GE fridge and freezer cools when it wants to - freezer on top
Noticed ice melted in freezer and everything thawed. Unplugged for about 25 minutes. Plugged back in. Everything worked. 2 days later, everything thawed in freezer and everything in fridge was warm. Unplugged as before and when plugged back in, nothing. Left plugged in. Noticed 45 minutes later, fridge had turned on and everything back to normal again.
I had already vacuumed underneath and behind fridge. Today I pulled off the back kick panel and vacuumed everything in there the best I could. There was plenty of dust build-up back there. Could this have been causing the problem, or do you think I may have a thermostat, condenser, or coolant problem? Please advise. I am tired of throwing away many $$$$$ of groceries.
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If your fridge is not designed with an automatic de-icing function, then there may be an ice dam blocking the cold air from moving from the freezer to the fridge. I had a fridge once that would get blocked with ice even if the rest of the freezer was ice-free.
Unplug your unit (often shutting off the breaker is easier than digging behind the fridge for the plug).
Pull everything out of the freezer and put it in a box. Cover the box completely with blankets to insulate it so your food doesn't thaw and spoil. Prop open the freezer door and let any ice accumulation melt.
Once everything has thawed out, wipe up the water and plug the unit back in. You should be able to tell after 10 minutes or so whether the fridge is getting cooler or not.
DEFROST PROBLEM The evaporator coil behind the cover on the back wall inside the freezer will ice up under normal conditions. Every 8 to 10 hours for around 20 minutes the defrost timer (or in most newer models the electronic adaptive defrost control) will turn the defrost heater on to melt the built up ice. There is a defrost thermostat which prevents the heater from overheating the freezer by breaking the heater circuit when the temp reaches close to 32 degrees F. The entire cooling system shuts off during the defrost cycle and starts back when the timer advances through the cycle.
If this ice is not melted it will continue to build up until the air can't flow over the coil to circulate the cold air through the freezer and into the fridge. The temperature change in the fridge is usually noticed first followed by the freezer.
If the defrost thermostat is bad, it can prevent the heater from coming on OR it won't turn the heater off when it gets too warm. It is clamped to the evaporator coil at the top to sense the temp. If it appears to be misshapen it is bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity when cold and none when warm. You can also bypass(disconnect the two wires plugged into it and twist them together) the thermostat to see if the heater comes on then. If it does then you know the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.
The defrost heater is located on the evaporator. It is in a tube which is at the bottom and can also go up the sides of the evaporator. On some types you can see a burnt spot if it's bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity from end to end when disconnected from the wiring in the freezer. You can also test the wiring for voltage when it's in the defrost mode.
If you have a defrost timer you can test it. It can be located under the fridge behind the kick panel on the front. Some are in the fridge with the controls at the top. You can turn the defrost timer till it clicks and everything shuts down. The heater should now come on. If it does, replace the timer because that means the timer is not running. If it doesn't, check the heater and defrost thermostat. Turn the timer again till everything starts back up to end the defrost cycle.
If you have an adaptive defrost control instead of a timer, replace it if the heater and thermostat test good. It is located in the fridge with the controls in some models and on the back in others.
well countney778 it sounds like either your drain is clogged upo and holding water in the freezer or your defrost timer is bad. the timer shoiuld be by the thermostat area and the drain is at the boittom of the coil that is currently freezing. also look underneith and if you see abunch of dirt then you may have to clean the coil on the bottom of the unit. use a shop vac and a long brush to clean.
hi thanks for the question is this a new fridge . if it is the fridge does shut down to enable the freezer to thaw. if it did not do that do that the freezer would ice up . not cooling the fridge part thanks for the question
After pulling the fridge away from the wall and removing the lower right hand panel I noticed that the compressor (big round black ball with copper tubing) was not turning on. I also noticed that there was a ticking or popping sound comming from it every couple of minutes or so. After doing some research online in numerouse forums I decided to try and replace the overheat relay that is attached to the compressor. It only took maybie five minutes at most to change it and the compressor is now working with nice cold air comming into the fridge and freezer. Hope this helps someone else with the same problem.
the problem you have sounds like the defrost heater is not being activated causing the evaporator to choke up with ice which will therfore restrict the airflow through the cabinet,
to resolve this problem you are best to defrost the unit and replace the thermal fuse for the heater' and the defrost sensor, both these parts are located behind the evaporator cover inside the freezer.