View Full Version : Adding *****

M Kalisher
04-02-2003, 10:45 PM
I have a 17 year old GE top freezer refrigerator (Model TH23X I think). The freezer section will not go below about -2 degrees C even with maximum setting. I cleaned all the dirt from the condenser fan and the coils. I know the fan works and the compressor works (almost 24 hours a day) and the internal fan works.
I think it just needs a shot of *****, but there might be a small leak somewhere and the repair people I called will not do it unless they check for leaks first. I figure if it leaks it's not worth fixing but I want try a shot to see if that works.
The compressor has a threaded fill valve but I don't have the proper fittings. I would like to know where I might get the proper fitting and the type of ***** to add. It only holds about 5 ounces according to the spec sheet.
If I can make the fridge cool properly I will keep it, otherwise I guess it gets dumped. That would be a shame becaue the interior and exterior look like new.

Thanks for any information!!

05-02-2003, 01:29 AM
If it needs refrigerant...... it has a leak!

Refrigerant does not "wear out", dissipate, or go away. If the system is short of refrigerant, that means that it has escaped into the atmosphere!

Most likely, the compressor is internally damaged and "inefficient", if indeed it is a refrigerant related problem. 90% of all refrgieration system malfunctions have nothing to do with the refrigerant.

If you cleaned "dirty" heat transfer surfaces, I would set the refrigerator and freezer controls both to the normal or "middle" position, and see what happens. the "freezer control merely decreases the amount of cold air that is allowed to duct from the freezer compartment where the evaporator is located into the refrigerator compartment. The refrigerator control is actually the thermostatic switch which cylces the compressor in consideration of the refrigerator compartment temperature.

Does there seem to be a lot of frost building up on the bottom or back wall of the freezer compartment surfaces? It is possible that a malfunctioning defrost operation is causing your malady (perhaps a defrost timer).

Acutally, "Just needing a shot of refrigerant", is one of the worst things that can happen to a refrigeration system!


M Kalisher
05-02-2003, 07:56 PM
Thanks for your reply.
I've played with the settings in every combination including middle positions that they recommend as a starting point. There is no effect. There is no frost buildup in the freezer, in fact it will not go below -2C. The compresser works almost 24 hours except it does go off for the defrost cycle.

As for ***** loss, I believe it might have leaked out of the fill valve because the compressor might have overheated when the fan was clogged with dust. Since it's OK now, I'd like to refill the lost ***** and see if it cools to where it should. To do that I need the proper fitting and a supply of ***** of the right type.

If that doesn't work, I'll have the fridge taken away.

Thanks again.

05-02-2003, 09:05 PM
If that doesn't work, I'll have the fridge taken away.

You are stumbling around in the dark and you're going to hurt yourself. You have no idea how it works, much less why it doesn't work. You don't even know what tools are involved, much less how to use them. There are several possible causes, the least likely of which is a 'shot of *****', which you are obviously unqualified to add.

Save yourself a lot of aggravation and probable injury. Have it taken away.

M Kalisher
05-02-2003, 11:17 PM
Thank you for your answer and your concern.

While I'm not experienced in refrigeration, I have refilled my cars air conditioning systems several times in the past, and I have a degree in engineering and work in that field.

I will certainly be careful to learn everything I can before I attempt to work on it (if I actually do so). In fact, that's why I'm asking these questions. I'm trying to find out what my options are.

Thanks again, I appreciate it.

06-02-2003, 05:49 PM
At the location of any leakage you will likely find an oily residue (which in fact is the compressor lubricant) If the fill valve area that you are concerned about has no indication of such oil or wetness (perhaps even an oily dust accumulation) likely that is not the point of leakage if a leak happens to exist.

If the "fill valve" is a leaker, it needs to be replaced (or repaired). I visualize an integral fillting in the compressor shell.

My presumption is that the dirty condenser has damaged the compressor valves. Here is somewhat of a test that you can perform that could possibly point to bad compressor valves.

(1) locate the suction (larger copper tube coming from the freezer) and the discharge (smaller copper or steel tube going to the condenser) lines.

(2) grasp suction line at point before it connects to compressor shell betwenn forefinger and thumb. Physically note temperature of suction line.

(3) Whilst grasping said suction line, unplug refrigerator to allow compressor to turn off.

(4) Continue grasping suction line, and pay attention to sensation of suction line rapidly warming to perhaps even HOT.

(5) If such sensation occurs (rapid warming) reference with aforementioned forefinger and thumb, the warmness of the discharge line at compressor.

Please do not burn self!

(6) If suction line warms to near discharge line temperature, that indicates that valves (suction and discharge) are damaged or not seating, as evidenced by refrigerant flowing backward through compressor.

...If at least one set of valve(s) seats properly, suction should remain cold/cool as pressure equalizes through the evaporator circuit. This test proving negative for failure still leaves to question a potential failure of either the suction or discharge valve, alone.

PS..... If the machine does need refrigerant, I would dispose of it in the first place.


M Kalisher
06-02-2003, 06:25 PM
Thank you for your reply.
I printed out your instructions and will try them.

There was no sign of the oil or oily dirt at the fillvalve fitting, which is part of the compressor case. So maybe there is a leak somewhere else that is not visible or the compressor is indeed shot. In either case, I will dispose of it, perhaps give it to a repair shop that sells used repaired units.

Thanks again for your help. I'll post something after I get results or dispose of unit.

06-02-2003, 08:04 PM

This is what I would do. I would obtain proffessional help. look in the yellow pages, call in a reputable engineer for an opinion. So whats he going to charge? 50 maybe 75 dollars

So what

At least this way you both score, either you get your fridge working or you dump it and sleep easy knowing you did the right thing

We dump too much good stuff anyway these days, especially in your neck of the woods, probably you guys got too much money....................

But not enough it seems to call in the right guy for the job!!!


07-02-2003, 01:34 AM
Thanx Abe,

I'm just trying to be patient...... :)

..... and perhaps actually offer something.....



P.S.... We aren't getting snotty are we?????? :confused:

07-02-2003, 09:16 AM
ye gads, a snotty fridge engineer LOL :D :D

07-02-2003, 11:10 AM
Actually, I don't mind helping those who display some minimal mechanical aptitude and interest, but I don't intend to start from scratch. People should do their homework.

Engineering degrees don't impress me, and certain assumptions seem to rub me the wrong way. Aside from that, I'm not snotty at all... LOL

07-02-2003, 03:31 PM
is it just me or does anybody else feel like telling him where to stick his Degree:D
Anyway the things probably choked due to the drier breaking down from age and the dirty condenser:eek:
Regards. Andy

08-02-2003, 12:52 PM
SORRY BUT NOT SURE HOW TO DO ThIS!!Never tried a forum before !!
can anbody tell me how important water press is regards water chillers .Regards Foster type chiller.Problem appears to be that the delivery of chilled water simply stops after appx 2 ltrs .Is it an air lock .No soleniod valves involved att all.To get it to work reqd sucking through !!
Any advice recards simple water chillers/fountioans would be marvelous!!

08-02-2003, 03:56 PM
I guess I have been a bit snotty......apologies
But herefishy did a great job detailing possible causes and remedies, so I hope Kalisher , you get it sorted
After all.....this forum is about helping out, so you came to the right place

08-02-2003, 05:55 PM

How is the water being delivered into the foster chiller?
Is it mains fed?
Whats the capacity of the unit?
Do you have a model number for the foster unit?


M Kalisher
10-02-2003, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the advice and information.

I've called repair guys previously but most of them are pessimistic about low cost simple repairs so that's why I'm trying to diagnose it myself. In fact I don't want to "dump" it if there's any chance of an economical solution.

My question is, can the compressor be replaced without losing *****. One repair guy quoted me $100 and up per once of *****. This fridge takes about 5 ounces. Add that to the labor and the cost of a new compressor and I have a top of the line brand new fridge. You see the economics of having it repaired do not add up. This is the type of society we seem to live in. That's why the envoronment is getting worse. We are put into a position where it's cheaper and easier to throw out stuff (even if it can be fixed) and buy new stuff. This fridge is physically in great condition except for not cooling enough. I'd like to get it fixed for a reasonable cost but the numbers don't work.

Anyhow, I pulled the back interior panel off the freezer section this weekend (only 3 screws). I can see the fan, the cooling coils, the defrost thermostat and some wireing. I turned on the power and could see the coils building up frost at the cold inlet side. I closed the doos and let it stabilize for a while and checked the temperature. It was about 5C. Later on, the compressor stopped and the temperature in the freezer was up to about 30C. This was probably the defrost cycle. I got fed up and turned everything off.

This thing is in the garage now because my wife got fed up and made me go out to buy a new one. The new Kenmore made by Whirlpool is about the same size and cost about $550 after tax and delivery. It doesn't have a valve in the compressor body but it has a crimped copper tube.

I don't think I'll try to fix the old one anymore. I'll try to sell it or give it to a used appliance dealer in town.

Thanks for all the help and advice anyway.

M. Kalisher

I just read some of the other messages and it looks like we have some degree envy up there.

10-02-2003, 10:25 PM

Pity the old, but young looking 17 year old is now sitting idle in your garage, but look at the bright side, You got a brand new spanking one in the kitchen and at least the foods cold and the wifes happy, what more could one ask for??

Yes, we are a throw away society.......but thats how economics work. In Europe it is now mandatory that all discarded fridges are properly treated, ie: gasses removed, oil removed, then crushed.

I went to a disposal plant the other day, lorry loads of fridges came in all day, a lot of them looked in decent condition. They told me they process around 500 units per day, and this was only at one site!! Think how many are being destroyed daily.

Now if you really want to recycle fridges, you can. Third world nations are crying out for fridges, only problem is how to get them there. The costs of shipping them is also expensive. But its a viable proposition.

Wonder if any members have considered this or are already doing it.

So Kalisher, nice to have you on the forum, hope you stay with us.


10-02-2003, 10:33 PM
I just read some of the other messages and it looks like we have some degree envy up there.

It's not the degree; It's the condescending tone. You brought up the degree as if it were somehow relevant to the discussion.

I have met many design engineers, most of whom were incapable of repairing the very equipment they designed, and still others who could probably fix it if they could just figure out what was wrong with it. Yet these people are widely considered to be the ultimate service experts. They are experts at what they do, not what we do.

This prevailing misconception fosters a great deal of confusion throughout the industry, and more than a little resentment.

I am probably oversensitive in this regard, and apologize for any unwarranted remarks.

M Kalisher
10-02-2003, 11:49 PM
The only reason I brought up my education at all was because one of the guys responding was concerned with my ability not to hurt myself while doing repairs. I appreciated his concern but wanted him to know that I'm not totally unfamiliar with technical and analytical methods. That's the only reason I mentioned it. I'm sorry if it sounded condescending in any way. I have great respect for anyone with technical abilities at any level. I don't sit in an office designing things (maybe I do sometimes). I usually work in the lab, hands on, building and fixing things.

Thanks for all the advice.

I did read recently that many refrigerators with the old ***** were being shipped to Namibia (or someplace in Africa) and being sold at low prices. The concern is that all that ***** will escape down there and enter the atmosphere. That sort of defeats the entire goal of eliminating the ***** from the air.

I also read that millions of lbs. of ***** 12 manufactured in china or east european countries were being smuggled into the US via Florida and Mexico. It's getting to be as big a business as drugs.

M. Kalisher

Prof Sporlan
11-02-2003, 01:20 AM
I did read recently that many refrigerators with the old ***** were being shipped to Namibia (or someplace in Africa) and being sold at low prices. The concern is that all that ***** will escape down there and enter the atmosphere.

In the end, most of the CFCs produced will eventually end up in the atmosphere. Current economics, however, have slowed this process down. It may be illegal to release R-12 to the atmosphere in most developed countries. But more importantly, it's also getting way too expensive... :)

Dave Goodings
12-02-2003, 12:06 AM
Just a question someone may be able to answer is, that I heard that the biggest contributor to ozone depletion was from the vietnam war where ***** was used in the bombs for the dispersal of agent orange!! True/False??

12-02-2003, 12:59 AM
Lets just forget the "degree" business. I know Kalisher didnt mean it that way. But I do question that the CFC's in units shipped to Africa will end up in the atmosphere. For a start many of the fridges now appearing on the scrap heaps contain R134a.

I say. recycling a fridge by giving it a new lease of life is better then crushing it, or do we say, no they cannot have a fridge because we dont trust them with it??

How about we use our "degrees" and expertise to extend our education to other parts of the world, so more people can enjoy the benefits which we take for granted

12-02-2003, 07:26 PM
The fact of the matter is.. you may say that the material is being wasted, but that is really not the point at all!

Any material has absolutely no value in or of itself.

A chunk of gold is worth absolutely nothing ! that's right, nothing!

What has value is the "labor" of the person who locates, extracts, and delivers it: which is what determines a "product's" value, cost or however you want to look at.

"Money" is a receipt for having served your fellow man. When you are in the process of making a purchase, you are asking the seller to "serve you". The seller in response asks you to prove that you have "served your fellow man". You prove that you have served your fellow man by producing your receipts (money) from which you will reward him for his service to you.

The fact of the matter is, that often times, the manufacture of (in this case) such an appliance may well be performed by less physical "manpower" (due to automation or assembly line procedures, etc) than it would take to make some particular repair. In that sense, opting to re-commision the old and perhaps obsolete device could be considered a waste of "labor".


M Kalisher
12-02-2003, 10:51 PM
You could also say that the "value" of an item is relative to its possible use by a specific person. A glass of water is very valuable to someone lost in a desert but useless to someone drowning.

The dead refrigerator in my garage has no value directly to me (in fact it takes up useful space). But if I can find someone who can fix it and sell it for profit, it will become valuable both to me and him/her. That's what I'm looking for! At the same time we avoid creating more trash and wasting more energy. If done right, it could be a win, win, win situation.

M. Kalisher

13-02-2003, 02:59 AM
"Money" is a receipt for having served your fellow man. When you are in the process of making a purchase, you are asking the seller to "serve you". The seller in response asks you to prove that you have "served your fellow man". You prove that you have served your fellow man by producing your receipts (money) from which you will reward him for his service to you.

You could also say that the "value" of an item is relative to its possible use by a specific person.

..Yes, and in the same sense, take for instance a person with an antique "coca-cola" dispenser. It (may) require less "receipts of service" (money) to replace the antique machine than to repair the machine (perhaps), however if one's interest was only in the availability of cold beverages (as opposed to preservation of the machine), then would one consider the repair a "service"?

Do you wish to preserve the machine for some sentimental, investment, posterity, or other personal reason other than economics?.... Or do you wish to keep your food safe in order to ensure your health and well being?

If you only wished to have the appliance re-commishioned solely on the basis of "what you store in it", then paid the man for the service and later found out that you could purchase the more efficient machine with much better quality and more features at as much or near as the repair... would you consider yourself to have been well served?


A glass of water is very valuable to someone lost in a desert but useless to someone drowning.

This example exactly demonstrates my point!!! :)

If you are in a desert, water is rare. Therefore one would have gone through much "labor" to provide such sustanance in the (economic?) enviroment in order to provide such a product....right?

On the other hand, if you were drowning in water, the acquisition of water would merely require the act of opening your mouth (which undoubtably would happen, correct?). So such activity of providing one water whilst they are drowning does not require the service of someone else... does it? Therefore no reward for any such service would be justified ....

Would the person who is drowning request the service of another to provide water???


13-02-2003, 09:43 PM
Duh ????

Hey whats going on guys, all I said we fill up the third world with fridges instead of filling up the land fill !!!

Ahhhh I see now, this talk of , what is it again..........yes, service, in the legal profession they call it "consideration"

Yes, in a nutshell , its not worth it, or to rephrase, "whats in it for me? "

Listen mate, I didnt say lets do it for free.........we leave that to Oxfam

Ive got my greedy eyeballs thinking of green dollars as well!! What you think, we get into all that aggro, with mouldy fridges and gas and oil, offloading, loading, working in scrapyards and filling up containers and bribing corrupt third world customs..........what for, for ecology and good deeds.........and the promise of heaven??

Now thats what I call giving good service

10-05-2003, 04:44 AM
Originally posted by Dave Goodings
Just a question someone may be able to answer is, that I heard that the biggest contributor to ozone depletion was from the vietnam war where ***** was used in the bombs for the dispersal of agent orange!! True/False??

I would have to say the automobiles of the US. I have a few 1970-ish books about cars. A few chapters are about diagnosing and reparing refridgeration system. It doesnt ever mention hooking a recovery unit to the airconditioning system, but tells you to release the ***** into the atmosphere in a well-ventilated place. Its been known since the 1930's that ***** can damage ozone...

Also, rubber lines on the refrigeration system? What else would you expect besides leaking? the seals on the compressors? they are desinged to leak ***** to properly lubricate themselves (im talking about old cars since the '70's and earlier). and many "air" cans people used to use for blowing away dust contained *****. Now it has some R13xxxxxxxxx refrigerant... (not sure what it is).

and about your leaky fridge... Does it have a serive port on the compressor thats you unscrew with a wrench? From my experiance (which doesnt amount to anything) most older fridges dont have service ports, just a bolt that you unscrew to let the ***** into the atmosphere. And of course after many years the ***** will leak out anyway without unscrewing it...

10-05-2003, 08:43 PM
Gotta say you seem to know an awful lot for a 16 year old :confused:

11-05-2003, 06:03 AM
Well, when you find two automotive encyclopedias at your grandpas house and ask him hundreds of questions and debate with him on different scenarios...

11-05-2003, 11:02 AM
Hi abcdefg1675,
the words wind-up merchant come to mind.
Kind Regards, Andy

11-05-2003, 12:59 PM
And.................abcdefg reminds me of my kindergarden days........
You can fool some of the people some of the time, most people most of the time, but not ALL......................

Ever read that in your grandpa's encyclopaedia ???

M Kalisher
12-05-2003, 05:20 PM
I thought you guys might like a follow-up on my previous posts.

I bought a new refrigerator from Sears about the same size, 20 cubic feet. I sold the old one to an appliance repair dealer for $20. At least he can fix it and resell it so it doesn't go to a landfill.

The really good news and surprise is that my electric bill is about $10 per month less now for the past 2 months since I put the new one in service. I figure it will pay for itself in about three years.

This is definitely the way to go.

M. Kalisher