Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Replacing the Freezer Seal on an Admiral Freezer

I was popping around on my list of favorite blogs over there and saw Mrs. Micah's Mid-August Round-Up. In it she mentions the Frugal DYI Refrigerator Repair post by Remodeling this Life. Thanks to Mrs. Micah for pointing this one out! I'm glad she did, because I've been wanting to say something about this one myself.

I mentioned awhile back that my tenant complained her refrigerator was running constantly and not keeping things cold. No, it wasn't a cat in the 'fridge - it turned out to be the freezer door seal. I want to give a big thank you to AcmeHowTo.com since it was with their website that I diagnosed and then solved the problem.

Acme said there were a few things that might cause a refrigerator to run constantly:

1. The freezer needed defrosting
2. The condensor coils needed cleaning
3. The door switch could be broken
4. The door seals either needed cleaning or replacing

It was pretty easy to rule out the freezer needing defrosting - especially since the freezer was having a hard time keeping cold. I assumed it was the condensor coils; I figured they hadn't been cleaned in a long, long time. However, when I went to move the refrigerator to check, I discovered condensation on the outside of the freezer door. That's when I knew that it wouldn't be necessary to pull the refrigerator out or check the door switch - I needed a new seal.

I'm not sure what happened to the original freezer door seal, but it was all pulled out of shape and discolored in one corner. Consequently cold air was rushing out through the hole. It was no wonder the fridge couldn't keep up! I have no idea how old this refrigerator is, but it is an Admiral. I wasn't sure I was going to even be able to find parts!

First I called Lowes. I know Lowes didn't carry what I needed, but I thought they might know someone in my area who did. I was right - the salesman was able to give me the names of two companies in my area that sold freezer parts for Admirals. So, I made some calls -

The first things I needed were the serial number and the Bill of Materials (BM) number. Admiral is a division of Maytag, but frankly, I didn't find the Maytage website at all helpful. Fortunately both the serial number and the BM number were easily located on a tag inside the door of the refrigerator. The new seal came to over $80 - and took a week to get here. It was kind of a pain, and more than I wanted to spend, but far, far cheaper than a new refrigerator!

From there it was fairly simple. I loosened a few of the hex nut screws at a time and carefully removed the old seal. You never want to loosen all of them at once - your door can come apart! Then, one side at a time, I put the new one on and tightened the screws. It is a bit fussy - you have to go slow and really get the seal perfectly in place before tightening down the screws, but it is an easy project to do yourself. It probably took me about 30-45 minutes to complete. I will link to a repair site below so you can see photos.

The point is, that one of the most frugal things we can do is try to fix things ourselves and make things last. It is better for the environment - and our pocketbooks!



Cool Additional Reading:

Remodeling this Life - Frugal DIY Refrigerator Repair

Acme How To - Refrigerator Troubleshooting Guide

WikiHow - How to Replace a Refrigerator Door Seal

Frugal is and Frugal Does


Photo by Meggito

1 comment:

remodelingthislife said...

I am so glad you were able to frugally fix yours too! After that happened to us, I wondered how many people go out and drop $1K on a new one when they could've just poked around online for a minute and fixed what they had!