Berlin, OH - Events of Monday, July 14 to Thursday, July 17, 2014
We didn't do much last weekend except hang around the motor home. We also hung around on Monday; and while we were playing with Freeway, we noticed his duck, which is one of his favorite toys, was coming apart. Freeway likes cloth toys, but he is very hard on them. Margery frequently has to "do surgery" to sew them up, but the duck was pretty old and it was beyond repair.
A while back, Margery realized the duck was just about on its last legs, so she ordered Freeway a new toy to take its place. It is a dinosaur, and it's almost as big as Freeway is. We "retired" the duck and got out the dinosaur.
Freeway LOVES the dinosaur. We call it Barney since it's purple. By the second day, Freeway figured out how to pick up Barney so he didn't trip over it and so the feet wouldn't block his vision when he was carrying it.
Even though living and traveling in an RV full-time may seem like vacation everyday to some, life on the road still involves maintenance and repairs. When we're stationery, we do some of the more involved projects. On Tuesday, Paul decided to tackle one of those.
We have been having a problem with water and ice accumulating on the bottom of the refrigerator section of the Samsung RF197 residential refrigerator Paul installed about 2½ years ago. This is a known problem with earlier versions of this refrigerator caused by a design flaw that allows the drain tube to freeze up. The tube is supposed to take water from the ice that melts off the cooling coils during the defrost cycle and drain it to a pan under the fridge where the water can evaporate. With the drain tube blocked by ice, the water has nowhere to go and overflows into the refrigerator section. Because the freezer is directly under of the refrigerator, the floor of the refrigerator is quite cold so some of the water freezes.
Samsung has a new aluminum clip that goes on the defrost heater coil and extends down into the drain tube to keep the drain tube from freezing. New refrigerators are being shipped with the clip already installed, and Samsung will also install the clip at no cost if customers experience the drainage problem while the refrigerator is still under warranty. Unfortunately, our refrigerator was made before Samsung started using the clip, and it was already out of warranty when the problem started.
It only takes a few minutes about once a week to mop the water out of the bottom of the refrigerator with a dish cloth and remove any ice, but that was getting old so we decided it was time to install the new clip that's supposed to fix the problem. Paul chose to do it himself rather than to pay for an expensive service call from an appliance repairman.
The part number of the clip is DA61-06796A. Paul ordered it from ApplianceParts365.com for $1.97 plus $6.50 for shipping. Their service was very good with the part arriving in about 4 or 5 business days.
Paul decided to replace the clip on Tuesday because the weather was predicted to be relatively cool. To get at the cooling coils, you have to remove a plastic cover at the back of the refrigerator; and to get at the cover, you have to remove the food and all the shelves. Since we only have a couple of small coolers, most of the food would have to sit out for an hour or two, so Paul didn't want to do the work on a hot day.
Installing the clip turned out not to be as big a job as Paul feared it might be. The only problem was that a small piece of the foam insulation that is attached to the back of the plastic panel broke off because it was stuck to the ice that had formed in the area around the drain tube. Fortunately, Paul was later able to tape the piece of foam back into place with some high/low temperature aluminum duct tape he happened to have. Keeping the foam intact is important because it also helps direct the flow of cold air.
In the photo below you can see the black defrost heating coil with an ice dam covering the drain tube below it.
Paul melted the ice dam using Margery's hair dryer, and he melted the ice that was down in the drain tube with boiling water. He then installed the new clip.
Everything went back together fairly quickly, and within about 2 hours of turning the refrigerator back on, it was back down to around 40º. After several days, there was no sign of water in the bottom of the fridge. Here's hoping the clip keeps doing its job.
Paul likes to keep busy by working on little projects, but he definitely prefers upgrade projects to repairs. Unfortunately, Paul recently had another repair that was a little more critical than the refrigerator. One morning there was a pop as he was flushing the toilet. After the pop, the flush valve didn't close when he released the pedal, and the water valve didn't shut off. Uh-oh. Fortunately, Paul was able to pull the pedal back up with his toe to close flush valve and shut off the water. When he took the pedal assembly apart, he found the return spring had broken.
Unfortunately, you can't buy just the spring. The spring is only available as part of a spring cartridge, which consists of the spring and a lever in a plastic housing. Tamper-resistant screws prevent dis-assembly of the cartridge because the spring is under fairly high tension. Paul ended up ordering the cartridge from Factory RV Surplus where he got the ladder parts. Their price for the part wasn't the cheapest, but total cost of the part ($24) combined with shipping ($14) was competitive with other vendors. When Paul called them, they said they had the part in stock and that they would ship it the next day. Because they are located fairly close to Berlin in Elkhart, IN, the part only took one day to arrive.
Paul installed the new spring cartridge as soon as we got it on Wednesday. Although the part is expensive, the fact that it is a pre-assembled cartridge makes it very easy to install. Just pop the cover plate off the side of the foot pedal, remove two screws from the water valve and move the valve aside. The spring cartridge sits behind the water valve. Just slide out the old cartridge and push the new one into place. Then reinstall the water valve and pop the cover plate back on. Done.
With those repairs out of the way, we were looking forward to something more interesting. Stay tuned.