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Side by side refrigerator side is getting warm

What is wrong when your side by side refrigerator is getting warm but freezer is working. I hear the fan running and feel a slight bit of air coming from the freezer compartment but not a lot. I have checked all the seals and doors. I am assuming its the defrost timer or thermostat. There is some frost on the back wall of the freezer and last week the drain in the freezer was clogged, water pooled and then froze all in the bottom. I can put a block of dry ice in the fridge and it keeps it cold for a few days but I'm thinking no cold air is moving from the coils and thats why it begins to get warm. I just need it to last about a month until I can buy a new one. Actually, if replacing a part will make it last, I want to move it to my Garage and use it as the overflow. It is a GE TFX25ZPBE and is older than 2008. It was here when we moved in. Thanks so much!!

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  • Refrigerators Master
  • 842 Answers

Hi Amy,

First of all let rule out some issues, your cooling system is working or you would not have frost. So, I would completely thaw the unit out (unplug it for a day) when you plug it in, if there is no water let in it, your cooling ability will be restored. This would last about 3 days or so. Watch for frost in freezer back wall, if you get frost, you would either have to replace the heater kit (WR51x10029) or the timer (WR9x489). To test and see which one you would need, remove the light lens in the refer section, you will see a white metal box mounted to the refer behind this light cover. in the middle of this metal box is a hole that has a plastic looking screw in it. Use a butter knife or finger to rotate this timer unit you hear a click and the cooling system shuts off (defrost timer). During this time if your heaters in the freezer are working properly you might see a reddish glow inside and at the bottom of the freezer section. If not glowing your heaters have failed and will need to be replaced.

As for replacement, this repair is common for the unit and could last you a while when completed. Good luck

Posted on Mar 31, 2014

  • Amy Youngblood
    Amy Youngblood Apr 01, 2014

    Thank you!!! A combo of things had happened. The drain hole got plugged up last week (I think) and water couldnt drain. So it began to freeze and got high enough to freeze around the element and bust it. (The defrost heater and bracket are not pictured correctly in the diagrams I have found. The heater is at the bottom of all the coils.) So the heater was definitely bad. I thawed out the coils and replaced the heater. The frost had gotten all the way to the defrost thermostat. I wonder if I should replace it to be safe. Also Should I replace the defrost timer? When I turn it, I do get to the click and it triggers the heater because I see the red glow. Everything seems to be fine all day but tonight I noticed that the temp seemed to go back up a bit in the fridge after it had been ideal. That maybe just traffic of the dinner time rush so I'll check it in the morning again. If I can spin it and cause the heater to come on does that mean the timer is bad? I thought that is what is was supposed to do. And it does after about 20 minutes turn the heater off and the fans back on.

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SOURCE: Fridge warm, freezer has frost on back panel & is defrosting, fans work, just changed defrost thermostat, no air is moving from freezer side to fridge side, drain pan under fridge is dry

this fan needs to run when the compressor runs,check fan blade for being jammed by ice if you have this much ice on back wall as ice will stall motor,if no fan there will be no cool air to refrige compartment also the defrost drain tray will fill with water then freeze over which in turn floods the freezer floor and refrige compartments cause it cannot drain to the pan in the bottom

Posted on May 12, 2012

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