Is my refrigerator repairable, gas leaking?

Well I tried defrosting my fridge freezer yesterday, I got it defrosted alright but also managed to put a couple of holes in the plastic freezer part that the gas(freon I assume) runs through. I tried sealing the holes with Araldite but there’s still a small leak somewhere, I might have missed a small hole. Even if I find all the holes am I wasting my time, I think the cooling system works on preassure to keep the unit at a certain temperature so will the preassure be all screwed up and therefore the unit useless?

I think the cooling system works using liquifaction and evapourations (and the associated heat changes involved therein). As long as you’ve not lost loads of the liquid you might be alright, but more than likely some efficency will be lost.

Ahhh yes, I know it well…the butter knife defrosting method.

Most refrigeration repair folks won’t even attempt a repair because when they do it is seldom successful in that particular location.

Time to find a new machine, yours is not long for this world. This time purchase a frost free refrigerator or learn some patience next time you defrost. A pan of hot water in a freezer compartment works well. Keep all butter knives, ice picks and screwdrivers away from the interior of your refer.

Ahhh, the wonders of hindsight :frowning: Thanks for the responses. So am I really dead in the water here or is it worth taking the compartment apart to maybe try and find the leak? I suppose the question I really need an answer to is this :

“If I manage to reseal the holes will it still work”?

It won’t do you any good to seal the hole. Even if you did manage to permanantly and perfectly seal the hole, you would need to add refrigerant, likely R-12 in your case. Yes it is a gas under pressure.

R-12 has been phased out because it has been shown to have adverse effects to the ozone layer. All refrigerants are controlled in the U.S., meaning you can’t acquire them legally and must have the proper training along with rated recovery systems to recharge.

Meaning that to be repaired, the technician needs to fix the hole, vacate the entire system and recharge it with one of the new refrigerants.

Boils down to big bucks with no guarantee of success.

And the answer is: It depends, but the outlook isn’t great.

If you lost only a relatively small percentage of the gas (less than 5%, maybe 10% but that’s pushing it), the fridge would probably still work, and you might never know the difference. The compressor would have to run a little longer to cool the fridge, and you might find that the portion of the evaporator coil (this is the piece you punched a hole in) that is farthest from where the refrigerant comes in doesn’t get as cold as it used to, or cold at all. But it could still work well enough, so to speak.

Note that in this situation, because the compressor will run longer for the equivalent amount of cooling, it will cost you more in electricity, and you get a little more waste heat in the kitchen, which may be good or bad, depending on your climate and season.

If you lose a larger part of the refrigerant, then it may still work, but it won’t have the capacity to cool the entire fridge and freezer. More and more of the evaporator coil will fail to come down to the proper temperature, until even with the compressor running full time, there is not enough cold surface area to cool everything.

And as you lose more refrigerant, I believe the compressor loses some lubrication, as (I think) it is carried along with the refrigerant. So the compressor would likely fail sooner running constantly on a very low charge.

Consider calling a reputable service company. They can quite likely tell you over the phone what a recharge would cost, or if it is even possible. They might be able to give you an estimate on fixing the leak over the phone, but would usually want to see it first. But it probably wouldn’t cost more than $50 to $100 to have them come out, test it, and give you the awful details.

Good luck!