Fixing the Fridge

My family owns a Whirlpool side-by-side fridge (model ED25RFXFW03) that came with the house when we bought it four years ago. It died within the first week, but a repairman was able to fix it for about $150. Problem solved.

Well, the stupid thing died again this week, but it mattered a little more this time since we have a nearly two-year-old little girl who eats things like milk, yogurt, lunch meat, and cheese. You know — things that like to be cold?

As a result, last night turned into a search-fest on this-here series of tubes we like to call the Internet (after I threw all the somewhat-still-frozen foods into our deep freeze out in the garage, of course…). I thought the compressor had died or something, so I started calling around for potential repairs. Sears has a pretty decent protection plan that will cover you for all parts and labor for 12 months at about $250, but they couldn’t get a tech to the house for nearly two weeks — unsatisfactory! Other places were closed on a late Friday night, and the answering machines said they were closed weekends, too. I did some comparison shopping on a new fridge, which seemed to start around $800 for a comparable model. Crap.

Luckily, as my wife and I were talking about the symptoms after I ran to the store for ice and we packed the cold food into coolers. She remembered the symptoms of the last breakdown were similar — lights still on, and the fridge pretty much sounded the same except for a “click – buzz – click” every couple of minutes. That turned out to be the key. A few minutes of Googling later, I found an article that described the sound and what it most likely meant — the compressor’s start relay had most likely fried itself. Same problem we had last time. So I found the Compressor Start Device part kit online at AppliancePartPros.com so I knew what I would be looking for, then found a local appliance part store that was open on weekends. They had a similar kit in stock, and a short bit of running around and futzing with the fridge, it seems to be working again. The only thing of note is that I was replacing an older design with a newer one, and the kit I bought didn’t include a short adapter wire I needed so I had to make one myself with a couple of spade connectors.

Whirlpool and others really should come up with a different design than this one — the stupid relay just cooks itself until a key part disintegrates. But at least now I know exactly what to do — and I’ll be ordering a spare relay to keep on hand as a spare!

About Neil

Happy husband. Proud father. Systems engineering consultant, and former U.S. Air Force officer. A music fan, science fiction nut, geek, and die-hard Mac user who grudgingly deals with Windows at work only because his employer and clients aren’t enlightened enough to move to Mac OS X.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply