Two days before Thanksgiving I woke up to the sound of our refrigerator turning off and on every three to four seconds. It is a model with the water and ice dispenser in the door with several blue lights and temperature displays. They were all turning off, and back on, erratically.
What was more concerning was that we had about thirty-six pounds of semi-frozen turkeys inside, defrosting for frying and roasting in a couple days.
A refrigerator repair should never be undertaken without first having coffee. The clicking off and on continued while Jenni and I had our coffee, but did slow considerably. By the time we had finished breakfast, it was no longer an issue. (I prefer repairs like that!). We vacuumed under the front of the unit and said a prayer it would last through Thanksgiving.
We had a dozen for lunch that Thursday and put the refrigerator through a rigorous workout with moving dishes in and out, dispensing water, and the packing of leftovers. Thankfully, there was never a problem with it.
Monday after Thanksgiving began the same way as this blog—the refrigerator going off and on every few seconds. We knew from our previous inspection that a colony of dust bunnies had taken up residency on the coils and we needed to remove them, once our coffee was gone.
Our kitchen is designed in such a way that the refrigerator can only roll forward until it presses against the island. This creates enough space between the back of the refrigerator and the cubby it rolled out from for a 32-inch waist to squeeze through. Right now I’m about a 34-inch and all the turkey and pies were pushing that number upwards. But on tippy-toes and other gyrations I managed to squeeze behind the unit, remove the back panel, and start vacuuming. There was a brief guessing game as to what some crunchy items were but we couldn’t agree if they were vegetable, animal, or mineral. My cleaning was restricted by my lack of yoga flexibility and the electric cord for the unit. So I reached behind me and pulled the plug. Unplugging the refrigerator allowed me to clean deeper in the unit and clean the fan that had been spinning while it was running.
And that was the last time the compressor ever ran.
My usual ‘computer error solution’ of turning it off and on did nothing. Neither did the technique of “let’s just let it sit for a few minutes and it will kick on”. I didn’t try drinking a cup of coffee but I have serious doubts that would have worked. The lights inside still worked but the compressor and computer panel in the door were kaput.
Time of death: Monday, 2:30pm.
While Jenni emptied the freezer compartment and crammed most of it into our upright freezer, I pulled the small refrigerator out of our van Wanda and rolled it up to the house. As we emptied the refrigerator, there was a merciless assessment of condiment expiration dates and the trashcan grew heavy. While this triage was taking place, we prioritized what remained into a group that would fit in our van refrigerator for everyday use and what could be squeezed into a dorm-size refrigerator we keep in our garage. Sadly, all wine and beer fell into a category of its own which did not include immediate refrigeration. (We later returned the alcohol to the refrigerator where it managed to remain chilled for a day or two before we put it on the porch where temperatures were near freezing!).
During this time of emptying the frig, Jenni had started looking at models and sales online and I reached out to my sister who had just recently had to replace her refrigerator. Thanks to modern technology, she Face Timed us and gave us a tour of hers as well as a good review.
Turns out, Cyber Monday is good for more than just buying electronics online from Amazon. Go figure. The big box stores in town were all having one-day sales on appliances as well. We slipped on our shoes and headed out the door intending to go to the big orange box store but pulled into the blue one for a quick look. By 5:15pm we had purchased the refrigerator at the big blue box store, added a dishwasher because our current one was crapping out as well, and received not only the Cyber Monday discount but another for buying two appliances. We wished each other Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas as we handed over the credit card. I texted my sister a picture of us in front of the floor model and she agreed that we certainly didn’t mess around! The discounts associated with Cyber Monday certainly played into the timing on making a fast decision. Delivery was scheduled for Friday.
Sebastian and his two helpers drove up on a cold, wet Friday morning. He quickly assessed the pathway and kitchen layout, asked to borrow a tape measure, and proceeded to take the front door off the hinges. It was like watching a well-coached sports team as they ran a strap under the dead unit and carried it out like it was a pillow. The new one came in the same way! Every word spoken by the leader was calm and positive as he coached and taught his helpers how to lift, pivot, and place correctly and safely. I lost track of how many times I heard him say “excelente”. I complimented him on being such a great teacher.
Now, if the UPS and FedEx delivery men haven’t helped themselves, it’s time to bring the beer and wine back in from the front porch.