Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Sealed System"=Planned Obsolescence

Just a quick update on our gremlin situation.

The furnace conked out again on Sunday afternoon.
L was right. The furnace repairman didn't show until 11:30 Monday morning. The good news is that our problem was only a clogged orifice, which is the cheapest thing that could go wrong.

We had freezing rain from 6:30 a.m. until noon yesterday. Then it warmed up and just plain rained. What a MESS! Our newly roofed back porch is leaking like a sieve in the same spot it always has. WTF?! Boss decided to close early due to lack of business, so L didn't work yesterday. At least I got a full days pay.

Our refrigerator got progressively warmer until, by yesterday afternoon, the freezer compartment was 25F and the fridge was running at 45F. Our refrigeration is now being handled by coolers on the front porch.

L and I decided that since the fridge was empty, we'd thoroughly defrost it and let it dry, with the doors open, overnight. Maybe a little chunk of ice had lodged in a vent somewhere? L found some screws on the back of the fridge. He removed them and found a very dusty motor. Aha, maybe that's the problem? L cleaned up the motor. This morning I turned the fridge back on. By noon, the temp was reading 45F in the freezer and 55F in the fridge. SHIT!!!

A customer gave me a phone number for the only residential refrigerator repairman in town. I called him this afternoon. That call was quite an education! It seems that our lovely new refrigerators, that don't have coils to clean, are called a "sealed system". There are only a few repairmen in the state who will work on a "sealed system". The reason for this is that it is a VERY expensive procedure. It's usually cheaper to buy a new fridge. Just friggin' lovely!

I also learned that my relatively new AMANA refrigerator is made by MAYTAG. I love my Maytag dishwasher, but I won't be buying any more of their refrigerators!

The repairman asked me a few questions about how the fridge was operating. He didn't think that sounded like part of the "sealed system" package, but he wasn't certain. He apologetically said that he could take a look at it for $40, but he couldn't make any guarantees. With our luck, we'll probably have to replace our 5-yr-old fridge, but I have to give the repairman a shot first. We really can't afford a new fridge plus disposal fees for the not-so-old one right now.

With all the "green" movements right now, I'm surprised that someone hasn't jumped on refrigerator manufacturers for this blatant move toward planned obsolescence! If this keeps up, we'll soon be overrun by refrigerator junkyards.

9 Comments:

At 2/10/2009 7:09 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

...And I assume your warranty is toast by now. That's shitty. You might be able to find a reconditioned/used fridge for cheaper. That's what my brother & SIL just did when their tenant's fridge conked out. Just an idea. I hope it's a fixable problem though.

Never rains but pours - literally and figuratively. :(

 
At 2/10/2009 7:17 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Yup, Amana has a nice, long, 5 yr warranty...which expired in November. :(

Thanks for the suggestion, but nobody sells reconditioned here. Used fridges are a joke here. People sell their fridges when they're on their last leg, just to avoid paying the disposal fee.

The rain is supposed to stop tomorrow... and turn to snow.

 
At 2/10/2009 7:51 PM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Things don't last like they used to. Our last fridge was extremely delicate. Every time we moved it for any reason, the self defrost heater would break. The freezer itself never frosted up for some reason but ice would build up between the fridge and freezer then the freezer would warm up. Or something like that. We paid to have the heaters replaced a few times then just bought a new fridge when we could. Meanwhile, I think my Mom had the same 1973 Avocado green fridge (and stove) requiring zero service right through until she moved out of the house about 6 years ago. Downstairs, there was a second kitchen that had the original stove from when we had built the cottage in 1959. I think a couple fuses and elements might have been replaced - my mother still used the oven all the time for roasts and baking as she only had a stovetop and toaster oven in the main kitchen. Toasters used to last forever too.

 
At 2/10/2009 7:53 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I'm glad your furnace is working again. Your state is too cold to be without it for long, even with electric heaters.

I read Wandering Coyote's comment about a used refrigerator. I've bought used appliances and had pretty good luck with them.

Good luck!

 
At 2/10/2009 8:30 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Damn rotten luck on that fridge, Tshsmom. Wish I could send the repair guys from here to your place.

Ontario does/did buy old fridges. HEY move here!!!! Why didn't I think of that one??

OK OK, am glad that the furnace fix was cheap, but sorry it happened at all.

It just doesn't make sense that no one works on sealed systems. Surely folks can't want to drop the big bucks for new fridges every time something goes wrong. Is there a technical school near you that might want to experiment on the fridge?

Am also glad that the freezing rain's stopped. Weird about the roof tho.

It's so frustrating not to be able to do anything for you. :( but am sending tons of good wishes and prayers.

 
At 2/10/2009 8:33 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Hey Tshsmom, try this link!

http://www.justanswer.com/appliance/amana?

You can access 8 amana repair guys online.

 
At 2/10/2009 8:38 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Here are more links...sorry I just had to do SOMETHING....

http://www.fixya.com/support/amana/refrigerators

http://www.applianceaid.com/refrigerator.html

http://www.appliance411.ca/service/repairmanual.shtml

http://fixitnow.com/wp/2008/08/08/amana-refrigerator-less-than-four-years-old-doa-and-amana-wont-honor-the-warranty/

 
At 2/10/2009 9:44 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Jeannie, that's the way big business works nowadays. They don't want us to repair anything; they want us to keep buying new products. Maybe our collapsing economy will change this practice?

Squirl, at least our weather makes a good substitute refrigerator. ;)

Bridg, thanks for the links!!
It seems that I'm not the only one having this type of problem with Amana fridges. Most of the time Amana blamed sulphur in the customer's water supply that corroded copper tubing in the fridge. We don't have ours hooked to a water supply.

The justanswer/fixya links want $9-$30 to answer my question.

My local repairman said that sealed system repairs wind up costing almost as much as a new fridge, which is why not many repairmen learn how to do it. The manufacturers have us all over a barrel...BASTARDS!!

 
At 2/11/2009 4:12 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Tshsmom, that's horrid! I wonder if it's the repair guy racket or the appliance racket. OR both?

 

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