help me help my freezer?

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andrew
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help me help my freezer?

Post by andrew » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:20 am

I don't know if this is the place to solicit energy-saving tips, but my freezer is out of control. It's a newer model GE Hotpoint, I don't know cubic ft. but it's fridge/freezer that stands about 5'3". I set the dial in the fridge (no dial in freezer) on '0,' the least cold setting (scale says 1 - 9, nine being the 'coolest'), and it still runs almost all the time, even in winter when my apartment is cooler. The freezer makes very brittle ice. I filled the freezer compartment with bags of ice, thinking that might help with efficiency, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference.

How can I tighten the reins on this beast?

shawn
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Location: Ithaca, NY

re: help me help my freezer?

Post by shawn » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:56 pm

Guess list:
1. Water is condensing on the thermostat, so it's always warmer than its surroundings, so the refrigerator always thinks its warmer than it is. I have no idea how this could happen, except that it is more humid than it has ever been (darn Global Humidifying).
2. The thermostat isn't working. Happens on cars all the time, right? Go to the mini-golf course and find that Maytag repairman. If he's not there, he's at the ice cream parlor.
3. Whatever controls the defrost cycle is going crazy. This is the most worrisome possibility, since the defrost cycle, which should only run for a few minutes a day, uses 300-500 Watts, much more than the 50-75 W used by the compressor, which should run about 4 hours a day, intermittently, in the summer. Upshot: time to buy a new refrigerator.
No matter what the problem, if it's under warranty, you should get it fixed. If the warranty has run out, it's old enough to be replaced by a refrigerator that will save you money. The fact that there's no control in the freezer makes me think this is a cheap or old unit that needs to be taken out and shot. Make sure to get the freon drained by the city, not that guy whom I saw just letting it out into the atmosphere on 7th Ave. If it's more than 10 years old, it should certainly be retired.
One way to diagnose it would be to plug it into a watt-meter; if it's sucking lots of juice (>300W), the defrost cycle is going haywire. if it's duty-cycle is high (>60%), then it's working too hard and needs to be better insulated or replaced.
Putting store-bought ice in the freezer may actually make it work harder, if the ice is warmer than the freezer. Putting ice in the warmer section should make it work less, yes, unless the ice is exposed and humidifying the inside. Putting ice above the whole thing or on the back next to the coils should make it very efficient.

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