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ilyaz 10-13-2013 05:07 PM

Kirkland refrigerator not cooling well anymore
We have an old Kirkland ST14CKXKQ04 fridge that is not cooling very well. Also, while the freezer works, it started accumulating ice on the back wall, which it was not doing before.

Since it's fairly old (made back in '05), I suspect it might be time to upgrade. But maybe it an easy and cheap fix? Thx

inspectorD 10-13-2013 05:44 PM

You could start out by checking the coils and fan underneath. They may be dirty and need to be vacuumed out.
Other than that it may be a refrigerant leak, look for any shiny oil spots around any of the workings of the fridge.
Hope you find something.:)

woodchuck 10-13-2013 06:58 PM

The evaporator coil behind the cover on the back wall inside the freezer will ice up under normal conditions. Every 8 to 10 hours for around 20 minutes the defrost timer (or in most newer models the electronic adaptive defrost control) will turn the defrost heater on to melt the built up ice. There is a defrost thermostat which prevents the heater from overheating the freezer by breaking the heater circuit when the temp reaches close to 32 degrees F. The entire cooling system shuts off during the defrost cycle and starts back when the timer advances through the cycle.

If this ice is not melted it will continue to build up until the air can’t flow over the coil to circulate the cold air through the freezer and into the fridge. The temperature change in the fridge is usually noticed first followed by the freezer.

If the defrost thermostat is bad it can prevent the heater from coming on OR it won’t turn the heater off when it gets too warm. It is clamped to the evaporator coil at the top to sense the temp. If it appears to be misshapen it is bad.
With an ohm meter it should show continuity when cold and none when warm.
You can also bypass the thermostat to see if the heater comes on then. If it does then you know the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.

The defrost heater is located on the evaporator. It is in a tube which is at the bottom and can also go up the sides of the evaporator. On some types you can see a burnt spot if it’s bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity from end to end when disconnected from the wiring in the freezer. You can also test the wiring for voltage when it’s in the defrost mode.

If you have a defrost timer you can test it. It can be located under the fridge behind the kick panel on the front. Some are in the fridge with the controls at the top. You can turn the defrost timer till it clicks and everything shuts down. The heater should now come on. If it does, replace the timer because that means the timer is not running. If it doesn't, check the heater and defrost thermostat. Turn the timer again till everything starts back up to end the defrost cycle.

If you have an adaptive defrost control instead of a timer, replace it if the heater and thermostat test good. It is located in the fridge with the controls in some models and on the back in others.

jeff1 10-13-2013 07:05 PM



fridge that is not cooling very well. Also, while the freezer works, it started accumulating ice on the back wall
A frost free failure.

LINK> Defrost heater assembly Wire harness, freezer. Includes defrost thermostat Defrost timer kit, 8 hour, replaces most/instructions included


ilyaz 10-14-2013 09:54 PM

In order to figure out if the defrost time is good, is it enough to test for continuity between its 1-2 and 3-4 contacts? Is one pair for the normal (cooling) mode and the other pair for the defrosting mode?

Today I tried to follow the instructions at until I got to the "Once you locate the defrost timer, slowly turn the screw like wheel in the middle of the defrost timer with a straight screwdriver until the fridge shuts off. You are now in defrost."

I made a couple of full rotations of the wheel, heard some sort of clicking sound inside the timer but the fridge never stopped working. Does it mean that the timer is bad and it cannot switch from the cooling mode to the defrost mode?


jeff1 10-15-2013 07:11 AM

Normally we check the heater and stat first.
If the heater is bad we would change the heater and stat and leave the timer. If the stat is bad but the heater checks ok we change the timer and stat as both can be intermittant.

Turn the timer cog slowly, should hear the fan(s) shut off when in defrost.


woodchuck 10-15-2013 11:24 AM

Yes, if the compressor and fans didn't cut off the timer is defective

jeff1 10-15-2013 08:49 PM


Originally Posted by woodchuck (Post 92486)
Yes, if the compressor and fans didn't cut off the timer is defective

...or they where turning it too fast.


ilyaz 10-17-2013 11:33 AM

OK, so I decided to replace the timer. Didn't do it yet but got a new one from a local appliance parts store. Decided to do a "sanity check" on it to see if I do the electrical testing right, in case I want to test the old timer before replacing.

Did a connectivity test between 1 and 4 in the cooling mode and got a beep -- good.
Did another test between 1 and 2 in the heating mode and good a beep -- good
But did not get a beep when tested for connectivity between 3 and 1, 2, or 4 in either mode. I also tried ohm test between 1 and 3 and got a 0. Is that right? What am I doing wrong? What am I supposed to see between 1 and 3?

Thx much

woodchuck 10-17-2013 01:34 PM

The timer brakes the circuit to the compressor so no connectivity there
The timer also makes the circuit to the heater so you have conn. there
that will be in the heat mode.

In the cool mode it will be the opposite on those circuits.

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