October 7th, 2014
Well it’s not all that interesting however I had another job involving a Whirlpool / Kitchen-aid / Kenmore branded refrigerator.
Complaint: Fresh Food box is warm but the Freezer is ok. If your refrigerator has electronic controls this problem is probably going to happen to you. If your refrigerator is older with mechanical controls you’re ok (lucky you).
Symptoms: Compressor is running; fans are running, but if you place your hand at the upper left rear corner of the fresh food box where the vent is located you will feel little or no airflow from the freezer section. The problem is that the motorized damper has failed.
The damper has a louvre that slides open and closed driven by a motor with an eccentric cam attached to it. This louvre has a ridiculously thin and fragile web of plastic that is driven open and closed by the motorized cam. It breaks with only the slightest resistance. I’m not really clear on why this louvre binds up but my best guess is that ice forms on the louvre and it “freezes” things in position and trying to force the louvre open or closed will cause that frail web to snap, rendering the mechanism useless.
I’m trying to figure out if this part can be fortified in any way to provide more strength so it wont snap as easily. I’ve discovered that this problem tends to surface when the humidity is high, or the door is left open for long periods of time, or the door seals aren’t sealing well. I’m really surprised that Whirlpool has let this design flaw go on as long as it has. Of course, it’s possible that the failure may be attributable to something else, such as a bad control module, or faulty thermister, or even a bad damper motor, but EVERY time is see this problem, THIS is what has happened.