So, cognizant that these questions are dependent upon a number of variables, most of which are unknown to me or beyond my comprehension ability, I’ve come to terms with those truths a long time ago. But I’m still curious to see if anyone or any group of people have been seeing similar indications, if so if there are any apparent common threads we could pull on, and maybe if someone has actually taken the time to identify the cause, determine the implications of the condition, and/or taken actions to mitigate with any level of success or no change. Here’s the deal:
This has been happening periodically, about 3-5 times per month, on average, at what seems to be random yet at a relatively similar rate of occurrence.
I recieve a notification from Sense which is telling me that my kitchen refrigerator has been running constantly for 1 hour. But if I’m being honest, I have no idea if that’s an indication of nominal operation, or if it’s an early sign that the efficiency of this unit is impaired.
The refrigerator was purchased new and put into service in mid-2013, is a GE Cafe configured with a bottom freezer drawer, top refrigerator double french doors design, an automatic icemaker, and a chilled water, hot water, and ice dispenser located on the front left door.
This unit has caused us no issues for the 7 years we’ve owned it, and honestly the fact that it’s almost a decade old always surprises me based on how it looks and operates.
Here’s where the waters become muddied for me. As anyone who owns the Sense system long enough will eventually come to realize, what is being reported to you as the Kitchen Refrigerator is designated the Kitchen Refrigerator because way back when in the first few weeks after installing the Sense system, you felt that one of these appliances found was the kitchen refrigerator, and thusly name it so.
Not long after my first recognized and corrected appliance designation error, the trust and confidence in the rest of my designations began eroding in earnest. This was especially true for those designations made in the earlier days before I had been able to really observe the subtleties and nuances of the Sense system operations. With this refrigerator’s designation having been one of the earliest, I’m not quite at the levels of suspicious, but I’m certainly open to the possibility that I’ve been seeing warnings for some other appliance.
Based on this lack of confidence of accurate designation, I wasn’t going to begin any analysis which focused on understanding how to troubleshoot the indicator or if troubleshooting was even necessary would need to wait until I could validate with a higher degree of confidence that the current frequency being detected by Sense and which I designated as “Kitchen Refrigerator” was in fact an accurate correlation with the actual kitchen refrigerator in service.
So, why don’t I just see if the refrigerator compressor is running whenever I see the warning, and look for the correlation indicator when it shuts off? Well, I was going to, but as I worked through how I would I do this, I started seeing a number of immeasurable variables which could be part of the equation, and create a slew of data contaminations of the data I was using, which of course invalidated any analysis of it I may conduct.
The first challenge, one which would not allow for a simple compressor/ indicator correlation, and which I felt would be useful only insofar as being used as a single data point to be considered only along side a larger set, the population of being the only antidotal element.
First, the thing has always been and still remains the quietest appliance in the kitchen, usually barely audible when running. And like when you go to a hearing test, put on the 1962 vintage headsets, and strain to hear the slightest softest tones to the point of not really being able to tell if it’s real or if it is in your head. Same sort of issue.
Adding to that difficulty is the unknown total number of auxiliary systems which operate within the refrigerator’s system. Some I am aware of, but I don’t know what I don’t know, and with most of these subsystems operating largely independent of all others, some which make no sound all the though those which make a sound easily heard and identified.
However, identifying what subsystem makes what sounds is of little, if any use in the process of validating when I consider that I still don’t have a comprehensive enough understanding of all the refrigerators subsystems, if the Sense system is differentiating some, but lumping others together with the compressor and reporting them as the single refrigerator?
Here’s the subsystems I know about, and any of the indicators, audible or otherwise, I am able to identify them when being powered:
- Intetior Refrigerator Cabinet Lighting
- Only on with door open
- Automatic Ice Maker
- Unique audible indication at the conclusion of an ice making cycle. Light motor whir followed by falling clunks of ice cubes into storage bin.
- Cold Water Dispenser
- Doesn’t dispense without manual intervention which makes the same noise as any water being poured. However, the current draw, mechanism used, or indications on activation on the cold water cooling process is unknown.
- Hot Water Dispenser
- Never used heating elements are only active with manual intervention, which we never use because there are 25 ways to heat 8ozs of water in less time than the 8 minutes it takes.
- Refrigerator Cabinet Odor Filter
- As far as I can tell, this only runs when we activate it, which is not often, but does happen. The fan being used is not audible at all, and I’ve made the mention before that I wouldn’t believe it was a real subsystem and not just a button to press, if not for the truely impressive effectiveness of eliminating some smelly stuff
- Produce & Meat Drawer Isolated Temperature Differentiation Settings
- No idea how they work, if they are actually working well, if they are a subsystem or somehow create the temp differentials by leveraging the main compressor somehow.
So with all this going on, if the Sense system lumps everything into the same bucket of Kitchen Refrigerator, I could understand how 3-4 these subsystems being operated in staggered but always overlapping durations, with the main compressor kicking in for 10 minutes at the beginning and 10 minutes at the end, an hour of continuous operation isn’t unrealistic during nominal operations.
HUGE post, tons of relevant context, the inclusion of being something I am fanatical about. But for those of you who got through it, any thoughts?