Question about GE GSS22JEM Side by Side Refrigerator

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Freezer and fresh food sides not staying cool.

Compressor was low on freon, friend indicated slow leak somewhere in the unit. We had the same problem about a year ago and adding freon fixed the problem. We added freon which boosted the static pressure. Now both freezer and fresh food sides will get cold with thermostat for both sides set at max (9), periodically both sides will warm up to 40+ degrees, notice problem when ice in icemaker starts to melt and run down the door. I thought maybe the defrost timer but can't find it when looking at the coil.

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If you truely have a leak in the system that would need to be properly taken care of if you ever want to return to normal operation. If the defrost timer goes bad usually you will completely freeze up the coils which causes air circulation problems and only the very lowest part of the freezer (and sometimes fridge) sections will freeze. The upper top of the unit won't be very cold. Same thing happens if the evap. fan (above the coils) goes out (no air circ.).

Posted on Jan 15, 2007

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Jul 08, 2011 | Kenmore Side by Side Refrigerator

1 Answer

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When the defrost heater fails, the area that the coil is in turns into a solid block of frost and ice. It becomes impossible for air to be drawn across the cold coil, cooled and blown into the fresh food compartment. The result is a rising temperature in the fresh food compartment - and eventually in the freezer section, too. Since the fresh food compartment contains the thermostat and the temperature never gets low enough to satisfy it - the compressor runs non-stop. That is, until the defrost timer kicks in to shut it off for 20 minutes or so.

The first thing to do is to manually defrost the freezer by accessing the cooling coil after emptying the contents of the freezer. This can be a pain in the neck to remove racks, shelves, ice maker, etc. to get to the back wall of the freezer, behind which the coil is protected. If you expose the cooling coil and it is encased in frost and ice it is a problem with the defrost circuit. If it is not - the fan is suspect. If the fan spins, check for a blocked path between the fan and the fresh food compartment.

If it is a defrost circuit problem, you'll need to check voltages and continuity on the defrost terminator & timer and defrost heating element, fans, etc. after completely thawing the ice & frost. This job isn't a good first time DIY job due to the danger of freezing skin, etc. due to possible exposure to freon in the system and the tight spaces you'll be working in with live voltages. You might want to call a pro after you've defrosted or put up another fixya request if you decide to dig in on your own and need specific help with procedures, locating parts, wiring diagrams, etc.

I hope this was a good starting point to help you decide whether to go forward or not on your own. Good luck!

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If the sound is a double click, then after about 2 or 5 Min's another double click. You have a bad capacitor.
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Coils keep freezing up its 4 years old


Iced-over evaporator coils, accompanied by a non-chilled fresh food compartment, happened in my GE side-by-side (model GSS20IEMDWW). For me, the problem was caused by a faulty temp sensor in the fresh food side. That sensor never signalled the computer that the temp in the fresh food side was cool enough, so the compressor ran constantly.

Since the compressor was running constantly, the evaporator coils (back wall of the freezer compartment) eventually iced over (took about a week). Since the fan that draws air over the evaporator coils could no longer move any air (due to the icing), the temperature in the fresh food side got warmer as well.

The fresh food side is chilled through a hole with a motorized door at the top of the dividing wall between compartments which opens when the fresh food side needs cooling. If no air is moving in the freezer compartment, temps in the fresh food compartment climb.

I replaced the temp sensor in the fresh food side and solved the problem for a while.

I bough a pair of thermometers at a kitchen store and put one in the freezer compartment and one in the fresh food compartment so that I could occasionally check to see if it made sense for the compressor to be running (ie, was it really necessary to be trying to cool either compartment, or were they already cold enough).

About six months later I had the coil icing problem again. This time the fresh food side seemed cool enough (according to the thermometer as well as the fact that the flapper door would close, indicating that the computer knew to not try to additionally cool the fresh food side).

The thermometer indicated that the temp in the freezer compartment was cold enough, but the system computer continued to run the compressor. So I replaced both temp sensors in the freezer compartment - which solved the problem again. (My fridge is about seven years old.)

If you are going to replace any of the temp sensors, replace them all under the principle of "if one failed, the rest will soon fail too".

Use a website like www.partselect.com to look up a parts diagram for your fridge and see if you can order just the temp sensors. Other websites (www.repairclinic.com and www.appliancepartsworldwide.com) may also be helpful. I have no affiliation with any of the sites I just mentioned - I'm just posting them as resources.

Jul 30, 2009 | GE GSS20IEP Side by Side Refrigerator

1 Answer

The fridge and freezer stopped cooling. we defrosted it. There was frost in the freezer. Before that the ice on the door had stopped and now it works too.


Iced-over evaporator coils, accompanied by a non-chilled fresh food compartment, happened in my GE side-by-side (model GSS20IEMDWW). For me,the problem was caused by a faulty temp sensor in the fresh food side. That sensor never signaled the computer that the temp in the fresh food side was cool enough, so the compressor ran constantly.

Since the compressor was running constantly, the evaporator coils (back wall of the freezer compartment) eventually iced over (took about a week).Since the fan that draws air over the evaporator coils could no longer move any air (due to the icing), the temperature in the fresh food side got warmer as well.

The fresh food side is chilled through a hole with a motorized door at the top of the dividing wall between compartments which opens when the fresh food side needs cooling. If no air is moving in the freezer compartment, temps in the fresh food compartment climb.

I replaced the temp sensor in the fresh food side and solved the problem for a while.

I bought a pair of thermometers at a kitchen store and put one in the freezer compartment and one in the fresh food compartment so that I could occasionally check to see if it made sense for the compressor to be running (ie, was it really necessary to be trying to cool either compartment, or were they already cold enough).

About six months later I had the coil icing problem again. This time the fresh food side seemed cool enough (according to the thermometer as well as the fact that the flapper door would close, indicating that the computer knew to not try to additionally cool the fresh food side).

The thermometer indicated that the temp in the freezer compartment was cold enough, but the system computer continued to run the compressor. So I replaced both temp sensors in the freezer compartment - which solved the problem again. (My fridge is about seven years old.)

If you are going to replace any of the temp sensors, replace them all under the principle of "if one failed, the rest will soon fail too".

Use a website like www.partselect.com to look up a parts diagram for your fridge and see if you can order just the temp sensors. Other websites (www.repairclinic.com and www.appliancepartsworldwide.com) may also be helpful. I have no affiliation with any of the sites I just mentioned - I'm just posting them as resources.

Jul 29, 2009 | GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

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