Question about GE Refrigerators

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I felt heat from the back of my freezer and there appeared to be a red glow with water dripping on it and it hissing... Is this part of the function of this GE Side by Side?

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This is normal operation. The defrost system is energized and water is dripping on the heater. It last about 20 minutes and usually happens about twice a day.

Posted on Jul 12, 2009

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Water dripping into fridge from freezer. noticed red hot element in back of freezer behind vent inside freezer

Heater glow behind frz back wall is normal during auto defrost cycle. This happens about 2 or 3 times a day for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The water migrating into the fresh food section could be from a blocked drain tube which should be be in the area directly under the red glow you noticed. Should be a hole going through the floor into the drain pan under the refrigerator. Force hot water down hole until it flows freely.

Apr 07, 2015 | Refrigerators

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Inside of freezer on the bottom on the back lit up red as though on fire, heard a hissing sound as though water was leaking on hot surface. whats happing?

It's defrosting. Depending on your make and model, it'll do that a couple of times a day. There is a heating element behind that panel that's on a timer. The element looks like a bake element in an electric range, sort of. It's doing what it should be doing. The hissing is the frost/ice being melted off of the evaporator and dripping onto the element. All normal.
The end.


Mar 01, 2011 | Hotpoint HSS25GFT 25.0 Cu. Ft....

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I heard a hissing while I was looking in the refrigerator, and I realized that it was coming from the freezer. I looked in the back of the freezer compartment, and I saw a red coil through the vents at the...

Hi and welcome to FixYa. I am Kelly. Relax :) You just witnessed part of the NORMAL automatic defrost cycle. There is a heating element in a glass tube that melts ice off of the evaporator until either a thermistor or 60 Deg F defrost thermostat cycle and terminate the defrost cycle. Just so you know automatic defrosting cycle intervals are anywhere from every 6 hours up to 16 hours and 35 minutes depending on the model. The hissing sound you heard was melting ice dripping on to the hot glass tube of the heating element so the water was boiling on the glass tube. It is nothing to worry about unless the defrost cycle never terminates. (i.e the unit never starts back up)

Thanks for choosing FixYa,


Nov 15, 2010 | Refrigerators

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There is a red glow from coil at bottom back of freezer that I can see through slats from inside. There is a sizzling water drip happening.

there is an element in there for self-defrosting, if you have a self-defrosting model. It heats up like an oven element ( not nearly as hot) to get rid of frost build up.

Nov 09, 2010 | Kenmore 20.3 cu. ft. / 575 liter Upright...

1 Answer

We have a Kenmore side by side refridge serial #55251 that was making a hissing sounds. We looked at the bottom of the inside freezer and there appeared to be an element that was very red and water was...

Your fridge is fine it was in defrost mode during this an element heats up to melt any frost and ice in the freezer. But yes the hissing sound does sound alarming but is perfectly normal. hope you have a nice day

Aug 15, 2010 | Kenmore Refrigerators

1 Answer

Orange glow in freezer, what is it?

Your refrigerator is a frost free unit. The derost cycle in a refrigerator is controlled by a timer or an electronic control. When a unit goes into defrost, the fans and compressor are turned off and a heater in the freezer is energized. This is the glow that you see, and the hissing sound is the water droplets, from the melting frost, making contact with the heater. This is perfectly normal.

Apr 27, 2009 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Hissing inside the freezer

This is 100% normal, the element is there to get red hot and defrost all the ice off the freezer Evaporator, if you touch it you'll burn your finger. It's called a defrost element and comes on for upto 30mins every 6-12hours depending on the timer. Without it the freezer would be a block of useless ice cheers

Mar 27, 2009 | KitchenAid Refrigerators

1 Answer

Glowing light and warm air freezer side

HI thanks for your question. you found your freezer in a defrost cycle, which is normal function.the defrost cycle happens every day every 10 hrs. on for about 20 min. then resumes the cooling cycle. so its normal. thanks the appliance doc, please rate my answer. thanks.

Oct 12, 2008 | GE Monogram ZICS360NRRH C... Bottom...

1 Answer

Red glow (from defrost heater?) at bottom of rear panel in freezer

This is from the GE Appliance "Knowledge Database" Web site:

Refrigerator - Explanation Of Red Glow

In a no frost refrigerator, the defrost timer activates defrost heaters in the evaporator section (rear of freezer) which heat up and melt the frost off the evaporator coils. This process lasts for approximately 25-45 minutes and usually happens up to twice a day.

During this time, there will be no running sounds, no fan noise, and you may hear water dripping or sizzling as it hits the heaters. On side by side models, you may even be able to see an orange glow at the bottom of the freezer.

This is normal.

Aug 06, 2008 | GE GSS20IEP Side by Side Refrigerator

2 Answers

Not Freezing/Cooling - A Red Glow...

  • the defrost timer and bimetal thermostat have apparently both malfunctioned. (rare)
  • if someone has worked on it in the past they may have bypassed the  bimetal thermostat.
  •  the bimetal thermostat turns off the heater if it gets too hot (above 45 in the freezer) 
  • and the defrost timer is only supposed to stay in defrost for 8 minutes or so. 
  • so considering the heater was on and it was hot in the freezer is evidence of these two components not doing their job.

Jul 07, 2008 | GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

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