TRYING to Make It Through

Hello dear reader(s)!

Last night I did some online research into my fridge after determining that the duct between the fridge and freezer likely wasn’t blocked by ice.  Everything pointed me in the direction of a bad thermistor, which is essentially a sensor and thermostat in one.  The good news:  The part is relatively inexpensive and shouldn’t take too long to replace.  The bad news:  It is the 4th of July weekend and the only local place that carries it is closed until Monday.

Just to make sure that was indeed the issue, my dad and I moved and unplugged the refrigerator and started taking off panels, controls, and wiring harnesses to get to wear the thermistor was located.  As we removed the diffuser, my dad noticed that a tiny little plastic piece near inaccessible inside a groove in the styrofoam had broken away from an arm that opens and shuts the doors inside the diffuser assembly.  It appears as though the thermistor was not in fact the problem, but the break in the arm was holding the doors shut; thus allowing for little air-flow between the freezer and refrigerator, causing the warm temperatures.

Imprinted on the foam was a part number that I recognized as a part number due to its similarity with the part number I had previously looked up for the thermistor.  So I went to check the refrigerator’s website to ensure that it was indeed the part number for the entire assembly that I was looking for.  I typed the part number in and hit “Search” and 0 results were found.

I typed Whirlpool diffuser followed by the part number into Google and found that the only listings for said part were on eBay.  Um…no.  I looked up the local appliance parts store that is closed until Monday due to the holiday and found that they also had no listings for the diffuser assembly.

As a last-ditch effort I took the model number of the refrigerator and entered it into the manufacturer’s website in search of an owners manual or parts list.  There was a parts list!  I downloaded and scrolled through the pages, not even seeing my part.  Finally, I just did a Ctrl-F on the pdf to find the word “diffuser” and found the diffuser assembly.  It had a different part number.  Apparently the other part number must have been for the styrofoam itself, which they do not sell separately because there would be no way to put all the other parts in it without some sort of mechanical press.  This is good news, because it seems as though the broken arm thing is included in that assembly.  I checked that part with the local appliance store and it did not bring up any results.  I typed it into Google and found that part had been replaced with a different part number (probably with a stronger plastic arm).  I looked that part number up at the local appliance parts store and they do have 4 in stock.

So, knowing the earliest I could get the part would be Monday, and knowing that I would like to keep at least some waters and maybe some cherries of something cold until then, we attempted to temporarily fix the arm with super glue.  However, due to the location of the break down inside the groove of the styrofoam where it would be too narrow to clamp, and also due to the break being right on the elbow, we were unable to get it to stick.

At this point we decided to open the doors halfway (just a guess) and reassemble everything.  It will prevent the temperature from being changed by the control, but it should allow the cold air to flow between the refrigerator and freezer.  We have no way of knowing how open the doors should be to keep the refrigerator cool, and we have no way of knowing whether everything in there will be freezing things in the fridge, just right, or still too hot.  We have decided to hold off on buying any perishables until after I can get the part on Monday.

Assembling the refrigerator and freezer didn’t go back together as easily as disassembly.  For one thing, I used the wrong screws in the wrong place so we were trying to cram ourselves into the freezer balancing a phillips heard screw on the top of the screwdriver trying to drive it straight up into the top of the freezer to hold onto the panel.  It turns out that there was some screws with a 1/4 inch nut pattern that would have fit in the edge of my 1/4 inch nut driver that went there, and the phillips head screws were used for a control container and which you can place and screw downward, so as not to drop the screws everywhere.  When putting up the panel in top of the freezer, we must have dropped each screw fifteen times, and at a couple of points, they fell into the lower basket where I had moved the remaining frozen food.  Then we had to dig them out.

I didn’t sleep good last night, and am really wiped out by this whole thing.  After my dad left, I kind of lost it, because I am just tired of everything being so damned hard.  I really figured that by this point, things would be starting to get a little easier for me again but even when I seem to be a little healthier, life is throwing punches my way.  Punches I could likely handle were it not for everything else built up.

Monday morning at 8 am, I will be at the parts store waiting for them to open.  I will buy a diffuser assembly for roughly $45 and fix the damn thing, remembering to trade screws back on reassembly.  It sucks that I have to wait until Monday, and all this work was a bit more than the heat exhausted and sleep deprived me could handle this early…but on the bright side if I called some repair guy out (and who knows when he could arrive), he’d probably have to order the part too, mark it up, and charge me for labor.  I have heard of thermistor replacement jobs being in the $300 range.  The thermistor is even cheaper than the diffuser, as low as $15.  A new fridge with those features would be $1200 or so.  Reconditioned, I could find one for about $900.

And, if the thermistor ever goes now I know how to fix that too.

So I guess this is a small win, and it is great to win and everything; but maybe there could be some rest in between the times I need to fight to win with life.  What to you say life, can ya help me out here?


Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

4 thoughts on “TRYING to Make It Through”

  1. Goodness! What a lot of sleuthing and work. Lucky you could do this. We had to have our “defrost control” replaced, for a total of about $300. So, if you can do this for less than $50 you are way ahead of the game!

    One good thing came of ours, I have cleaned the entire unit inside and out, including the back and behind it. It sure needed cleaning. Now I am committed to do the same for the garage fridge. Our repairman said he cleans his refrigerator out completely once a month. I feel guilty now. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I wish I would have felt a little bit better to get it cleaned out more before my dad got there. And I could replace the deforst control on most refrigerators now. Depending on the price of the part, it wouldn’t be too difficult. YouTube is your friend.


      1. I am feeling really stupid now. We never thought of searching YouTube. Duh! Next time, that’s where we’ll start because my husband is pretty handy, especially once he sees someone else fix something. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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