My credit card co. called us about the payment to JustAnswer as part of a fraud check. We told them no problem, but it appears it triggered something that sent us a refund. I had to reinstate the payment--done--but part of the delay in me getting back. I need to borrow a multimeter from a friend and will to the therostat test.
In the mean time I have some more data and a new possible explanation for some of the trouble. When we opened the freezer last night after 9 hours my wife noted that the switch that turns on the light in the freezer compartment seem to be frozen in place. The "lip" I described before functions to turn off the light when the freezer door is closed. When weeks ago we emptied the freezer, not only were the coils frozen but there was a lot of ice in the clear plastic guard below the light bulb on the top of the freezer compartment. I have noticed that the bulb is also very hot.
When we got up this morning the appliance was not running and did not run for several hours before we went to church. We did not open the freezer but did use the refrig part. I thought I at one point heard a "clunk" that might be ice dropping in a defrosting cycle. I took off the panel on the outside back bottom of the unit that covers the fan and defrost tray and the compressor reservoir. There was water in the pan. I sponged it up and put it in a measuring cup: 2 and a half cups.
If the light had not been turning off I was sure it did on this trial started last evening. I can easily remove the light bulb if there is any possibility that that could be the problem: on constantly would emit heat that the unit would try to overcome by cooling and the tug of war goes on and on....?
Or might a faulty light combine with a thermostat that is on the blink?
When we opened the freezer for the first time this evening after having it closed since last evening, ice cream was the consistency it should have been and the visible frost on the fins visible on the coils in the back through the observation holes was drastically reduced. So something did happen to make it operate as it should have after closing it up last evening--which included "massaging" the gasket across its top, and checking that the light was going off in the freezer when the door closed.
Sorry for the delay. Your suggestion of the thermostat possible malfunction is important. I will test that. I'd like to know what you think about the light on constantly hypothesis as a possible source of trouble, constant running and freezing up. Don't understand why it would be on, but it is easy to unscrew the bulb and test that once I have tested the thermostat.
I'll get back to you when I have completed the thermo test.