Question about GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

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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.

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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.

Posted on Jul 30, 2009

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Hi Nancy,

I bet you've got all kinds of frost / ice behind the plastic cover that protects (and shields from view) the cooling coil in the freezer compartment.

You probably have one or more: defrost timer, defrost terminator or defrost heating element that has failed. Call for service - or empty the fridge and unplug with door open for a day - ice will melt and when you plug in again it will work just fine. Until frost builds up again that is.

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If the fan in the freezer stops, then coll air from freezer will not pass from freezer section to fridge section.In that case, the freezer section will get over frosted but fridge section will not get cold, because cool air will not pass from freezer to fridge.The fan is there for two things, 1) for cooling the heating evaporator coil and 2) For flowing the cool air from freezer to fridge.---------- If the frost is getting collected and fan is getting stuck up in frost, then this is the problem.The defrost cycle is not running, the cooling cycle is running.---------------
This problem is called defrost problem.-------------

So first thing you try is , perform, manual defrost reset procedure.---------

The manual defrost reset procedure is as follows : ----
First unplug the unit from main power outlet. Then empty whole unit completely. Then keep both the doors open. Wait for 24 hours. All the ice collected on the coils and in the freezer section will get melted. Clean the water from the sections. Then Connect the power cord of the unit to main power outlet after 24 hours/.Then set the temperature to normal in both fridge and freezer section. Then check,if same frost is getting collected, then its defrost problem,. If it's again building up ice that means the unit is not defrosting. It's starting the cooling procedure, and then while defrosting, it's not working. The defrost assembly consists of three main parts. The defrost thermostat, the defrost heater and defrost board. Any of the one is not functioning. When thermostat sense the maximum cooling, it triggers the defrost heater to start heating and this defrosts the ice collected on the coils and the system works. Both thermostat and heater are controlled by defrost board. First the thermostat and defrost heater to be checked, if both check ok by meter and visually, then its defrost board causing the problem. You can get required parts from from online sites like: --- www.repairclinic.com or from searspartsdirect online site. --------- This should help.Thanks.Helpmech.

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Oncce the fridge was shut off and left for a while the cooling had come back . If frost is seen it is a good indication as the compressor is working with sufficient gas within.
If after about 6 hours you observe cooling it is possible that the defrost timer is faulty.
Earlier make sure that the thermostat was set to normal mode for freezer and fridge.
However if Ice forms then observe the fridge for about 24 hours for cooling to continue and the fridge to cut off . If not the auto defrost timer, or the thermostat must be checked.
If defrost timer works but frost keeps forming check while the compressor shuts if the heaters are working, check continuity of the heaters.
replace the defrost timer, heater or thermostat one you have confirmed to eliminate one by one.

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Its defrost problem. Try manual defrost by unplugging the refrigerator from main power outlet for 24 hours then reconnect it and check, if the same problem is noticed again,. If yes then its defrost board problem. The defrost board located in the back of fridge section. You can get required parts from www.repairclinic.com or from online sears part site. ------------- Thank you.

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