Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gratefulness After Frustration

In a week of frustration over a freezer/fridge that won't get cold... and a hardwood kitchen floor with cupped boards that got water damaged... I was grateful to finally find an appliance repair business who would take our side by side unit in for repair.

It started with an ice maker that wouldn't make ice.  The cupped maple floor boards told us there was a water leak.  Damn!  I fixed the broken water tube... but noticed the condenser fan was not working and the compressor was hot as a pistol.

Since we were going to Kelowna the next day I called an appliance repair shop there and they told me to bring the fan and housing unit to them and they would put a new fan in the old housing. So that was an easy fix.  Unfortunately, it was not the only the problem.  Soon after the new fan was installed we noticed soft food in the freezer section.

I called my Kelowna contact and they said the next level of solutions was not going to be anything I could do myself.  If there was a compressor gone... or a leak in the system, it would involve freon gas and specialized equipment for experienced servicemen to do the work.  I could see big costs coming.

Living on an small island we do not have any appliance repairmen here.  To have one come from Vancouver Island starts with a service call of approximately $200 before they touch the appliance... at which time their hourly rate of $65 to $80 an hour kicks in... plus parts, if they happen to have the right ones with them.  It sometimes means two trips to complete the repair.  So you can see why most of them said to just go buy a new one.

I called 8 places before finding someone who would take our freezer/fridge to look at it.  Either they would not touch Frigidaires or they had no service shop.  Many appliance repairmen only do service work in customer's homes.

I had three different repairmen tell me that since our appliance was 9 years old it wasn't worth fixing... better off to buy a new one.  I know it would take well over $2,000 to replace it... so I was not liking their advice.

Even the guys who I took our appliance to told me first off it may not be worth fixing... But I argued with them and asked them to at least take a look at it and do a diagnosis for me.  They said if there was a leak in the system, chuck it.

So, we loaded the heavy beast onto the truck.  Thank the Lord for tractors with a front end loader.  I regret not taking a photo of that huge fridge on my little tractor... but we were really pushed for time if we were going to catch the next ferry.

We had to take off the front door to get the fridge out... and with all this last minute moving we almost missed the 11:15 ferry.  They were closing the gates when we got there, but they let us on. Pheeeew!

It took five guys to unload the fridge off the truck in town.  But the best news was my timing could not have been better.  I got to meet and talk with the actual repairman.  His name is Min.  He was available to start my job right away.  He put the fridge on a hoist... lifted it up 42 inches and did a quick diagnosis.

First he checked for leaks.  It was amazing to see how he could put a device on and attach gauges and verify the freon level was good and there were no leaks.  He saw that the compressor had overheated and was toast.  So he thinks that changing that part will have us back up and working again.  He likely completed the repairs on Friday... but wanted to keep the fridge there for a couple of days and confirm everything is working perfectly.

They have electronic equipment and computers that monitor the appliance after repair and produce a graph on paper that verifies if everything is working normally.  So in 24 hours they will know for sure it is fixed.

I am hoping that $500 will have it repaired... and that is a lot better than buying a new replacement.

So we are grateful to know we have found the solution... and that it made sense to repair it.  If it all checks out we can pick it up on Monday.

I expect that I will be taking up the kitchen floor and replace the hardwood with tile.  Even if the wood dries out and the boards return to normal we pulled the fridge in and out so many times the wheels wore a track into the hardwood finish that is not fixable.  Tile will be a better solution.  The area is not that big so I can do it pretty easily.


  1. Sherwin your persistence is one of the traits I most admire in you. Great job on the fridge.

  2. Make sure you put the right material under the tile. At our last house, someone thought the "right material" was particle board. We discovered this when we came back after a weekend trip to a sopping wet kitchen. The little water connector on the back of the fridge was leaking. When we pulled the fridge out to turn off the water the tile cracked under the weight of the fridge. The water had soaked through the grout and softened the particle board. Oops! :-(

  3. Thank you Brent. Good point.