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Old 08-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Kegerator having major frost issues

I'm at a loss here on my kegerator. I have it in a closet on the other side of my bar so I can run the beer line in and have it come from the tap on the other side of the wall.

Recently I had a seal issue on my door and that's what I thought was causing all the ice build up on the freezer, but after fixing and defrosting I am still having it. It's so bad that the ice is dripping when I open the door and the temps won't dip below 50 no matter what setting I use.

I've fixed the seal and even foam insulated the hole where the beer line exits the back of the fridge.

Is it possible that the the beer line is conducting heat back into the fridge? Maybe I need to wrap the beer line outside of the fridge in insulation?

Totally at a loss here. This fridge was a PITA to get into the closet and pulling it out to check would be no easy task, but it's looking like it might have to happen.

Any sage advice before going that route?

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #2
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Moisture has to come from somewhere.

I feel your pain.

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:48 PM   #3
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There might not be enough space between the fridge and the walls, you could try putting a fan behind the fridge to get some air movement back there for the compressor to cool down some.

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Old 08-18-2012, 12:48 AM   #4
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I think HD is on the right track. Modern fridges have their evaporators in the outside walls and they need air circulation to work right. If they are running too much, then the unit will breath in moisture no matter how sealed it is.

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:02 AM   #5
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Sounds like it worked fine before you put it in the closet -- correct?

As pointed out by other posters, the heat from the compressor has to go somewhere. With the fridge enclosed in a closet, it is going to get pretty toasty in there. Might try moving the fridge a bit so it can bet some ventilation, open the closet door, set-up a fan to circulate air and see if that helps. If so, then ventilation is your issue. Relevant technical point: most fridges/compressors are rated for how low they can drop the temp relative to the ambient temp, if you raise the ambient temp (by reducing ventilation) then temps inside the fridge are going to go up too.

Another possibility, it was tough to get the fridge into the closet -- did anything get damaged in the process? if you nicked or crimped a refrigerant tube then that could cause the same sort of issue too.

I seriously doubt a beer line would conduct enough thermal energy to make a big difference.

The next owners of your place are going to be really puzzled why someone would ever install a ventilation fan in closet!

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:42 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I'll give the fan a shot and see what happens.

It shouldn't be damaged, it worked fine for awhile but lately it's been doing this so my guess is the changes I made in the closet are causing it.

I'll post some pics when I work on in tomorrow.

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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I just worked through a similar issue with my kitchen fridge. The first symptom I noticed was that the fridge part was slowly getting warmer over the course of a day. I did some research online and decided to access the coils, which on my model is done through a panel at the back of the freezer. Freezer/fridges generally work by having the cooling unit in the freezer cabinet and having a duct running up into the fridge.

Fridge temperature is regulated by controlling the flow of freezer air up the duct and into the fridge (One cause for the fridge warming up is if the air return from the fridge back down into the freezer being blocked by a carton/tupperware,etc in the fridge; this was not the case for me). I emptied out my freezer and saw ice crystals built up on the access panel over the cooling unit. I removed the access panel and found that the coils were completely iced over. The freezer was maintaining temp due to the mass of frozen items in it, as well as the mass of iced over coils, but this was nearly completely inhibiting cold air from circulating through the fridge. I used a hairdryer to melt the majority of the ice on the coils. This took about 15 minutes.

There is a auto defrosting system on modern fridges that has three parts: a heating element that usually runs through the coils, a switch that turns the element on and off, and a timer that tells the switch when to turn on the element. Any one of these things can go bad. You can test the element easily with an ohm meter by running it across both wires from the element. If you get a reading, then the circuit in the element is good. Unplug your fridge before doing any of this by the way. The timer for my fridge is behind the "kicker" grill at the very bottom of the fridge (outside of the cabinets, right above the floor) it is a little square box with a tiny red knob with a line through it. Mine was spinning, so I knew it was good. I didn't know how to test the switch, which is mounted right above the coils, and has one lead from the element running through it. Given the 50 pounds of salmon and halibut that was now sitting on my kitchen floor, I decided to put the whole thing back together and see how long it would run before icing over. If it iced over again, I planned on just ordering the defrost switch and replacing it. This was about one month ago and the problem has not returned.

In my situation, I think maybe something had held the freezer door open overnight and allowed excess condensation to freeze on the coils. In your case, it seems you have ruled out that possibility, so it should be fairly easy to troubleshoot the defrost system like I did. The hairdryer is the key, as you will have to have the unit unplugged for hours the melt the ice to access the defrost element without it. There are a lot of message boards on line with pictures of the this whole process. Start by searching the model of your fridge with an appropriate search query.

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewD
I just worked through a similar issue with my kitchen fridge. The first symptom I noticed was that the fridge part was slowly getting warmer over the course of a day. I did some research online and decided to access the coils, which on my model is done through a panel at the back of the freezer. Freezer/fridges generally work by having the cooling unit in the freezer cabinet and having a duct running up into the fridge.

Fridge temperature is regulated by controlling the flow of freezer air up the duct and into the fridge (One cause for the fridge warming up is if the air return from the fridge back down into the freezer being blocked by a carton/tupperware,etc in the fridge; this was not the case for me). I emptied out my freezer and saw ice crystals built up on the access panel over the cooling unit. I removed the access panel and found that the coils were completely iced over. The freezer was maintaining temp due to the mass of frozen items in it, as well as the mass of iced over coils, but this was nearly completely inhibiting cold air from circulating through the fridge. I used a hairdryer to melt the majority of the ice on the coils. This took about 15 minutes.

There is a auto defrosting system on modern fridges that has three parts: a heating element that usually runs through the coils, a switch that turns the element on and off, and a timer that tells the switch when to turn on the element. Any one of these things can go bad. You can test the element easily with an ohm meter by running it across both wires from the element. If you get a reading, then the circuit in the element is good. Unplug your fridge before doing any of this by the way. The timer for my fridge is behind the "kicker" grill at the very bottom of the fridge (outside of the cabinets, right above the floor) it is a little square box with a tiny red knob with a line through it. Mine was spinning, so I knew it was good. I didn't know how to test the switch, which is mounted right above the coils, and has one lead from the element running through it. Given the 50 pounds of salmon and halibut that was now sitting on my kitchen floor, I decided to put the whole thing back together and see how long it would run before icing over. If it iced over again, I planned on just ordering the defrost switch and replacing it. This was about one month ago and the problem has not returned.

In my situation, I think maybe something had held the freezer door open overnight and allowed excess condensation to freeze on the coils. In your case, it seems you have ruled out that possibility, so it should be fairly easy to troubleshoot the defrost system like I did. The hairdryer is the key, as you will have to have the unit unplugged for hours the melt the ice to access the defrost element without it. There are a lot of message boards on line with pictures of the this whole process. Start by searching the model of your fridge with an appropriate search query.
Wow, thanks for taking the time to help me out. That's awesome info to get me in the right direction.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #9
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Here's the pics I took this morning of my setup. You can see the fridge in the closet and the tap coming out the other side.

The last pic is the access door I have to get at the shank, etc. you can see (sorta) the coils of the fridge as it is backed up right to the wall almost.

I'm defrosting now and then I'll leave the access door open as well as add a fan to the closet and see if that helps.

If that doesn't solve the problem then it looks like I'll start troubleshooting the auto defrost as per Andrew's post.

The fridge has been in this closet for about 7 years with there being about 4 where it was off and not running at all. Since starting to HomeBrew I've revved it back up and have been seeing these issues.

image-239393108.jpg   image-4151063082.jpg   image-1316191086.jpg   image-3561479266.jpg  
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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ARE YOU CRAZY?! There's a Coors Light can in your fridge! Homebrewers do not let other homebrewers know that they drink cheap American beer.

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