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Beth Stackpole
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Time for a new fridge??
Beth Stackpole   8/26/2011 8:50:45 AM
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Oh, oh. This has me concerned. I'm the proud owner of the same fridge--same model, same year, same monkey'd up design. So I have leaking water in that same area at times, although I never use the water dispenser so it's not something you'd really think twice about. I know you said you couldn't fix the problem because of where the hoses are. My question is is this the fridge now toast or are you able to still use it?

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Time for a new fridge??
Rob Spiegel   8/26/2011 9:04:17 AM
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Ah, Beth, this is the Monkeys Blog nightmare scenario. You go to the blog to see what people are facing in poorly designed products and you see your own product getting ripped.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Time for a new fridge??
Beth Stackpole   8/26/2011 9:16:01 AM
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I know, Rob. I saw that model number and my heart sank. But then again, I'm jonesing for one of those new french door models!!! Problem is, timing is never right!

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Time for a new fridge??
Rob Spiegel   8/26/2011 9:18:31 AM
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No, the timing is never right.

 

I sent a note to Lloyd Piper who sent in this story. I asked him to comment on your concerns. Hopefully you'll hear from him soon.

LloydP
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Gold
Re: Time for a new fridge??
LloydP   8/26/2011 9:26:17 PM
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Beth:

The fridge is still usable. We just can't use the water-in-the door feature. To make sure nobody accidentally tries to use this feature, I removed power from the solenoid valve that controls the water in the door. It is conveniently located ar the rear of the fridge, behind a removable panel. I also disconnected the water line from the output of the solenoid, and plugged the output port of the valve. Consequently, water can never get to the leak in the hose.

The icemaker is fed by a different line that is totally accessable (go figure!) The refrigerator, the freezer and the icemaker still work.

We don't plan to repalce it until it can't keep food cold and/or frozen. Hopefully we can get at least 10 more years out of it.

BTW, my in-laws ahave a 50+ year old Frigidaire that is still working. It's not their main fridge, but that's quite an enviable lifetime for a kitchen appliance.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Time for a new fridge??
Beth Stackpole   8/26/2011 10:23:27 PM
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Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for clarifying what you did to resolve the problem. I'm tucking it away just in case. Your in-laws are indeed lucky with getting 50+ years out of an appliance. But I have to say, no matter how great my appliance performed and held up over the years, you'd have to count me among the group that would be wanting a new, state-of-the-art appliance after a certain amount of time. Hence, the feeling that if my GE fridge gives me too many hose problems after a good solid decade of use, I guess I have to be okay with moving on to the next innovation.

failureindesign
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Gold
Re: Time for a new fridge??
failureindesign   8/29/2011 9:43:52 PM
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@Beth: If you have the same model and it drips, I would disconnect the water to the door. IMHO, it's not worth risking mold poisoning just for the convenience of not having to open the door to get a drink. And, we musn't forget the tap. At least out here in the boonies of upstate New York we still have nice clean water coming out of the ground. For now at least. Sigh.

 

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Time for a new fridge??
Beth Stackpole   8/29/2011 9:49:54 PM
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Good advice @failureindesign. Actually, I never did drink the water from the fridge. We have a well and really hard, iron-laden water, so I wasn't keen on drinking it even with the built-in filter. But disconnecting the hose is probably the right idea. Thanks for the tip!

Tim
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Platinum
Drips
Tim   8/27/2011 5:51:51 PM
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Small drips and leaks have high potential for big problems in your house.  We once had a drip on the bottom of our refrigerator from the inlet of the water supply to the ice maker.  As it dripped under the refrigerator, the leak was not noticed for some time which allowed over time for the water to penetrate the floor tiles and into the underlayment which when found required replacement of the flooring to avoid black mold growth.  Good job in disconnecting the selenoid to avoid any possible future failure.

jmiller
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Platinum
Minimum specs
jmiller   8/28/2011 6:06:42 PM
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You would think as a minimun the specifications of the design would be "does not leak".  But often if appears that this is some kind of foreign concept.  I wish the industry and the the consumer as a whole would expect more and be willing to pay for more.  When will consumers stop going by price and pay extra for quality.

What does everyone else think?  Can a quality driven consumer drive a quality driven product from a quality drivien manufacturer?

Sailor Frank
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Iron
Re: Minimum specs
Sailor Frank   8/29/2011 9:49:14 AM
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It seems the majority of today's consumers is more interested in saving a dollar than gettng "real" rather than "perceived" quality.  Therefore, with the short sighted, immediate result bean counter, bottom line, share price, and bonus mentality, we are getting what we have driven the market to.

ON another note, if the door insulation is now saturated with water, what are the heat (cool) losses of your unit.  Will the added energy usage cost you more in the next year, two years, etc. than the cost of a new unit?  What do you think the ROI is?

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Minimum specs
Charles Murray   8/29/2011 7:10:32 PM
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To jmiller: Can a quality-driven consumer drive a quality product? Good question. In the long run, we can drive the quality of products if there's sufficient competition. The classic example is the American auto industry. Consumers accepted their junk in the 1960s and '70s, until the Japanese carmakers stepped in and produced a better product. American automakers almost planned themselves into obsolescence with their idea of "planned obsolescence." Let's hope the same holds true for the makers of refrigerators like this one.  

William K.
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Platinum
Hidden Hose failure in a refrigerator.
William K.   8/28/2011 7:26:50 PM
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Beth, this is why some "new" ides are at all times and under all conditions, poor choices. The mandate of much higher efficiency in refrigerators has taken us away from the dys when things like that were repairable. The only reliable water chilling system that I have seen was one that did not have the connections in a door, but rather in a fixed panel. The problem is that it is not possible to build a good product using cheap and inferior materials.

 

BUT there is available a means to do the repairs and then restore the original level of insulation. Foam insulation in a number of different materials is available even in stores like Home Depot, and while it may not be exactly the same as the original foam, it ought to insulate fairly well.

But the actual repair is another challenge, since just replacing the failed components will allow the same failure to happen again. The challenge would be to come up with an approach that would not be suject to failure in the reasonable life of the appliance, which should be at least a minimum of ten years. That will require a great deal of thinking. When you arrive at a solution please share it with us.

Jim S
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Gold
Re: Hidden Hose failure in a refrigerator.
Jim S   8/29/2011 9:37:07 AM
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I would think that the end of the story was only the intro. I would be ripping the foam out and figure how to replace the plastic tubing. The foam can be bought in a can at the home centers. Perhaps the plastic tubing can be replaced with a more rugged product.

cookiejar
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Gold
Nothing monkey'd up in this design
cookiejar   8/29/2011 10:17:48 AM
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Every design is a compromise.  In the middle of the 20th century, refrigerators used fiberglass insulation.  It would inevitably fill with water due to condensation and the fridge would quickly become an energy hog.  Later on they bagged the fiberglass in plastic bags in a futile gesture to keep the water out, but the bags would get punched through by the assembly screws, thermostats etc. and end up holding a lot of water.

So the current solution is to use spray in foam, which cannot absorb water and results in good efficiency throughout the life of the fridge. I think maintenance of the new design is more pleasant, not having to deal with soaked itchy fiberglass and rusted out interiors.  All you have to do is hack away at the foam, replace the hose, use an aerosol can of spray in foam and then trim it off. 

Is there any product out there where water, or any liquid for that matter is involved that doesn't give us leak problems?

Nothing monkey'd up here.   What would your "obvious" design approach be?

 

chastmoses
User Rank
Iron
A desired feature
chastmoses   8/29/2011 2:24:53 PM
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A desirable feature would be consideration for repair.

Placing a plastic cable channel in for a water hose would preserve the integrity of the insulation, assure consistent performance, and improve the perceived quality of the product.

Just slapping the hose in and then spraying insulation emphasizes the throw away culture and implies lack of pride in the product.  Appalling for a durable good.

Return customers and potential new customers turn away from products that are known to have shortcuts.  

Having repaired many devices; it is always a pleasure to work on something that has that little bit of extra effort put into the design and manufacturing.

LloydP
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Gold
Re: Nothing monkey'd up in this design
LloydP   8/29/2011 5:10:09 PM
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Actually, it's not quite as simple as hacking the foam away. Some details were omitted to simplify the description of the problem. The door is made up of an outer skin, welded to a frame, and an inner panel, also welded to the frame. The hose is placed between the door skin and the inner panel. The foam is then injected into the door cavity through several holes in the inner panel. There is no room to hack out the foam to get to the leaking hose.

One alternate design would be to place the hose inside fixed tubing before adding the insulation. The hose could then be snaked through the fixed tubing. Granted this is a more expensive design, and would cost more to assemble than the existing non-repairable design.

David McCollum
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Gold
Not shopping by price
David McCollum   8/29/2011 11:20:55 PM
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Shopping for quality instead of price is a grand concept, but often difficult to do. I tried to purchase a tree limb clipper. It was impossible to find one without hollow aluminum handles. Yes, light and easy to handle. Inexpensive. Useless, because they wouldn't cut anything more stout than a poke salad stalk. I had to shop several places and found one at the local feed and farm store. Steel handles, compound action, replaceable blades, and rubber hand grips. It was $45 instead of $15. A much greater capital outlay, until I remembered that I had destroyed 4 sets of the cheap imported clippers. The issue isn't so much the money, though. Perhaps we as consumers are content to settle for cheap, shoddy goods because we can always get one at the local every-mart. We'll have to become better shoppers and wiser consumers, andeventually the marketplace will respond by bring us what we want instead of what they think they can sell us cheaply.

failureindesign
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Gold
Hidden Hose just tip of ice berg
failureindesign   8/29/2011 11:32:25 PM
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I am quite sure that this design met all of the criteria given to work with. Cheap. Quick. Unserviceable. These are pretty much today's main criteria of design in consumer products as far as I can tell.

Name me some common consumer item that is meant to be serviced. Televisions? No. My CRT-based televisions lasted 20+ years each (including the three I still use regularly) with NO service required. My brother's very new 46" LCD required a new motherboard ($1,400) 11 months later. Another month, he was told, and it would have been cheaper to replace the television outright (hold that thought).

Radios / VHS decks / CD players / iPods / DVD players? LoL.

Automobiles? I can tell when my neighbor is changing his plugs again, he has the engine hoist out. Or those lovely plastic headlight covers. Once a year we buy the $20 polish kit and return them to transparency. My neighbor's 20 year old daily driver with the ORIGINAL glass headlight covers are perfect!

I love car shopping. The salesman will say things like, "This automobile is very well designed. You could drive it for 10 years with proper maintenance." I always reply, "Great! You won't mind putting a 100,00 mile / 10 year warranty on dealer letterhead then." The choking sound is always amusing.

Remember that thought you were supposed to hold? If not, stop scanning for key words and go back and actually read this rant.

There are several factors behind what I (and maybe others) perceive to be the current insanity in consumer design. It began with the "first to market" syndrome made popular years ago by the consultants. Then huge advances in the price/performance ratio in CAD allowed companies to "flatten" engineering departments (eliminating many experienced people in favor of CAD jockeys and salesmen). Finally, insane salary demands from the top offices put very real pressure on the accounting department to come up with cash, now (unlike the Federal Government, companies cannot print money, thank God!). The net result was a focus shift from quality and serviceability to how fast and cheap can we spit it out with minimum regard for it's performance once it hits the shelf at Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Longevity? You ARE kidding? Right? The warranty period is a rough estimate of how long it should work based on the accounting department's cost-of-warranty vs. cost-of-manufacture vs. cost-of-time-to-market analysis. You laugh. I've seen that analysis. Eerie.

And, the American consumer has bought into in a big way. Sure, something breaks, we just go buy another one. The newer one will have fancier labels and colors so it must be better, right? I'm reminded of Barnum & Bailey at this point but that's another topic.

Or maybe we have only ourselves to blame. Growing up, everyone knew how to fix something. The really bright fellows, like my Dad, could fix almost anything (houses, cars, radios, televisions, broken bones, etc). In fact, in the 50+ years I knew him, I cannot think of anything he couldn't fix. Alzheimer's finally took him but even the experts haven't a clue on that stuff yet. Ask some kid today to pop the top off the washing machine -- one of the simplist machines in the home -- and they'll give you that sad deer-in-the-headlight look and dial 411 on their iPhone for a repairman. LoL What can I say? It's really fun to watch.

Now. Back to major appliances. The cost-to-fix-exceeds-the-cost-to-replace syndrom is beginning to make it's way into this arena (now that it has killed off many other small businesses, like television repair shops and electronic parts stores). Last year, the local appliance repair fellow called it quits and left the area. With the advent of the front-loading machines, it is essentially cheaper to buy a new washing machine than to repair one out of warranty. And with all the new electronics I'm sure (tongue-in-cheek) they'll just get more reliable; yeah, like nothing ever goes wrong with electronics ... just ask some Toyota owners. ROTFLMAO BTW, my advice? Buy only mechanical switch controlled washers and dryers. I kept the first set running 20+ years with an occasional siliconing of the friction pads on the dryer and a new drum clamp ($16) on the washer around year 15. The second dryer is nearing 20 years with the same siliconing maintenance. The washer required regular visits until I asked the repair fellow a simple question but that's another topic also. And mechanical units actually get your clothes clean without doing the Hawaiian hula dance. Ooh.

We did finally break down and buy a new refrigerator after 40+ years. I love the wheels they designed in and the loose lens on the light is just a minor oversight in the lip design but a piece of tape fixed that PDQ. The drawer glide clips come loose regularly but they click back easily enough. The only mystery so far is why did the designer put 10 slots on the ice cube maker but only enable the first two? I called Sears service and they assured me that it is working perfectly. I haven't bothered to dissect it for correction yet. We don't use much ice anyhow.

Meanwhile, I just keep fixing things as I go.

Latest fix? A $200 label printer. It looked great on the CAD system I am sure. But allowing only 0.015" between the label advance button and the switch on the printed circuit board was NOT a good idea given all the tolerance stackups in between and the inherent issues in aging plastic and printed circuit boards. As the printer got to be a year old or so, the 0.015" clearance became an interference and, yeah, you guessed it ... if you put a roll of labels in it just spit them all out. I "re-designed" the printer and now it works just fine. Yes, I did contact the printer manufacturer through their web site's support service. They basically told me there was nothing wrong with their printer and they couldn't figure out what I was talking about. Who knows? I don't care. It took less time to fix it than to discuss it.

I tell my grandkids to either learn how to use tools, or stay in college until they're lawyers or doctors. And learning Mandarin isn't such a bad idea either. LoL

 

Ksmith8827
User Rank
Iron
GE Profile Refrigerator freezer door hose
Ksmith8827   8/31/2011 7:22:57 PM
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I also have the GE Profile refrigerator, and suffered the pooling water on the floor under the freezer door. After investigating the hose routing, I determined that the push-to-connect fitting that is used at the door-freezer compartment intersection had become unseated when the contractor moved the unit into my new kitchen. After locating the fitting, it was a matter of pushing the hose firmly into the connector, then pulling snugly to make sure the seal was tight. Problem solved, but the linoleum will need to be replaced pretty soon, as that was where the seam was located for two separate flooring sections.

Tom Shed
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Iron
US Appliance Manufactures - a Joke
Tom Shed   9/9/2011 5:48:29 PM
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With very few exceptions, US appliance manufactures make junk.  I do like our Whirlpool front loading washer and dryer, but they were made in Germany. 

Cate in point out my wife found sheet metal screw at the bottom of the oven in our GE electric range.  Close inspection found that it had been one of two self tapping sheet metal screws holding the oven vent in place.  The hole in the oven liner was enlarged due to corrosion.  A close examination of the liner found numerous rust pockmarks.  The material that GE used for the liner is junk and the as is the enamel coating. The range was five years old at the time of the failure. 

I was blown off by both GE and Sears, the retailer.  LG next time.



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