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Kelly, Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 22247
Experience:  Highly accurate diagnostician with over 30 years experience!
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I am trying to troubleshoot my Viking VCSB483 which I assume

Customer Question

I am trying to troubleshoot my Viking VCSB483 which I assume is the same as Viking VCSB480 (3 indicates stainless steel?). Recently the drip pan was overfilled. Next son noticed his ice cream was becoming soft. Shortly after the fridge and freezer are not keeping cold enough. The freezer is maintaining around 28-38 F. Of Course the ice maker has also stopped working I assume due to the temperature not being cold enough. Prior to unplugging unit for the 30 hours, when the freezer would achieve the 30-32F the ice maker would solidify the ice in icemaker but never release the ice cubes. I have unplugged the unit for 30 hours and let everything defrost thoroughly and plugged unit back in and only achieving 32F in freezer, refrigerator is cooling but not to the normal level either. We have checked: a heater pad that sits underneath the drip pan which appears to no longer have continuity which could be a partial reason the drip pan is overfilling. We also live in the Pacific Northwest and the temperatures have been warmer than normal 80-90F for the last 2 weeks since the issue has began, no air conditioning in our home. There is also a fan under the refrigerator side to the right of the drain pan, this fan does not seem to be functioning, I am not sure what it's purpose is? As the part is not shown in the exploding diagram available on Sears Parts direct. I'm not sure what would be the most obvious item is the defrost thermostat in articles I've read, but before purchasing and attempting to replace, I would like another opinion what to check for first.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also, the drip pan even after removing and cleaning out continues to have green flakes about the size of your fingernail. I don't know if that could be an indicator of some problem?
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for counting on us to help with your appliance problem. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you! Your refrigerator has a refrigerant leak. The green flecks in the drain pan are results of electrolysis that has broken down the copper heat loop that is in that pan. That is probably where the leak is. You will need professional on site repair. Be forewarned, this repair will be very expensive. Expect to pay around $1000 + parts to have this completed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Where is the copper heat loop located? If I pull the back off the freezer what would I expect to see? The condensor seems to be working fan blowing cold air into the freezer fridge Is maintaining about 40 F. Freezer between 20-38F. The warm temperature alarm continues to go off a couple times a day. How can I confirm that the copper heat loop is the issue?
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
If you access the coil in the freezer, you will probably see that the aluminum coil is only frosted along one very small section. You may also find green on the copper tubing that leads to the evaporator, under the white foam insulation. Can you post a picture of what you see?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I finally got the back off. The fan was running strong. The top corner is iced up . what is the issue? And is it manageable replace by homeowner?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also do you know if Viking puts the detail model number anywhere else on the fridge. Most information said it should be in fridge compartment on either side his by a crisper drawer or the ceiling near the light bulb up front. It is in neither location
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
It is low on refrigerant. Unfortunately, it is a repair you will not be able to complete. It requires specialized equipment and training as well as a federal license to handle the refrigerant. You will need to have it professionally repaired. If less than 5 years old, it may be under warranty still, though!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How do you differentiate between a leak and the refrigerant being low? If it's a closed loop system doesn't it seems odd it would be low?
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
They are the same issue, the refrigerant has leaked out. The most common point of leakage is at the evaporator connections where the aluminum is epoxied to the copper and in the back, near the compressor, where the lines are routed near the drain pan. The copper corrodes and eventually leaks. You certainly have a leak (and low refrigerant level), there is no question about that from the pictures you posted.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The unit certainly is out of warranty. Is this something any appliance repair person could fix? Have I exposed enough to make it easy for the repair man to fix or will it need to further disassembled?
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
Well, it will require a tech that performs sealed system repairs. Some do not because there is a lot of paper work required (for the refrigerant) and those types of repairs are very time consuming. It will take about 3-4 hours to repair, depending on what is found to be the source of the leak. These repairs are also very expensive. As sad as it sounds, because it is labeled a Viking (but is built by Whirlpool), you will be charged a premium price to repair it. Most repairs of this type cost about $300-350 + parts. However, Viking products are very costly, so most technicians add considerably to that. In this area, any Viking sealed system repair is 2-3 times as much, just for the name and because they are usually only found in high end homes. I would call around and get a few over the phone basic quotes, telling them it has a sealed system leak and asking what the labor will be. There will be no way they can quote the parts until they locate the leak. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow them to just "top off" the refrigerant and not repair the leak. That takes an hour and looks very appealing not only to the consumer because it is much less expensive, but to the technician because it is much faster and easier and requires much less work. However, it will leak again, so you will be throwing money away, not to mention it is illegal to put refrigerant into a knowing leaking system.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is it possible that it could be thermistor? It doesn't appear we are getting any reading from the freezer thermister
Expert:  Kelly replied 2 years ago.
No, you have a low refrigerant level.