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Old 11-27-2019, 07:31 PM
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Good news: My fridge did not burn my house down


Bad news: Some foods will spoil. Well, at least my house did not burn down.

Late Monday night, weird noises started coming from the back of the fridge, and there was a weird smell--sort of like ozone. Things settled down, and the fridge kept working; but on Tuesday morning, the noises and smell were back. I called a nearby appliance repair place.

The repairman came today. You know things are not good when he takes a look with his professional eye, and says, "Holy shit!" Turns out that some part with wires attached (don't ask me what it was) was pretty much melted. He unplugged the fridge, and told me that I was lucky that it didn't cause a fire.

He can get another replacement part, but it has to be ordered. He expects it to be in by Friday, and he can come to install it then. In the meantime, I'm doing the best I can by putting some frozen and other foods in containers on the back deck outside--it's about minus-12C (10F) outside, so they should be okay.

But still. I got very lucky. A few spoiled food items are better than a burned-down house.
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:08 PM
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With weather like that, who needs a fridge?
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:18 PM
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With weather like that, who needs a fridge?
Keeps food from freezing.


Last edited by running coach; 11-27-2019 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:03 PM
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Wow. Scary. Glad you're okay and your house, as well.
You know, the nose knows- as my ol' Granny used to say.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:32 PM
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Glad you're ok, losing one's house to a fire is one of those experiences that I'm sure most of us are happy to do without.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:36 PM
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Hey, at least I'm enjoying my all-natural ice cubes: "Frozen to perfection by Mother Nature herself."

Beck, it was a weird odor. The best I could do was characterize it as ozone, but I really didn't know for sure. As the repairman told me, it was actually the smell of melting bakelite--which, never having smelled melting bakelite before, I couldn't be expected to recognize. At any rate, I guess I could recognize it now.

Nava, thanks. Yes, and you are correct. Naturally, I carry fire insurance on the house, but I don't ever want to make a claim on it.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:57 PM
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Since I can't see worth a damn, and I hear even less, I feel pretty much next to useless. With my whacked out sinuses, I can't breathe very well with my nose. But I can SMELL stuff!

If something smells weird (burned, overcooked, natural gas*, actual stink), I not only get up and go look, I enlist anyone else in the house to help me look.

Burned can be a dying appliance like the fridge in the OP, or an outside fire, or a candle in the next room. That's why I have banished candles from my house.

Overcooked can be something left in the oven, or Mr VOW has the burner turned too high again.

Now, I understand natural gas has no smell, but it is "odorized" so you can (hopefully) detect a leak. With the electronic ignition stovetop burners, I can't hear the "tick-tick-tick". I could bump a burner and the ignition might try to light the gas, but it isn't always successful. And then we got gas seeping from the stovetop! If I smell gas, I'm gonna go looking!

The actual stink means the cat has used the litter box, my daughter's dog has had another episode of the runs, there's a rotten potato lurking in the kitchen (oh GAWD...). Stink means there's a mess to clean up.

Trust your nose. If something doesn't smell right, that means a PROBLEM somewhere, and you need to go look!


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Old 11-27-2019, 11:14 PM
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Scary stuff Spoons! Glad everything's fine.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:40 PM
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Whoa. Glad everything is okay!
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:12 AM
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Scary stuff Spoons! Glad everything's fine.
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Whoa. Glad everything is okay!
It is, for now. The unplugged fridge presents no danger, the appliance repair place called today to say that they ordered the part and it should be in by tomorrow (but given the weather we've been having, I wonder about that). At any rate, I hope the fridge can be fixed before the weekend.

On the other hand, Mother Nature's ice cubes are doing wonders for my whisky by the fire. Gotta look at the bright side, right?
  #11  
Old 11-29-2019, 07:35 AM
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Sounds like a relay (or contactor). Lots of wires going in and out. Under normal operation it sparks each time the fridge turns on or off, but the contacts can weld together or get covered in carbon and cause other issues. Very easily replaceable and usually either molded in hard plastic (or have a hard plastic cover if mounted on the compressor). That hard plastic cover/molding would account for the bakelite smell and the sparking would create the ozone.

I'd also say it could be the defrost timer, but those don't tend to go out in such a grandiose fashion.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:09 AM
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Glad you (and your stuff) are OK.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:59 AM
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Glad you're ok Spoons. I suppose splurging on a new appliance given the sales going on now would be a good idea.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:08 PM
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Could I the OP to divulge the make and model of refrigerator?
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Scary stuff Spoons! Glad everything's fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Whoa. Glad everything is okay!
What they said.

We had to replace the oven and its connector to the natural gas pipe awhile back because both were leaking. Fortunately, this place was so drafty at the time that there was no gas build up.
  #16  
Old 11-29-2019, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Sounds like a relay (or contactor). Lots of wires going in and out. Under normal operation it sparks each time the fridge turns on or off, but the contacts can weld together or get covered in carbon and cause other issues. Very easily replaceable and usually either molded in hard plastic (or have a hard plastic cover if mounted on the compressor). That hard plastic cover/molding would account for the bakelite smell and the sparking would create the ozone.
Joey P, thanks. The repairman did mention a relay, and there were wires going in and out of the thing. Thanks again; now I understand the problem better. And it's good to know that it's an easy fix.

Quote:
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Could I the OP to divulge the make and model of refrigerator?
According to the label inside the fridge, it's "made for Sears," but there is no indication of the actual manufacturer. Anyway, the model number is 970-602120.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:04 PM
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According to the label inside the fridge, it's "made for Sears," but there is no indication of the actual manufacturer. Anyway, the model number is 970-602120.
It's probably made by Whirlpool, though some of the high-end side-by-side ones are made by LG.

And it might indeed be worthwhile looking at replacing it. New models are more energy efficient, and a refrigerator is one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the house. (Electric dryers & stoves use more energy, but are only used a few times a day, at most. Refrigerators have to keep cold all day & night, so they run much more.)
  #18  
Old 11-30-2019, 10:43 PM
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It's probably made by Whirlpool, though some of the high-end side-by-side ones are made by LG.
Thanks, Tim. Whirlpool would be most likely, I guess, as this one is neither high-end, nor side-by-side.

The part did not arrive by Friday, so I've got a cooler on the back deck, full of things I don't want to lose, packed in with a bag of ice I got at the local liquor store. That serves double-duty, giving me ice for drinks. Never thought I'd say this, but I'm glad that it's quite cold outside (currently minus-11C, or 12 F), which will help keep things frozen. I've pretty much accepted that some things in the fridge part are gone, but it is what it is.

A new fridge would be nice, and one will be necessary sooner than later; but I'm hoping to get a few more years out of this one.
  #19  
Old 12-01-2019, 09:44 AM
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According to the label inside the fridge, it's "made for Sears," but there is no indication of the actual manufacturer. Anyway, the model number is 970-602120.
970 means Frigidaire. Here's a list.
  #20  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:02 AM
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970 means Frigidaire. Here's a list.
Thanks, ftg. So it's a Frigidaire then. (Great list, by the way.)

So we're on to Day 6 of not having a fridge, and I'm starting to get tired of it. I have foods in coolers on the back deck, which is covered in snow, and which means cold winds blasting into my house any time I want something as simple as ice cubes for a drink. Note that the winds are Chinook winds, which are warming things up, but it doesn't mean that they are warm summer winds--they're not very much above freezing. I hope the @#$% part for the fridge arrives soon.

Hell, maybe I should just buy a new fridge.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:24 AM
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:05 AM
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I do wanna try those Mother Nature ice cubes once. Maybe we'll get a frozen day or two this year.
Good luck. I've had my share of fridge problems. Never fun.
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:03 AM
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What Beck said. What a joy it was last august to come home after a week out of town to discover "a wonderful new smell" permeating the house.
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