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My freezer and refrigerator are too warm and I want to know why so I can fix it or at least not be swindled by a repairman. The fans work. The evaporator obviously does make the air colder given the ice shown in the picture. I melted the ice with water now the ice is returning. There is a strange smell faintly like burnt rubber in the freezer. Manually activating the defrost timer turns off the fans. If there is any other necessary diagnostic information necessary please let me know. Which component is broken in my refrigeration unit?

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    Wrong question. What you should ask is "Who can recommend a reliable repair shop in my town?" – Carl Witthoft Mar 28 '16 at 14:25
  • One thing to check in cases like this for ice buildup somewhere inaccessible, overloading the defrost system. – Chris H Mar 28 '16 at 15:00
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    @CarlWitthoft recommending repair shops is off topic here. – BMitch Mar 28 '16 at 15:50
  • @BMitch It may well be off-topic here, but it's exactly what the OP should be asking (somewhere) – Carl Witthoft Mar 28 '16 at 18:55
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The easy thing to try replacing is the thermistor, they are cheap and you just cut the old one out and then crimp a new one on the wires. Biggest challenge is usually finding where they are hidden in your fridge (you'll often have 3, maybe more, and any of them can be bad), but it looks like you've opened things up enough to see them. Look for any small piece of plastic on the end of two wires, I've seen them 1" long by 1/4" in diameter. They'll be clipped on to the defrost piping, and probably somewhere else high, possibly behind the track that the shelves hang on, or near a vent.

I'd also check all the gaskets on the door to make sure you're getting a tight seal. If these first two checks come up empty, then I'd personally throw in the towel and buy something new assuming the fridge is older than 8 or so years.

If it's an old fridge, then you may be looking at low refrigerant and that isn't typically fixable in a refrigerator. The ice is an indication to me that this could be your issue, and if so, I'd find out if there's any way to recharge the refrigerant on your unit and that the repair man can do this before making a service call. Otherwise, that's just throwing away money.

One last possibility is a bad control board. They can be swapped out, but aren't cheap compared to the price of a new fridge, and I think the odds that this is your issue are relatively small. If you attempt to replace this, consider buying one from somewhere that lets you return it for a refund.

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    I agree with low freon being a possibility but with the probe being bedded in ice the unit may think it is at temp. So the first step would be to totally defrost the evaporator coil and dry it off, I have read that spraying open coils with Pam cooking spray helps to slow the frost buildup. Units can be recharged but with R134a once they get really hot it is cheaper to replace the whole thing. – Ed Beal Mar 28 '16 at 18:09
  • "If it's an old fridge, then you may be looking at low refrigerant and that isn't typically fixable in a refrigerator." - I think this was unfortunately the correct response. I recharged it and the refrigerator worked every time I charged it for a few days. – haleonj Aug 1 '19 at 15:15

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