Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fridge repairs — a 12-step program

Due most likely to the “C” (as I wrote about here a few days ago), my freezer door ice and water dispenser stopped working properly this past weekend.

Yesterday I decided to see if I could fix it myself.

1. Navigated to the manufacturer’s web site, entered model number, click “Parts and Service” and eventually got to an actual parts list and drawing of my fridge. But the reference numbers on the drawing didn’t match the numbers on the parts list, so I didn’t know what to order.

2. Called the 800 number (BIG mistake). Listened to prompts, followed prompts to dead ends, interminable music on hold, additional prompts, and finally a live human being(!). Explained the problem with the numbers not matching up on THEIR OWN WEB SITE, and was offered a transfer to “retail parts.” That’s who I thought I HAD.

3. Accepted the offered transfer, heard music briefly, then ringing. The ringing went on for over ten (10) minutes. I timed it. No one ever answered. I hung up.

4. Got smart and called a LOCAL appliance parts and repair place. They immediately knew what I needed, but said I had to bring in my old, broken part so they could match it up. Otherwise I might get one that was similar but wouldn’t work. Knowing that Murphy is alive and well, I attacked the fridge.

5. The part in question was a water valve that sends water to both the ice maker and the in-door dispenser. Yes, I turned off the water supply first, and unplugged the fridge, as neither a drenching nor electrocution was in my short-range plans. This water valve assembly is located at floor level in the back of the fridge behind a fiber panel.

6. From a reclining position on the floor, I was able to remove the old valve with minimal damage to self and fridge. Drove to appliance repair store and matched up parts. The new one was not quite identical to the old, but very similar.

7. Drove home. Reclined on the floor. Connected the water supply line and dispenser lines. Checked for leaks. (None!!) Almost done! Connected the electric plugs. Tried to attach the new valve assembly to the mounting bracket, but...

8. Darn! This new bracket is different and doesn’t line up. Removed plumbing and electrical connections. Removed the mounting bracket from the old valve. Determined that it won’t fit on the new valve.

9. Adjourned to garage work room (more tools out there!) Adapted the old bracket (through drilling of holes and judicious bolting) to connect it to the new valve. Feeling very satisfied, returned to the fridge and reclined on the now cold, very hard tile floor.

10. Reconnected plumbing and electrical connections. Tested same. Still no leaks(!!). Quickly learned that with the old mounting bracket attached, given the fact that the new valve is slightly different from the old one, the new assembly will not fit in the space the old one came out of.

11. Sat up on the cold, hard tile floor and stared at the fridge and the valve. Made sure Carol was not in earshot and then proceeded to tell the fridge, the new valve, the kitchen, the house, and the rest of the world exactly what I thought of ALL of them at that moment. Considered leaving the fridge in a permanently water-free state.

12. Came to the conclusion that manual ice-making would likely NOT be an activity Carol would find desirable. Took another look at the problem and realized that I could make enough room by cutting out some of the hard foam insulation in that area, so did so. Valve now fit! Mounted the assembly, cleaned up behind the fridge and pushed it back in place. Project complete!

Yes, everything now works. No, it hasn’t started leaking... YET.

We’ll see how long it takes the “C” to attack something else!


Karyn Lyndon said...

You rock!!!

Duke_of_Earle said...

Oh, yeah. Just call me, "Mr. Home Improvement - the new Tim Allen."


robotJAM said...

I'm impressed, my favourite phrases used in your job are:-

"minimal damage"

"judicious bolting"

All good DIY jobs should have those phrases and possibly "a minor gas leak" or "a small electrical problem" or perhaps maybe "not much structural damage".

Duke_of_Earle said...


Back in my Navy pilot days, one of my favorite euphemisms for a "safe landing" (often referred to as any landing you walked away from) was "...with less than strike damage to aircraft or self."

"Strike damage" was the navy's way of saying the aircraft was "totaled."


Hale McKay said...

Comfounded cooling contraptions.