Kenmore Refrigeratorptc relay burns causing smoke

This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

My wife was in the kitchen when it suddenly filled with a white, foul smelling smoke. I quickly disconnected all appliances and opened all windows. After a couple hours it was marginally bearable to begin plugging devices back in. The smell became worse as soon as the refrigerator was reconnected. I unplugged it again and removed the cardboard cover from the back. Plugging it back in caused the PTC relay on the compressor to start to burn. Much of the plastic had already burned and some had melted. I would be surprised if the smoke is not highly toxic. The relay did not unplug easily from the compressor as one contact seems welded together from sparking. As yet I have not replaced the relay but have contacted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and emailed Sears. I find it unbelievable that as many complaints as I have read Sears hasn't yet issued a recall!


  • Bu
    Budogrl Jul 12, 2012

    Count me in for the same problem, relay burned up in middle of night. My son smelled it but by morning the odor had cleared. I'm lucky, purchased the fridge 7 yrs ago, but Sears replaced it for an out rages amount of money. Never again.

    0 Votes
  • Ed
    Ed2010 Mar 09, 2011

    Same problem. Kenmore [protected]. The relay switch was burning. Fire department found the source of the heat.
    recommended not to use. I witnessed the red glow on the relay and burning of plastic on red wire. I replaced relay switch which i purchased from sears. I have same concern, is the switch i replaced the relay switch, faulty as well.

    0 Votes
  • Af
    A FL GC Feb 05, 2011

    I woke up at 3:38 am this morning with an aweful smell of burnt plastic. The smell was so aweful that it woke me up! After searching all over the house and unplugging everything, I realized it was my Kenmore refrigerator. The relay was on fire. I unplugged the refrigerator and moved all the contents to our fridge in the garage (lucky I had that one).
    Model # 106-[protected] Manf. Date: 12/2002

    1 Votes
  • St
    stardune Sep 24, 2010

    Add another survivor of a Kenmore side-by-side frig to the list, model106.1212101 MFG date 2003 .07. I came home unplanned mid-day to find the kitchen, living room and dinning room full of an acrid smoke and strong electric smell. Luckily the dog was elsewhere and I did come home that day otherwise it would be a much sadder story.

    0 Votes
  • Gi
    giulianamd Aug 17, 2010

    This happened to me this morning. It was around 4:30am and the smell started coming in so strong. We live in a two bedroom apartment so it was not long till the smell was all over the house. We did not know where it was coming from but I was 100% convinced it was coming from the fridge.

    The fire department stopped by, moved the fridge and smoke just started coming from the back of the fridge. One of the only reasons we did not see the smoke was because it was put into a cubby hole.

    Finally we had to evacuate the apartment because the smell was very strong. Is this toxic? Of course I am at work.. tired out of my mind and can't think straight!

    0 Votes
  • He
    Herschela Aug 06, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hmmm.. this post started a year ago and the incident reports keep coming. Add me to the list with my Whirlpool Model GS465 - for all we know, one giant corporation owns all refrigerator brands and uses the same crappy parts. My cat woke me up at 5:00 a.m. and by that time, the whole house was filledwith the white, stinky smoke. I flipped the circuit breaker and the billowing smoke stopped. The appliance man said the relay and compressor were melted worse than any he had seen. He also said i was lucky i had a tile floor, because the layer of insulation under the fridge had also turned black from the heat, and a wooden floor or carpet would have caught fire. It's Friday - my insurance company (Liberty Mutual) has been SUPERB, but I have to wait until Monday for them to take the fridge away. In the meantime, the stink is giving me a giant headache. Anyone want to venture a guess as to whether or not the smell is toxic? I know I should just stay somewhere else to be safe, but... ugh. where's the consumer alert?

    0 Votes
  • Ka
    katesgrandma Aug 02, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Same complaint here. Came home to burning plastic smell. Thank God (I mean that literally) the breaker blew. It would not reset until I unplugged the refrigerator.
    Kenmore side-by-side
    Date of Manufacture: 2003.10
    Model Number: 106.[protected]

    Kenmore used to be a brand you could trust. Craftsman, too, but the last Craftsman mower I bought was a piece of junk.
    Guess now days everything is about profit, forget customer safety, much less satisfaction.

    I'll be filing complaints, also.

    0 Votes
  • Jk
    JK39 Apr 23, 2010

    Same thing happened to us... it is currently 2:22 am - we woke to the same burning plastic smell. Do not know anything about refrigerators or PTC relays... we unplugged it - not sure what else we can do at this hour. We will be phoning someone in the morning I guess...

    0 Votes
  • Pu
    pugsl32 Apr 04, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    On evening of April 2, 2010 I woke up to a foul smell and after investigating I found my Kenmore refrigerator was smoking. Thankfully I was home as I travel for work. My dog would have died from the toxic oder and /or my home could have burnt. I am in a 3 unit condo and could have affected 2 other families.
    After looking at the back it was found to be the relay. It was completed burnt/melted.
    Why has there not been a recall!!!

    0 Votes
  • Bo
    Bob606 Mar 05, 2010

    Add mine to the list. My relay caught caught on fire today and we were lucky to be home when it happened. Didn't want to loose everything in the frig so I contacted a local repair outfit to come to make the repair. He said this is a common problem with Kenmore and that the part used is junk. He said they will only use a third party assy that is made in the USA. The new part does not plug on to the side of the compressor like the original but but gets remote mounted.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    Trazarra Feb 07, 2010

    Same thing happened to our fridge...same model...same year

    0 Votes
  • Ha
    Handy Andy Jan 25, 2010

    The other night sitting watching TV, we heard a loud electrical shorting sound coming fromm the kitchen. I went in to investigate and smelled the awful smell of plastic burning. Alerting my wife we ran around the house checking all the outlets and switches, and found the smell only in the kitchen. The smell appeared closest around the refrigerator. We quickly unplugged it, rolled it out, and determined it was the problem. The relay switch on the compressor shorted . After reading all the compaints and the recall by Maytag and it's companies,
    I AM CONVINCED that this fridge was made by Maytag under the Kenmore name and should be part of there nationwide recall.
    I have filed a complaint also with the CPSC, as all people with the Kenmore refigerators that have had this problem should do.
    We replaeced the relay ourselves, about $60.00. The fridge seems fine and is working properly. My only question now is, is the part I replaced going to do the same thing? Is the part in the recall different from the one I bought? I will be contacting Maytag about this and will try to post more as I find out any info.

    Product: Sears Kenmore Refrigerator
    Date of Manufacture: 2003. 10
    Model Number: 106.[protected]
    Thomas Anderson, Wixom MI

    1 Votes
  • Cl
    cleveland Nov 15, 2009

    We have a kenmore side by side model [protected]
    my wife heard a bzzzz followed by white grey smoke coming from underneath the fridge

    she pulled the fridge out and unplugged it

    the smell was acrid and filled the entire downstairs

    i took off the cardboard backing and noticed the electrical plug in (looks like a cartridge) was smoking

    the fridge is 3 years old i do the routine maintenance as the manual suggests

    i am glad i stumbled onto this site

    i wish i hadn't bought this fridge and i am not looking forward to dealing with sears
    i feel i am lucky that this happened during daylight hours so we could take action

    this fridge is a lemon
    i have no confidence in this product in fact i want sears to cart it away when they send someone to look at it tomorrow

    0 Votes

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