Refrigerator questions

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Well-known member
Feb 27, 2008
Hello all,

    I have a Norcold fridge, Series 982, model 821 or 841, about 7-8 years old, and I've noticed that all of a sudden the ice buildup on the fins in the lower part, the refrigerator, is melting and the temp doesn't seem as cold.  The freezer still has some ice in it but the frozen meats and ice cream are thawing.  The fridge is level and I haven't gone anywhere in the rig for nine months now (I do live in my rig).  The unit is running on AC, and the other night I inadverently left the fridge door ajar just a bit, it looked closed but it did not "click."  The next morning I pushed the door shut until it clicked.  It seems my troubles began at that point.  The screen does not show any error messages.  Anybody have an idea about what is going on?

Thanks in advance.
Try running the fridge on gas for a while and see if it cools better.  You may just need a new electric heating element.
Thanks Lou.  I'm out of propane though.  I turned the unit off and back on and it seems to be holding its own, but the lower area has a problem with condensation making me wonder if I have a gasket leak.  I checked the gasket and it seemed to be fine, I don't understand it.  I guess it's time to call a tech.
Have you cleaned away all the condensation and frost? You need to get a clean start to see if you have an air leak. If it quickly builds up again, you know there is a problem.  Do the dollar bill test all around - place a fairly crisp bill between door and frame and slowly pull out - there should be some resistance.

Your fridge does not have a lot of extra cooling capacity - it doesn't take much to warm it up and it takes a long, long time to recover from something like your overnight with the door ajar. Once the freezer warms up, it will probably take a couple days to get it and the contents cold enough again, and the freezer gets priority over the fridge area.
Thanks Gary.  I spoke to a tech who suggested I clean my seals (there are no breaks in the seals) and wipe them down with either vaseline or olive oil, I think I'll go with the latter.

If your door seals are adequate and there isn't a problem with the heating unit of the fridge, there is the possibility that the thermistor which is clipped to one of the fins has failed. Typically this will cause the fridge to "not" shut off thereby quickly building ice on the fins. Once that ice builds up it acts as an insulator preventing the fridge from cooling properly.  The thermistor is very easy to replace and there really is no way to test the thing other than to spend a few bucks on a new one.

We're in a VERY humid area of the Coastal Bend of Texas so we have to deal with ice build up when it warms up outside.  A couple of months ago we installed one of those Campco fridge fans that runs on D cell batteries.  I was skeptical at first about how effective this little thing would be but I am now sold. It also appears to keep the ice build up down on the fins quite well.
12 years ago I installed one of those small fridge-fans, (a 12-Volt version), because I kept getting cold and warm spots in different areas of the fridge. In some areas it was so cold things would freeze, while in other areas things weren't cold enough. The fan seems to move just enough air to keep the temperature pretty well normalized throughout the fridge. Problem solved. A cheap, easy reliable fix.


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