I PERFORM A POST MORTEM ON A KITCHEN-AID REFRIGERATOR COMPRESSOR INVERTER
Lately, I’ve been seeing more inverter failures on inverter boards, especially on Kitchen-aid brands. An inverter is simply a device that takes 120 VAC in, then converts it into a DC voltage and chops it up into 3 phases. It’s there to make the EPA happy since they feel that our older style refrigerators with AC compressors are just too in-efficient.
The inverter refrigerators use variable speed compressors, so that the speeds vary according to the heat-load in the box. Ideally, such a compressor would run almost continually as a low speed setting to maintain correct temperature.
Here’s the inside of a typical inverter:
Of course, looking at the plastic case these electronics are encased in would give you no clue as to what happened, but if you were to open it up this gives an idea what’s up inside.
There’s a few ways to verify if the inverter has gone bad; First, is there 120 VAC to the inverter? Second, is there anywhere between 3 to 12 VDC to it? Third, do you have continuity of approx, 7 ohms between all 3 pins on the compressor? If so, its a pretty sure bet the inverter is bad.
These boards go from anywhere between $150 and $275. Conversely, if your refrigerator uses and older style AC Compressor, a typical start device (the counter-part of an inverter) is about 60 bucks. Its not as efficient as an inverter style box so you can expect to pay about $20 bucks per year to run it.
A SCAM TO WATCH OUT FOR
A few weeks ago I had an informal lunch meeting with my Fisher and Paykel Tech rep Matt. He’s a young guy that comes from an appliance repair family. (His dad was a servicer and Matt got into it, following in Dad’s footsteps). So, over fish and chips and ale at Penny Lane in San Marcos, we amicably chatted about many things. We got along just peachy. Once the subject of honesty and integrity came up, Matt told me a tale that was amazing and I feel you all ought to know what happens out there.
This is a simple enough scam that reaps a “servicer” as much as $1000 a day without doing a thing!!!
Without naming names, these servicers are usually Russian or Ukranian. I don’t want to cast aspersions on a group as a whole, but from what I hear from my customers… well, to coin an old saying: “If the shoe fits, wear it.” I’ve heard enough horror tales from my customers about there guys and it seems they are invariably of that Geo-political suasion.
You call the company and they tell you their diagnostic or service fee is quite high (usually $75 to $95 dollars) They come out and (often without even opening up their tool bag) tell you it will cost you an OUTRAGEOUSLY ASTRONIMICAL fee to get it repaired.
You being a reasonable, rational and level headed person out of hand will reject the appraisal, you pay them their “fee” and they leave.
And that’s it. You’ve just been scammed.
Here’s the scam.
They (the servicers from the company) really had no intention of ever fixing your appliance from the get-go. In many cases, they have no skill or experience on your high end whateveritis.
ALL THEY WERE LOOKING FOR WAS THE SERVICE OR THE DIAGNOSTIC FEE that you paid them for coming out and “diagnosing” your problem. If they make 8-10 service calls each day, spending no more that about 15 minutes in your home, they’ve just made as much as $900 in a day for essentially doing nothing!
They make it a point to quote you an OUTRAGEOUS price to assure that you wont be calling them to fix your machine. And, even if you were ever foolish enough to actually have them fix the machine, you can bet on even money that they just won’t show up. I have heard this from my own customers.
But how on earth can they possibly survive in this age of social media and online reviews you may ask…
Well, these guys know that with this lousy “service” they provide, very negative reviews are bound to arise, but Aha! They are ahead of you there. They pay hefty sums of money to SEO (search engine optimization) companies to monitor their name and websites to constantly scrub and bury negative content on a daily basis.
What can you do to protect yourself from these pirates? Tough question. Check them out from top to bottom. Ask your friends. Call the BBB. Ask them a lot of questions and see if they seem to know what they’re talking about.
Sometimes you have to go by a gut feeling. I’ve often heard these guys described by my customers as arrogant, condescending, and rude. Often seeming to be in a rush to get out of the house with your check for their service call.
It’s a real shame these guys prey on unsuspecting customers. It gives the rest of us who are trying to provide honest service a bad name.
IF YOU”RE LOOKING TO ONLY BUY PARTS:
We’ve been having problems with Google. Seems they have grouped us in with appliance parts retailers. Sorry but we don’t sell parts. Instead, try Coast Parts in E San Marcos or Appliance Parts Center in W Escondido. They’re very busy dealing with the Trade, so be sure to have the Brand and Model number ready, and try as best you can to know the correct name for the part you need. (“that little thingie that spins round and round”, ain’t gonna cut it.)
Now, what we do:
Bob at Coastal Appliances, is a former aeronautics and manufacturing engineering and maintenance technician, who’s now providing appliance repairs and at a fair and reasonable price.
Click on the “BLOG” link (in the LH Column) to watch all our other fun and informative videos and posts:
(Watch our latest video here)
Please visit the Services page to find what brands we regularly service. We routinely service most Bosch (not refrigeration), Dacor, DCS, Kitchenaid, Fisher & Paykel, Some Viking products, Whirlpool, Maytag, Sub-Zero… to name a few. We also service most disposals, icemakers, wine storage units, outdoor heating and cooking.
Since 2000 we’ve been providing acclaimed repairs in the North County and Northern San Diego proper. We really love it when a customer tells a friend about the great service you got here, so we’ll do our best! We usually schedule your service call within two business days.
Coastal Appliance, Heating & Air Inc, is a home office, locally owned, licensed and insured facility that provides primarily in-home services. We can ease the burden of costly repairs. How? We’re small, no leased commercial property, and little overhead.
Be it washer, dryer, range, oven, microwave, dishwasher, whatever… We do (most of it) it all.
At Coastal Appliance we know you deserve to be treated fairly and honestly by a knowledgeable and courteous technician. We hear from you and WE GET IT.
Coastal Appliances is a well established business in the local San Diego County area.
Here on our website you’re going to find lots of FREE REPAIR INFORMATION. We invite the Do-It-Yourselfer’s to visit the “Hints and Tips” page for practical advice to help you decide if you need a service person, or maybe it’s something you feel you can tackle yourself.
We also have a links to listings of Error Codes available for you to download if you’re seeking to get to the root of that problem.
Go to: (http://www.repairclinic.com) Search words: Error Codes
Most of our customers confidently call us back and recommend us to their friends. In fact, about 70% of our work is from repeat business or friend referrals! They know we’ll treat them right too! And to ALL our repeat customers, a great big THANK YOU!
TELL EVERYONE WHAT YOU THINK! Please be kind…
We’re Factory-Authorized Fisher & Paykel, DCS, Staber and U-Line servicers.
Your satisfaction is my concern. I get it and I want you to be satisfied with the work I do. When I take your job, it becomes my problem.