The venerable, terrible, no-good Arctica

I am locked in mortal battle with my GE Profile “Arctica” 25 side by side refrigerator. I’m a GE engineer, though in the healthcare division, not appliances (which has been sold off anyway). I’m too lazy to buy a new fridge, so lazy that I’m willing to do what my brother in law would probably call “extravagant war-time repair operations”.

Common failure modes and how to treat them with extravagant laziness: a catalog of learning from 2001 to the present day.

“Jet Engine” noises, loud howling, like somebody drilling…

There are many non-lazy solutions on the internet. The one below is very lazy – I have not had to re-visit it in 4 years now.

Main compartment temperature cannot regulate

If your main compartment gets way too cold, the damper at the top of the fridge between the freezer and main compartments is stuck or broken open, letting air from the freezer into the main compartment. If your main compartment is too warm, it is stuck/broken closed.

You can buy a new part, but that’s not lazy.

Failing diagnostic test 0-3

It’s a trap! There is no electrical connection between the temperature panel and the dispenser panel! This fridge always fails 0-3, a.k.a. “Temperature to Control Panel to Dispenser board Communication”. Here, the design engineers were being admirably lazy by leaving in firmware a test unrelated to this model.

Hammering, Woodpecker noise lasting 5-10 seconds, randomly

The nifty “custom cool” feature comes with its own little box of failure modes packed just behind the lowermost drawer in the main cabinet. The box contains another damper. This one has broken-off plastic teeth driven by a woodpecker.

This only just started for me, so I’m being lazy and not using “custom cool” which seems to be working so far. In fact I never used “custom cool” (it does not seem lazy to push buttons in your fridge to speed up or slow down the basic purpose of a fridge) but I think our cat accidentally turned it on while we were away. I’m on the fence whether this merits another approach.

Water line hammering for both dispenser and ice maker

The water filter has an inlet valve with very poor mechanical tolerance between the tang on the filter or bypass plug and the lever in the housing that is supposed to open the valve when the filter or bypass plug is installed. It eventually stops opening the inlet valve fully enough to prevent the valve closing when the water pressure fluctuates as the dispenser or ice make valves open. Who wants to change the tiny filter in the fridge anyway? Not lazy.

The filter housing can be removed easily – 2 screws on the back of the fridge to remove the cover, and 2 screws inside the fridge. Cut the 3/16” poly line from the housing body to the bottom of the fridge close to the housing, and connect directly to the water supply. Stuff some insulation in the hole through the rear of the fridge, and install a metal plate over the hole inside the fridge. No more filters to change, and you have more room in the fridge in the space the filter hosing used to occupy. I have a whole house filter for drinking water and kitchen prep sink anyway, which is cheaper.