Kenmore Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Problems - If you own a refrigerator with this style, there are a few things you should be careful about when it comes to maintaining it.
If you are wondering just what a freezer on the bottom means. This is when the freezer portion of the refrigerator is on the bottom and the fridge part is on top. There are many makes and models of this style of fridge now.
We purchased a Kenmore bottom refrigerator, and loved it as soon as we got it home. There just seems to be more room in the fridge section, and the lower freezer has a large capacity.
Problems - But there are a few problems that you should be aware of, no matter what make and model your bottom freezer refrigerator is.
With these newer styles of refrigerator there are vents on the floor just under the freezer section. This is where the motor and compressor draws its air from for operating and cooling. With many people having built in kitchens, it was hard to get air flow to the back of the fridge like with the older models.
Most people once they get that fridge into that tight fitting area between the cabinets don't often pull it out, so with the vents underneath the fridge can get air flow.
This is where the problems can start. I had a Kenmore model, but what happened with mine was somewhat surprising. We have pets, actually 2 dogs and 2 cats. They are not long haired dogs, and I have always swept and vacuumed daily to keep on top of any pet hairs.
Keep the Area Clean Around the Freezer - I would even pull the fridge away from the wall for a good cleaning every few months behind it. When I would pull the fridge away from the wall on its wheels, there was very little dust or debris there at all.
What I didn't realize was happening was that the vent on the front of the fridge, under the freezer, at floor level, was actually drawing in dog hair. You couldn't see it on the front, and I always ran the vacuum over the front of this vent. The vent cover was not designed to really come off, and it always looked clean enough.
Until one summer day, I opened the fridge and the food was getting warm and the fridge was basically not working. This was exactly 2 years after we purchased it.
It was still under warranty for parts only, so I called in a repairman to look at this 2 year old fridge. He did the same thing as me, and pulled it out from the wall and saw no problems, and he looked at the front and saw no problems. So, he unscrewed the vent cover on the front of the fridge.
Pet Hair - That is when we discovered the problems. The dog hair had been getting sucked into the vent openings at the floor level, and then collecting in front of the compressor. You couldn't see it until you got right in behind the vent. There was no screen or anything like that to protect the area. The vent holes are big enough to suck in pet hair, and then it collects by the compressor in a ball. It actually choked off the air supply.
When you pull the fridge out from the wall, the back of the fridge is sealed, and the hair didn't show on the floor anywhere.
So, basically the compressor now overheated, and was done. I was totally shocked and so was the technician. He had seen a few more with the same problem since ours. There really should be some kind of screening behind the vent, not just a opening for air.
Since this vent is located at floor level, this can be a problem for anyone with pets or lots of dust bunnies!. When he opened that vent cover, there was an accumulation of pet hair in the shape of a ball right in front of the compressor.
So, he changed the compressor for me, (expensive!) but it was a downhill battle with that fridge afterwards. I had to leave the vent cover off so I could get the vacuum nozzle right underneath, which made it look ugly, but even with the replacement compressor, the fridge just never worked right after that.
It got to 5 years old, and we had to replace it. I decided to get a older style fridge, but was surprised to see that most of them have gone to this bottom vent. So, I have replaced it with a newer bottom freezer refrigerator, and have tried another make, Samsung seems to be on top of this with a easier to clean vent at the bottom.
Tips - So, if you own a bottom freezer refrigerator, and you own pets, then make sure you can get behind that vent. From the floor level it will look totally clean, but further back is where the pet hair can collect.
Some of the styles are changing the vents to have screens in them so that you can see the screen if it gets dog hair or cat hair caught up in it. You really need to keep on top of these styles of fridge.
With the old styles of refrigerators that had the coils on the back of the fridge, they only took a quick vacuum one in a while, but with these newer styles that have the air vent on the floor, they will suck in everything at floor level.
So, now I am paranoid and actually check under my new fridge with a flashlight. But this requires me to lay right on the floor to do this!
So, as a review of the Kenmore bottom freezer refrigerator, I was not impressed. This Kenmore had design problems.
So, if you own a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom, and also pets, then make sure you check behind that air grill on the bottom near the floor. It could cost you the compressor, which, of course runs your fridge. I couldn't see the hair from the floor level and it wasn't on the floor when I moved it.
So get a flashlight and make sure it is not getting past that grill, and if it is, find a way to take that front grill piece off and get that vacuum right in there with the long nozzle.
Also make sure and take the extended warranty just in case!
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