's also some logic for the defrost cycle for the freezer. There might be a heating element for that. There's not a lot to "rebuild."

Wasn't a built in fridge, but I once had a standalone that ran all the time. Repair guy came out. This particular fridge had a mechanical cam on a clock motor, with a little finger that felt the cam so it knew to run the defrost cycle every X hours. Well the cam had broken, so defrost never ran, and the radiator iced over, preventing heat exchange from occurring. He charged me $5 for a new plastic cam and $95 for the service call. That's the kind of guy you want to hire. I'd give you this guy's number but he since has retired.

That was in a rental unit. Our place has a GE Profile fridge. While it was still under warranty, the ice maker and water thing in the door stopped working. The GE repair guy came out, played with it a bit, rolled the fridge out, removed a little panel in the back, and took out a circuit board maybe 4" x 4." Popped in a new circuit board, everything works again. I asked him how much the service call would have cost had the fridge not been under warranty. "Lemme look that up!" he says. $430. "Say, can I have that old circuit board?" I ask. Googled the part number, found it on eBay for $45.

Find a repair guy who doesn't need to "rebuild" you fridge to fix it.

I had a problem with my 3 door fridge recently, of it not defrosting, and I was going to call my repair guy. I gave him my make and model, and he insisted that it was probably just a the drain was clogged, and told me how to take things out and check the drain myself. He said he could come by and do it, but it would cost $100 since he was from the south, and that's his minimum service call for north county. He suggested I try it first, and worst comes to worst, I couldn't really make it worse...Anyway, followed his direction yup, it was clogged. But man, a normal repair guy wanted like $250 just to see it.

Why am I an software geek again? :(

I also had a problem with an oven control logic board one time. I didn't know exactly what was the problem, so I ordered every possible logic board/controller/circuit board for the oven from repairclinic.com. I replaced each board, one by one, and figured out which one was the problem by trial and error. I simply returned the two boards I didn't need, minus the restocking fee. It was much cheaper than finding someone to diagnose and repair the oven. In most of the cases, that's exactly what they are doing...Just swapping boards...

Submitted by Clifford on June 8, 2015 - 12:49pm.

deleted

Submitted by Clifford on June 8, 2015 - 12:49pm.

svelte wrote:
After getting a horrendously high bill to repair a built-in microwave (3x what we could have paid for a brand new countertop microwave), we decided we were going to minimize built-in appliances. We actually ripped out the microwave the next time we had the chance, used the space for a wine rack and bought a countertop unit.

We also decided to forgo a built-in fridge for a normal roll-in unit when we remodeled.

After hearing stories here and from friends, it sounds like that may have been a huge money saving lesson I learned with that microwave.

Almost every owner of a built-in fridge that I know has had a problem - and these are units that are under 10 years old. Are by chance your built-in fridges made by Subzero? Friends of ours have had problems with those.

Mine is made by Kitchen Aid

Submitted by Clifford on June 8, 2015 - 12:51pm.

mike92104 wrote:
You've checked the breaker right?

Yes.
The repair guy came out & said that it's the switch that has been burned out.

It will be $60 for a new switch & $100 for labor.

Submitted by Clifford on June 8, 2015 - 12:53pm.

It is true that built-in fridges have to be "serviced" regularly (like cleaning the compressor coil ...)

I was told that needs to be done every 2 years at about $200 each time.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on June 8, 2015 - 1:09pm.

Hatfield wrote:
XBoxBoy wrote:
he suggested rebuilding it. For a couple grand.

Find a new repair guy. There's not a lot of black magic to a refrigerator. It's a closed system with refrigerant, which might have leaked out. Unlikely, but there's a test for that. There's also a radiator which might be caked in dust or ice, which would prevent heat transfer. That would cause it to never stop running. There's a compressor that circulates the refrigerant. There's a logic board that decides when to run the compressor. There's also some logic for the defrost cycle for the freezer. There might be a heating element for that. There's not a lot to "rebuild."

Wasn't a built in fridge, but I once had a standalone that ran all the time. Repair guy came out. This particular fridge had a mechanical cam on a clock motor, with a little finger that felt the cam so it knew to run the defrost cycle every X hours. Well the cam had broken, so defrost never ran, and the radiator iced over, preventing heat exchange from occurring. He charged me $5 for a new plastic cam and $95 for the service call. That's the kind of guy you want to hire. I'd give you this guy's number but he since has retired.

That was in a rental unit. Our place has a GE Profile fridge. While it was still under warranty, the ice maker and water thing in the door stopped working. The GE repair guy came out, played with it a bit, rolled the fridge out, removed a little panel in the back, and took out a circuit board maybe 4" x 4." Popped in a new circuit board, everything works again. I asked him how much the service call would have cost had the fridge not been under warranty. "Lemme look that up!" he says. $430. "Say, can I have that old circuit board?" I ask. Googled the part number, found it on eBay for $45.

Find a repair guy who doesn't need to "rebuild" you fridge to fix it.

I agree completely.. But that applies to just about anything -- cars, home construction, etc...

Guys in the trade need to make a living too, hahaha

They charge for their knowledge.

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