Family finds relief from fridge temperature troubles


Few would question that a refrigerator is a basic necessity and a Castro Valley family knows that now more than ever.

Karen Spies says the family's troubles started before Thanksgiving. The temperature gauge she now keeps in her refrigerator tells the story.

"Right now it is in the spoil zone," she said.

The top half of the refrigerator won't cool, while the bottom half is so cold ice builds up. Karen's husband Larry demonstrated just how much ice with a tape measure.

"It's about eight inches wide and it's about two inches thick," he said. "They kept coming out and replacing parts and telling us this time it will fix it and a week later the ice is back."

This happened at least three separate times over a two-month period. Finally, the Spies told their home warranty company, American Home Shield, they had enough.

"We don't want you back here. You don't know how to fix this refrigerator and we're tired of it," Karen said.

The family had to borrow a friend's old refrigerator and they set it up in the garage, and they contacted 7 On Your Side.

"Once you guys got involved, 7 On Your Side, everything went really quickly," Larry said.

American Home Shield called a repair service which specializes in Sub-Zero refrigerators just like the one the Spies have. The repairman determined the unit's insulation was no longer functioning and declared the refrigerator "not repairable."

American Home Shield then sent the family a check to replace the old built-in refrigerator with an equivalent model.

"Here it is. It's a check for just a little under $8,300," Larry said.

In an e-mail, American Home Shield told 7 On Your Side: "It normally does not cover for insulation, given the details of the situation American Home Shield agreed to pay for complete unit replacement."

It went on to say: "It's now identified specific opportunities for improvement that will result in better escalation guidelines."

The spies now have a new Sub-Zero refrigerator on order.

"It's going to be wonderful to be able to have a refrigerator in the house that works again," Larry said.

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