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My fridge is getting cold enough to quickly produce huge amounts of ice (see picture below) despite being fully defrosted (I used a heat gun) but it can't get below 50° F. Does it matter that all the ice is concentrated on one side/corner and not over the rest of the coils?

If it matters, I spent a solid 2 hours last night fully unclogging a horribly clogged drain hole. I also put an additional fan inside the fridge, trying to circulate more cold air, but it didn't seem to do much.

Does having ice mean my compressor is working? Could it be an issue with my evaporator? Would love ideas of things to check!

Edit: my Fridge uses R134A frozen parts of coil

  • Low coolant: best chioce, if fridge is older than 5 years, is to replace the whole fridge. PS: if on its label is indicated R12 or R134, it cannot be refilled because those gases are outlawed (R12 since '97) – DDS Jul 11 '18 at 9:25
  • @DDS, I guess it depends where you live, r22 is still available and sold on the internet for ~400 to 500 per jug. R134 is only 150$ and I have found it as low as 75$ as long as they are available they have not been outlawed. But cannot be imported or manufactured in the U.S. but is not outlawed. – Ed Beal Jul 11 '18 at 16:05
  • Edit: my fridge uses R134a – wizlog Jul 11 '18 at 16:58
  • Here (EU) R22 isn't available since about 5 years, R134 isn't used in refrigerators any more (R600 is most common). – DDS Jul 11 '18 at 17:13
  • Since the op is in U.S. it may be worth a service call, example the unit has a service port and the vapor pressure is close to the temp/ pressure chart a simple refill may be about 100. If no port one can be added and then depending on the pressure it may be able to just recharge, if the pressure is low it will need to be pumped down and refilled, I think a friend that repairs fridges charges 25 per pound for r134a time is more expensive. I would expect under 300$ and if a really good guy it may be as low as 100$ but defiantly worth a call. Look for references as there are crooks out there. – Ed Beal Jul 11 '18 at 19:29
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That is a sure sign that the refrigerant has leaked out. There is just enough left to freeze over the first bit of the coil as the remnants flash vaporize after passing through the expansion valve due to high suction. If a meter set was connected, one would find low high side pressure and high low side pressure.

If it wasn't a high priced refrigerator or is out of warranty, don't bother with a service call, just replace it. Do not attempt to repair it youself unless you have a EPA 608 or 609 license depending on if it is a R410A or R134A unit.

  • Hi Dan, could you please source your answer? – wizlog Jul 11 '18 at 4:11
  • Why would that part be freezing over at all? Wouldn't the fridge be warming up the rest of the coil? Would I not need to look for the leak? – wizlog Jul 11 '18 at 4:12
  • I can't give a source. You can refer to any source that explains vapor compression refrigeration. I stated why. Yes, it is. The leak would be hard to find without a electronic leak detector due to the low pressure in the system. – Dan D. Jul 11 '18 at 4:14
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    @ChrisH I shouldn't just have someone refill the R134A? The fridge costs $5100 (it's 36" by 84") – wizlog Jul 11 '18 at 16:36
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    Repair, not just refill. But that's worth spending money on, unlike a $200 fridge – Chris H Jul 11 '18 at 16:49

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