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Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Kenmore Fridge only cooling when knob is turned past certain setting

Hi there, I just recently purchased a used kenmore top freezer fridge and I’m having issues with it.


When I bought the fridge it seemed to be working fine but I quickly discovered that it was freezing everything in the fridge area and I noticed the temperature knob was set to coldest so I turned it down to a little above the “cold” (least cold) setting and I noticed it stopped making noise/stopped cooling. I assumed this was a good thing but now it’s been almost 12 hours later and I haven’t heard it turn on once, and when I open the freezer the ice is starting to melt and the fridge doesn’t seem to be cooling anymore.


If I turn the knob to anywhere past 1/4th away from the warmest setting it switches on and stays on 24/7, anything less and it stays off 24/7. So basically I can either have frozen food in my fridge, or the fridge won’t work at all.

This is already the second fridge I’ve bought because the first one was leaking water and now I’m having this issue with this one. I’d really prefer to fix this if possible so I don’t need to buy a third fridge. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this issue? Thank you!

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Hi @samusaran1 ,

What is the make and model number of the refrigerator?

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It's a kenmore and the model # is 253.61722019 @jayeff

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Hi @samusaran1 ,

Most probably it is a faulty defrost timer.

The link to the supplier above is an example only to show the part and what it costs.

There may be other suppliers online that suit you better. Just search for Kenmore 253.61722019 parts to get results

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In your opinion, is this worth trying to fix? I only paid $100 for the fridge, and I can get a new one for $275 from a local appliance store. I'm weary of buying the part in case that's not the only thing that's wrong with the fridge, but if you're confident that this will fix it, I may take the chance.

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Hi @samusaran1 ,

If the rest of the refrigerator is in good condition, personally I'd try to fix it.

According to the link you can test the timer with a meter - be careful if you do this, remove the power and then test it with an Ohmmeter.

Admittedly the part cost is high in relation to the total cost of the fridge and you don't know what else is wrong with it.

Perhaps you may want to consider buying the new fridge, where you should get a manufacturer's warranty of at least 12 months on the fridge and possibly 5 (7-10?) years on the sealed system (compressor etc), repairing the old fridge, check that it works OK and selling that for perhaps what you paid for it. That way you can recoup most of the initial outlay on it.

Just my opinion ;-)

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Getting to the defrost timer in this fridge requires tools I don't have, so it would be almost $20 for the part (with shipping) and another $20 for tools plus I'd need to wait a week to get the part while my food continuously freezes. I think at this rate I'm better off selling the fridge as is for $50, and just buying the other fridge for $275. Thank you for your help regardless! I'm marking your response as the answer because I think you have the correct solution, have a great one!

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