I always thought Fridays were a day for reflection! Perhaps I read that somewhere? Anyway! Mr Thompson in Cupar had different ideas for me! The challenge was set to investigate and put right his appliance fault. On this Samsung RL38SCTB Fridge freezer there was no cooling in the fridge but the freezer temperature was ok. Thankfully...I like a challenge! The Samsung RL38 is an air blow fridge freezer. How this works is that the fridge section takes it's cooling air from the freezer evaporator via the evaporator fan and motor. There are several different issues which can cause the same symptoms here, so, further investigation is always required. With the compressor running, I activated the fridge door switch to check for incoming air flow and fan action. I could hear the fan operating but no air was entering the fridge ducts. On opening the freezer door I was aware of fluffy ice building up around the top right hand side. This is consistent with over cooling in this scenario. On attempting to remove the freezer baskets, I was unable to remove the bottom basket due to a huge build up of ice (frozen water type) believe it or not, there is a difference. So! with the steamer fired up, it was time to go to work. After using the steamer to defrost the ice build up, I was able to remove the lower drawer. The ice build up was significant here which suggests the fault had been developing for some time. After further defrosting I was able to remove the evaporator panels to expose the cooling coil & it's components. It's worth noting! Be careful with the steamer! These appliances are fitted with thermal protection (thermal fuses) and will fail when exposed to excessive temperature. So! If the fault wasn't apparent to me before, it's certainly conclusive now. The fault here is that the drain tray or gutter has become blocked - common with frost free type fridge freezers. But why does this stop the fridge cooling? Good question! Well! The freezer requires 2 ducts to move the air between the sections. The return air duct is very close to the gutter area. If the gutter/drain remains blocked for long enough, the ice will build up high enough to block the duct. As a result, this effectively pressurises the fridge section and stops it's cooling air flow. All sounds easy eh! Great stuff! So tell me then....why has the drain blocked? There are several reasons why a drain/gutter area can block on a Samsung frost free fridge freezer:
Incorrect manufacture or assembly of components
Blocked drain duct grommet
Blocked gutter drain hole
Premature termination of the defrost cycle
The list is not exhaustive however, it covers the main issues concerning this type of fault.
So with Mr Thompson's issue, there were no obvious signs of why the blockage occured! by this I mean there was no visible debris blocking the drain hole or grommet.
In my job, calling on experience is often required to diagnose faults on probable likelihood (rather that findings) With Mr Thompson's appliance, I made the necessary modifications & adjustments based on experience to prevent the same fault reoccurring. Some jobs are best left to the professionals & I believe the eventuality of this repair is indicative of that.
In summary, this type of fault may be considered an easy fix! Perhaps? Perhaps not! Faults becomes easier with experience but only if you've seen them before. Thankfully, I'm confident that the work done to Mr Thompson's Samsung RL38 over under fridge freezer will prevent this fault 're occurring. The up shot of course is - Mr Thompson saves money against the cost of buying a new Samsung fridge freezer. Equally as important, we are reducing waste electrical levels in the Kingdom of Fife with every appliance we repair.
Thanks for reading - have a great weekend.
Image shows the volume of ice building up in the freezer base.
Image showing the process of defrosting the ice build up using steam
Image shows the evaporator cover & fan motor. Air temperature sensor at the top left hand side
Image showing the electrical connections at the rear of the evaporator cover
Image showing the blocked lower air duct (partially defrosted)
Image showing the drain gutter blocked with ice prior to defrosting
Image showing the gutter tray (modified) and drain hole set up
Image showing the drain pipe grommet (modified)
Image showing the original defrost sensor location
Image showing the defrost sensor (new location)
Image showing the freezer evaporator front cover
Image showing the Samsung RL38 appliance data badge located in the fridge (top left hand side)