Home front news: the chirping comatose refrigerator

Adventures in appliances on Ramona St. Beginning the evening of Saturday 11/26 — yes, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in my country — when I opened the refrigerator to get things for dinner and the thing appeared to be stone-dead, for how long I couldn’t be sure. Infuriating, because the appliance was only a couple of years old; it’s an emergency replacement, installed during pandemic lockdown, for its predecessor, which experienced the mechanical equivalent of sudden total organ failure.

Now the sad story in some detail. I remind you that the chirping comatose refrigerator is happening right along with all the other challenges and afflictions of my life (not all of which I have yet posted about; the Land of Urinals posting, in particular, is still to come).

The appliance. In white, in the smaller of two available sizes.

From the Samsung site; freezer at the top, refrigerator at the bottom (with a Slide and Reach Pantry tray at the top, and crisper drawers at the bottom); my fridge opens from the other side, but that’s adjusted during installation

That’s what I ended up with. But how did I get this one?

The task of making all these arrangements fell to Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky (hereafter, EDZ). Her assignment was to find a refrigerator / freezer that would fit into the relatively small space in my kitchen and could be delivered soon, during the Covid-19 lockdown (while I was in isolation). It couldn’t cost a fortune. If possible, it should be  roughly similar to my familiar, but now deceased, Frigidaire. In general, simpler would be better.

There weren’t many choices, and the Samsung you see above — call it Sammy — looked like the best of the possibilities. (I had no idea that Samsung even made refrigerators, but what do I know?). EDZ oversaw the purchase and supervised the installation. Life stumbled on.

Early on, I discovered one of Sammy’s features that was not documented in the on-line descriptions or in the (generally useless) owner’s manual: if you leave the door open too long (something on the order of  30 or 40 seconds), Sammy issues a series of chirps, intended as a signal for you to close the door tightly. Then a pause of maybe 20 seconds, more chirps, and repeat. Keep that feature in mind.

Sammy gets sick. On the 26th, it appeared that Sammy had suffered some mortal affliction; they showed no signs of life, no spark of light, no cooling breath, not a sound. (Oh yes, Sammy is gender-nonbinary and uses the pronoun they / them.)

I phoned EDZ, who appeared, assessed the situation, and went to search for advice via her phone. Well, yes, it seemed, the Samsung fridges sometimes did that, and, incredibly, the thing to do was a hard reboot. Drag the refrigerator away from the wall to get at the power cord … unplug it … wait … plug it back in.

That worked. Sort of. Alas, it turned out that the hard reboot was like defibrillation that brings the patient back to life but leaves them in a coma: Sammy was managing to maintain some very modest level of coolness without powering the lights or actually cooling things properly (thereby risking food spoilage).

Meanwhile, most poignantly, poor deranged Sammy hallucinated that their door was open and so maintained the chirp warnings. Endlessly.

Clearly a repair person was needed. EDZ then suffered through repair services that just didn’t return her calls, others that pointedly wouldn’t touch Samsungs, but eventually got one that said it would come look at Sammy on Monday (yesterday).

The guy appeared around 7 in the evening, fiddled with the equipment, and produced some good news and some bad news. The good news was that all that was needed was a small component. The bad news was that the component had to be ordered, and it would take 2 to 5 days to get it. So that I’d have to live with comatose chirping Sammy until then (and minimize actually opening the door).

I am pleased to report that although the incessant chirping was at first grating and distracting, as with so many recurrent things one accommodates to it; it’s become just part of the background noise in my little condo (and it’s not loud enough to distress the neighbors). I might even miss it for a while when it’s gone.

The Facebook Beep Symposium. Today’s light entertainment on FB, set off by EDZ:

— EDZ: I wish I did not have so many opinions on appliances. Also, Samsung refrigerators, no, refrigerators do not need to beep and if they do need to beep they need ways to disable the beep.

— Dean Allemang > EDZ: Ours plays a soothing tune when we leave the door open.

— EDZ > DA: Would it still be soothing if the door sensor failed and it did it for 5 days straight while you waited for the part?

— AMZ > DA: In principle, that’s the trigger for the beep / chirp / ringing alarm. But this Samsung refrigerator — not, I add, a smart appliance, just a refrigerator — is both comatose and delusional, and now chirps roughly every 20 seconds, all day long, even though its door is firmly closed. I’m about to post about it.

And so I have.



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